The League of Nations and Minorities: The Non-receivability of ‘Non-treaty’ Petitions

In: International Journal on Minority and Group Rights
Roser Cussó Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris, France

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Minority protection under the League of Nations (LoN) generated an unprecedented level of activity and debate on the topic, which in turn contributed to the general advancement of human rights. Nevertheless, it is also important to note that the League’s Secretariat developed rather conservative practices regarding the receivability of minorities’ petitions as well as on some important related decisions. Our perspective here contrasts with what is commonly found in the associated historiography, i.e. that the part played by the Minorities Section was rather neutral. Without downplaying the importance of some states’ resistance to the protection of minorities and its supervision, the Section’s narrow interpretation of the LoN jurisdiction is noteworthy, as is the absence of serious attempts to take advantage of the decisions in favour of minorities made by the LoN Assembly. The way the Section constructed the non-receivability of petitions, especially those which were ‘outside treaties’, illustrates our argument.

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