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Ferenc Eiler

Abstract

The Congress of European Nationalities (hereinafter, the Congress) was the only organization in the interwar period that aimed to create an international forum encompassing all organized national minorities in Europe. In the fourteen years of its existence, the Congress continued to see itself as a unified movement despite several national minorities turning their back on it due to internal conflicts. In this study, I first describe the organizational structure of the Congress and analyze its official and public activities. I then discuss the causes of tensions and the complexities of cooperation among the national minorities. I also examine the efforts of Germany and Hungary – the kin-states of the two most active national minority groups in the Congress – to use the institution to serve the interests of the Hungarian-speaking and German-speaking minorities.

János Bársony and Ágnes Daróczi

Abstract

To this day, the world knows very little of what befell the Roma of Europe during the Holocaust. We had no Church, no intelligentsia, no institutions. Very few people committed our sufferings to paper, and no one has provided a precise account of our losses. In this modest essay, we strive both to present the essential facts of the lesser known fate of this lesser known people and to examine the development of a culture of memory.

Edited by Anna-Mária Bíró, Evelin Verhás, Tamás Kiss, Angéla Kóczé, Corrine Lennox and Alan Stephens

Gaetano Pentassuglia

Abstract

The identity of groups of an ethno-cultural variety has long fallen within the remit of international human rights law. In this context, discussions have been largely concerned with the legal status of groups and/or the nature of the legal right(s) in question. While acknowledging the importance of these dimensions, in this article I seek to provide an alternative account by discussing the continuities and discontinuities in articulating the very concept of group identity. I first examine the potential, limitations and eventual hybridity of human rights practice across the spectrum of minority/indigenous identities. Then, I critique a range of instabilities in human rights discourse relating to the idea of group identities, their personal scope and the role of international law. I argue that such instabilities do not merely mirror the ambivalent outlook of the relationship between human rights and group identities; they raise the broader question of whether there is a relatively more coherent way to capture the legitimacy of group claims. I conclude by pointing to the outer limits of identity claims, the understated interplay of sovereignty and inter-group diversity, and the need to unpack the reasons why certain groups merit protection in the way they do.

Louise Métrich

Abstract

This report deals with human rights education (hre) in the Visegrád countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. The analysis focuses on public policies and discourses on hre in this region, in the context of the growing institutionalization of hre on a global scale and new efforts to converge educational policies at EU level, as well as increasing overt criticism of the human rights movement. To this end, the paper presents the historical background to the emergence of the field of hre and situates current strategies on and approaches to hre in a European1 framework. The study focuses exclusively on policies aimed at the formal education system, including the primary and secondary school levels; pre-school, tertiary, vocational, non-formal and informal education, as well as lifelong learning and youth policies, are beyond its scope. The paper aims to shed light on the concepts and approaches used and promoted by institutional actors responsible for designing and implementing hre, putting them in perspective by comparing them to existing education traditions, such as citizenship education. It also touches upon the role of civil society in the development of hre and investigates the possibility of the existence of an epistemic community on hre in the Visegrád region.

Edited by Anna-Mária Bíró, Evelin Verhás, Tamás Kiss, Angéla Kóczé, Corrine Lennox and Alan Stephens

Joshua Castellino

Abstract

Recent years have been marked by a rise in “populism” and frenzied identity-based politics, and the continued exclusion of minority groups from meaningful participation in addressing problems faced by society. In this article, I assert that the only pragmatic way to address these issues is to guarantee the genuine social inclusion of all people, and to ensure that those seeking to build inclusive societies understand the role that human rights, minority rights, and identity should play in this process. Building upon these assertions, I identify the roots of minority rights protection, as well as the importance placed on identity in generating egalitarian societies. I also examine the UN human rights approach to minority protection, and highlight the backlash to identity-based politics. Finally, I advocate for the use of pragmatism in working to build inclusive societies, and offer a number of starting points towards such an approach.