The Roma Minority and the Utility of Human Rights

in International Journal on Minority and Group Rights
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Abstract

Given the magnitude of difficulties experienced by Roma across Europe, some scholars have come to question the utility of individual human rights, as presently guaranteed in international law, as a tool to improve their situation. However, it is important in such a discussion not to confuse problems of substance with problems of effectiveness of the rights. Furthermore, one must keep in mind the different conceptions of human rights obligations. Their relevance for such a deprived minority as the Roma, depends on whether a 'thick' – rather than a formalistic and minimalist – view of human rights is accepted, whereby public authorities are required to take action, where necessary, so as to effectively protect and fulfil the rights guaranteed.

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