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Law and Ethnic Plurality

Socio-Legal Perspectives


Edited by Prakash Shah

The large-scale establishment of ethnic minorities and diasporic communities in Europe has gained the attention of social science scholars for a number of decades now. However, legal interest in this field has remained relatively underdeveloped, and few scholars have addressed emerging legal issues to any significant degree. This collection of contributions by leading writers in the field of ethnic migration and diaspora studies therefore provides some important interdisciplinary perspectives of how ethnic/diasporic minorities in British and European contexts interact with the official legal system. This volume makes a significant contribution in assessing the role of law in current debates on the integration of ethnic and religious minorities of migrant origin in the EU. The chapters derive from papers first delivered at a lecture series on ‘Cultural Diversity and Law’ at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. The contributors’ disciplinary interests range across law, anthropology, sociology, geography and political theory, and each one addresses the issues within his or her field of study by adopting approaches that place law within its wider social and political context. The topics covered range from a number of ‘public’ and ‘private’ law issues as well as the more conceptual realms of jurisprudence. They include marriage laws, approaches to dispute resolution, the role of courts and juries in the criminal justice system, drugs policies and the criminalisation of minorities, free speech and blasphemy, planning laws and the construction of religious buildings, composition of the judiciary, the normative foundations of cultural diversity in law, and integration and law. The compilation should therefore attract an interest beyond its core readership in law, making legal issues accessible to a whole range of students and policy makers within the social sciences.

Beyond Systemic Discrimination

Educational Rights, Skills Acquisition and the Case of Roma


Päivi Gynther

This coherent and pragmatically relevant monograph examines the soundness of the legal framework in education. Deriving from the disadvantage doctrine, it presents an analytical scheme for diagnosing whether or not domestic education law is in harmony with international human rights and minority rights law. The book examines law as a system and focuses on the reported perpetuation of educational disadvantage among Roma all over Europe. This focus suggests that minority individuals falling into several partly overlapping categories may become subjected to educational discrimination even by states that appear to fulfil relevant international standards. A functional approach to skills acquisition is suggested as a constructive way forward towards sustainable and inclusive education systems.

Religion, Human Rights and International Law

A Critical Examination of Islamic State Practices


Edited by Javaid Rehman and Susan Breau

Freedom of religion is a subject, which has throughout human history been a source of profound disagreements and conflict. In the modern era, religious-based intolerance continues to provide lacerative and tormenting concern to the possibility of congenial human relationships. As the present study examines, religions have been relied upon to perpetuate discrimination and inequalities, and to victimise minorities to the point of forcible assimilation and genocide. The study provides an overview of the complexities inherent in the freedom of religion within international law and an analysis of the cultural-religious relativist debate in contemporary human rights law. As many of the chapters examine, Islamic State practices have been a major source of concern. In the backdrop of the events of 11 September 2001, a considerable focus of this volume is upon the Muslim world, either through the emergent State practices and existing constitutional structures within Muslim majority States or through Islamic diasporic communities resident in Europe and North-America.


Edited by European Centre for Minority Issues and The European Academy Bozen/Bolzano

The European Yearbook of Minority Issues provides a critical and timely review of contemporary developments in minority-majority relations in Europe. It combines analysis, commentary and documentation in relation to conflict management, international legal developments and domestic legislation affecting minorities in Europe.
Part I contains scholarly articles and, in 2005/6, features two special focus sections on The Concept of the Nation.
Part II reviews the implementation of minority legislation and international standards at the universal and regional levels as well as new developments in relation to them.
Apart from providing a unique annual overview of minority issues for both scholars and practitioners in this field, the Yearbook is an indispensable reference tool for libraries, research institutes as well as governments and international organisations.

Cultural Rights in International Law

Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and beyond


Elissavet Stamatopoulou-Robbins

Drawing from a comprehensive review of legal instruments, practice, jurisprudence and literature, and using a multidisciplinary approach, this unique book brings forth the full spectrum of cultural rights, as individual and collective human rights, and offers a compelling vision for public policy.
This book is the second volume in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Series. The Series will consist of approximately 20 volumes, each dealing with a substantive right (or group of rights) set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Each volume is authored by an expert in human rights generally and in the particular subject addressed. Without losing sight of the political context in which the implementation of human rights must occur, each book provides a comprehensive, legally-oriented analysis of the rights concerned, including an examination of the legislative history of the text of each right as adopted in 1948, the right's subsequent articulation and interpretation by international bodies and in subsequent international instruments, and a survey of state practice in defining and enforcing the right.

Does God Believe in Human Rights?

Essays on Religion and Human Rights


Edited by Nazila Ghanea-Hercock, Alan Stephens and Ralph Walden

Where can religions find sources of legitimacy for human rights? How do, and how should, religious leaders and communities respond to human rights as defined in modern International Law? When religious precepts contradict human rights standards - for example in relation to freedom of expression or in relation to punishments - which should trump the other, and why? Can human rights and religious teachings be interpreted in a manner which brings reconciliation closer? Do the modern concept and system of human rights undermine the very vision of society that religions aim to impart? Is a reference to God in the discussion of human rights misplaced? Do human fallibilities with respect to interpretation, judicial reasoning and the understanding of human oneness and dignity provide the key to the undeniable and sometimes devastating conflicts that have arisen between, and within, religions and the human rights movement?
In this volume, academics and lawyers tackle these most difficult questions head-on, with candour and creativity, and the collection is rendered unique by the further contributions of a remarkable range of other professionals, including senior religious leaders and representatives, journalists, diplomats and civil servants, both national and international. Most notably, the contributors do not shy away from the boldest question of all - summed up in the book's title.
The thoroughly edited and revised papers which make up this collection were originally prepared for a ground-breaking conference organised by the Clemens Nathan Research Centre, the University of London Institute of Commonwealth Studies and Martinus Nijhoff/Brill.


Peter Bartlett, Oliver Lewis and Oliver Thorold

Mental disability has come of age as a subject of concern under the European Convention on Human Rights. It was only in 1979 that the first significant decision of the ECHR was decided on the subject, and after that, cases were relatively few for many years. It is only recently that this has begun to change. This volume provides an account of where the law currently stands and speculation as to how it may develop. The initial chapters deal with substantive aspects of Convention rights (including issues of detention in institutions, conditions within institutions, medical treatment, problems associated with guardianship and others). The final two chapters move to discuss the practicalities of litigation. The book concludes with a number of appendices (primarily the primary international legal materials of relevance to mental disability rights under the ECHR, and the relevant recommendations and principles from the Council of Europe). It is hoped that this volume, in addition to shedding light on where the law currently stands, will offer practical guidance to lawyers concerning the mechanics of representing people with mental disabilities.


Ronald Craig

This book argues that traditional complaint-based antidiscrimination laws are inherently inadequate to respond to systemic discrimination in employment. It examines the mechanisms and characteristics of systemic discrimination and the shortcomings of complaint-based laws. Yet these characteristics can also inform employers and government authorities of the kinds of preventive action that help alleviate systemic discrimination at the workplace.
In its search for a rational government policy response to systemic discrimination, the book evaluates selected legal regimes which impose proactive obligations on employers to promote equality at the workplace. Proactive regimes are regulatory in nature, rather than adjudicatory. They induce employer compliance through technical assistance, dialogue and regulatory pressure, rather than court orders. By examining the key elements of these regimes the author explains why some proactive regimes function better than others, and why proactive regimes function better than complaint-based laws in addressing systemic discrimination.

Peoples and International Law

Second Revised Edition


James Summers

Peoples and International Law is a detailed survey of the law of self-determination with a focus on the concept of nations and peoples. It engages with different aspects of this law with particular emphasis on the drafting and implementation of international instruments. The second edition includes new coverage of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the African and Arab charters. It considers recent practice by the Human Rights Committee, Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights dealing with the emerging political, economic and environmental aspects of the right. The book looks at the interaction of international law, nationalism and liberalism in theories of nationhood and self-determination, as well as, the historical development of the right and the decisions of international bodies. Lastly, it examines practice in this area, including new developments in remedial independence and international territorial administration.

Also available in hardback.


Niaz Shah

Religion plays a pivotal role in the way women are treated around the world, socially and legally. This book discusses three Islamic human rights approaches: secular, non-compatible, reconciliatory (compatible), and proposes a contextual interpretive approach. It is argued that the current gender discriminatory statutory Islamic laws in Islamic jurisdictions, based on the decontextualised interpretation of the Koran, can be reformed through Ijtihad: independent individual reasoning. It is claimed that the original intention of the Koran was to protect the rights of women and raise their status in society, not to relegate them to subordination. This Koranic intention and spirit may be recaptured through the proposed contextual interpretation which in fact means using an Islamic (or insider) strategy to achieve gender equality in Muslim states and greater compatibility with international human rights law. It discusses the negative impact of the so-called statutory Islamic laws of Pakistan on the enjoyment of women’s human rights and robustly challenges their Koranic foundation. While supporting the international human rights regime, this book highlights the challenges to its universality: feminism and cultural relativism. To achieve universal application, genuine voices from different cultures and groups must be accommodated. It is argued that the women’s human rights regime does not cover all issues of concern to women and has a weak implementation mechanism. The book argues for effective implementation procedures to turn women’s human rights into reality.