TOWARD A POLITICAL CONCEPTION OF MINORITY RIGHTS: RECONCILING SOVEREIGNTY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND MINORITY CLAIMS
The question that I will explore in this research dissertation is whether one can defend the rights of homeland minorities as a progressive extension of the existing norms of human rights. This question calls for several deeper inquiries about the nature, the function and the underlying justifications for both human rights and minority rights. In particular, this research project will examine the following issues: on what normative grounds the available norms of human rights and minority rights are justified; if there is any methodic way to use the normative logic of human rights to support substantial forms of minority claims, such as the right to self-determination; whether human rights can take the form of group rights; and finally, whether there is any non-sectarian basis for justifying the minority norms, which can be acceptable from both liberal and non-liberal perspectives. This research project has some implications for both theories of minority rights and human rights. On the one hand, the research employs the topic of minority rights to shed light on deficiencies of the existing political theories of human rights. On the other hand, it uses the political theory to shed light on how existing theories of minority rights could be improved and amended. The inquiry will ultimately clarify how to judge the merit of the claim that minority rights are or should be a part of human rights norms.
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