Comments on “Minority Rights”: A Majority Problem? (Bas de Gaay Fortman)
In his paper Minority Rights’: A Majority Problem, Prof. de Gaay Fortman observed that “In the real world the ‘minority’ problematique appears to be part of the general setting of ‘us-them’ divides”. His paper as a whole is a pertinent illustration of the tensions, problems and threats to human rights and democracy that such ‘us-them divides’ and ensuing intolerance may cause. This brings me to my first general response to the paper. It concerns the approach taken in this paper, of labelling the matters that arose in the context of the Swiss constitutional ban on minarets in terms of minorities and majorities, or minority rights and majority problems, or even minority rights and majority obligations. One could say that minority-majority approaches foster difference and divides, which perhaps makes them counter-productive rather than that they emphasize the universality of human rights and equality principles. Would it not be more fruitful to approach the matters at stake in Switzerland – and perhaps similar matters elsewhere –through a non-discrimination or, better still, an equal treatment or equal opportunity approach?
|ISS Staff Group 2: States, Societies and World Development|
|Organisation||International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)|
Arts, K. (2011). Comments on “Minority Rights”: A Majority Problem? (Bas de Gaay Fortman). In ISS Staff Group 2: States, Societies and World Development. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/33056