Democracy, minorities and international law


Democracy, minorities and international law

Steven Wheatley

(Cambridge studies in international and comparative law)

Cambridge University Press, 2005

  • : hardback

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Includes bibliographical references and index



This work explores the contribution that international law may make to the resolution of culture conflicts - political disputes between the members of different ethno-cultural groups - in democratic States. International law recognises that persons belonging to minorities have the right to enjoy their own culture and peoples have the right to self-determination without detailing how these principles are to be put into effect. The emergence of democracy as a legal obligation of States permits the international community to concern itself with both the procedure and substance of 'democratic' decisions concerning ethno-cultural groups. Democracy is not to be understood simply as majority rule. Cultural conflicts in democratic States must be resolved in a way that is either acceptable or defensible and defeasible to all citizens, including persons belonging to ethno-cultural minorities. Democracy, Minorities and International Law examines the implications of this recognition.


  • Acknowledgements
  • List of abbreviations
  • Table of cases, opinions, treaties and other documents
  • Introduction
  • 1. The rights of minorities
  • 2. The self-determination of peoples
  • 3. Democracy
  • Conclusion.

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