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Transnational networks and United Nations human rights structural change: the future of indigenous and minority rights

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Indigenous rights have developed in a very different trajectory than minority rights within the United Nations. This is remarkable given that indigenous rights were once seen as simply contained within the larger umbrella of minority rights, and that many groups can claim access to both the differing bodies of rights. The article proposes a model to explain the differences in the strength and effectiveness of minority and indigenous rights structures at the UN. This model characterises transnational campaign pressure as a key variable to explain the differences. Transnational networks have been studied for their effect on the transfer of norms from international to domestic spheres, but the effect of their pressure on the structures of international organisations has not been considered. The model highlights the effects that transnational networks have on the UN human rights structures. Yet the path of future development of indigenous and minority rights at the UN is uncertain. Understanding the effects that transnational networks have on UN human rights structures and how those structures in term impact upon the strength of minority and indigenous rights is an area ripe for continued research.

Keywords: United Nations human rights; indigenous rights; minority rights; transnational networks

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Law,University of Buckingham,

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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