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In: Accommodating National Identity
In: International Law and Indigenous Peoples


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.

In: Populism, Memory and Minority Rights
In: An Introduction to International Human Rights Law
In: An Introduction to International Human Rights Law
The Interplay of the Politics of Territorial Possession with Formulations of Post-Colonial 'National' Identity
The principle of self-determination has at heart the achievement of true representation and democracy based on the idea that the consent of the governed alone can give government legitimacy. The principle was primarily responsible for the decolonisation process that shaped our current international community. `Self-determination' has been used in equal rhetorical brilliance by a number of leaders - some meritorious, with a genuine concern for human emancipation, others dubious, with ascendancy to power at the heart of their project. In any case, `self-determination' has come to mean different things in different contexts.
Being a vital principle, especially in the post-colonial state, it is one factor that represents a threat to world order while at the same time holding out the promise of longer-term peace and security based on values of democracy, equity and justice. This book looks at the intricacies of the norm in its current ambiguous manifestation and seeks to deconstruct it with regard to three particularly inter-related discourses: that of minority rights, statehood and sovereignty, and the doctrine of uti possidetis which shaped the modern post-colonial state.
These norms are then analysed further within two case studies. One, concerning the creation of Bangladesh where `self-determination' was achieved. The second, examines the situation in the Western Sahara where `self-determination' (whatever its manifestation) is yet to be expressed. In the course of these case studies we seek to highlight the problematic nature of `national identity' and the `self' in settings far removed from post-Westphalian Europe.
In: International Law and Self-Determination
In: International Law and Self-Determination