Minority Rights After Helsinki [Abstract]

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 8 (1994)

December 3, 1994

Korey addresses the increased social dislocation of minority groups that accompanied freedom in post-totalitarian Europe. He argues that glasnost and the revolutions of 1989 legitimized new brands of nationalism that included threads of anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia. Chronicling the development of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE, formerly OSCE) and its positions on minority human rights, he emphasizes the importance of the member state's political will for clear and effective minority rights policies versus institutional structures, which often have not prevented ethnic group conflicts. A brief statement on minority rights in the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 set a precedent for a stagnant and blurred interpretation of the status of minority rights within the member states. The CSCE 1990 Copenhagen doctrine strengthened the position of minorities with an actual enforcement mechanism. Still, a number of questions remain such as the value of the growing "bureaucratic apparatus" of the CSCE, which neglects education programs aimed at preventing racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia; the lack of condemnation of racism and xenophobia by the power-wielders in Eastern Europe; and the expansion of the CSCE as an institution specializing in "crisis management," which places responsibility for preventing conflict outbreak on the political initiative of each member state.


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