The Westphalian Model and Minority-Rights Guarantees in Europe

Krasner, Stephen D. ; Froats, Daniel T.

; Institut für Interkulturelle und Internatione Studien (INIIS), Universität Bremen

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URL http://edoc.vifapol.de/opus/volltexte/2008/476/
Dokumentart: Bericht / Forschungsbericht / Abhandlung
Institut: INIIS Uni Bremen
Schriftenreihe: InIIS-Arbeitspapier
Bandnummer: 2
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 1996
Publikationsdatum: 16.08.2008
DDC-Sachgruppe: Politik
Sondersammelgebiete: 3.6 Politik und Friedensforschung

Kurzfassung auf Englisch:

Many see concerns with minority rights and all human rights as a revolutionary development in international politics (Damrosch 1993: 93). One scholar avers that “the international law of human rights is revolutionary because it contradicts the notion of national sovereignty that is, that a state can do as it pleases in its own jurisdiction” (Forsythe 1983: 4). Another observes that international law has indeed “broken through the armour of sovereignty” (Hailbronner 1992: 117). We argue that this perspective is myopic both empirically and analytically. Empirically, the view that international concerns for minority rights represent an important change in the international system ignores the historical persistence of international involvement in the treatment of minorities within states. Relations between rulers and ruled have been an enduring concern across borders as well as within them. Every major peace treaty from Westphalia to Versailles contained provisions for the protection of minorities, defined in terms of religious affiliation and later linguistic and ethnic identity. With the end of the Cold War international concerns with minority rights have again become a focus of international concern after having been displaced by human rights in the post second world war period. Analytically, those who see a fundamental change in the international system misconstrue the extent to which the Westphalian model, which stipulates that states have exclusive authority within their own territory, fails to provide an adequate ontological construct or explanation for the behavior of rulers. In an anarchic environment rulers always have the option of compromising their own autonomy or intervening in the internal affairs of other states. The principle of non-intervention, which along with territoriality defines the Westphalian model, has persistently been challenged by alternative principles, including the international protection of miniority or human rights. Power and interest, not just principled beliefs have determined actual outcomes. The success of international efforts to protect minority rights has varied. Imposition or coercion, which involves situations in which rulers in stronger states force rulers in weaker ones to accept provisions for the acceptance of minority rights have failed. Contracts and conventions, in which rulers enter into international agreements designed to reinforce domestic commitments to the protection of minority rights, have been more successful. International efforts can succeed but only if they strengthen the position of domestic actors within target states who are themselves committed, for reasons of interest or principle, to the protection of minority rights.


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