This article explores the difficulties inherent in the conceptualization, legal definition, and use of the term "minorities," framing these issues in the context of global efforts toward human rights realization. It argues that the critical concern is not majority or minority status as such, but rather the construction of dominant positions based upon collectively exclusive elements and the actual abuse of such positions. After delineating the limited role that law can and does play in the actual protection of non-dominant collectivities on the global and national planes, this article urges laying aside the term "minority" as both a label and a concept and reconceptualizing the mission in terms of collective human dignity protection, with this concept's deep roots in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This might well be linked to the urgently needed operationalization of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P).


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pp. 265-303
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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