An International Human Rights Law Perspective on the Protection of the Rights of Ethnic Minorities
September 28,2016   By:chinahumanrights.org
ZHANG Wei, (photo: Zhao Yifan)

An International Human Rights Law Perspective on the Protection of the Rights of Ethnic Minorities
ZHANG Wei, YAN Zihan 

Associate Professor and Standing Vice-Dean of Institute for Human Rights
of China University of Political Science and Law
Abstract: With people's increasing concern over and deepening understanding of human rights, citizens’ rights and freedoms are receiving more and more attention. In this context, the protection of the rights of ethnic minorities, which are an important part of human rights, is not only an important issue that involves the unity of and stability of sovereign states as well as international peace, but also a human rights issue that draws attention from across the international community. In particular, many countries are paying increasing attention to protecting the rights of ethnic minorities given the accelerating geopolitical conflicts triggered by ethnic clashes since the 1990s. In view of this, this paper reviewed the historical evolution of human right issues of ethnic minorities, as well as the form and substance of international protection of such rights from the perspective of international human rights law, with a view to demonstrating that the protection of ethnic minority groups hinges on the collective and concerted compliance by all states, organizations, groups and individuals with relevant rules under international human rights laws. However, the realization of minority ethnic groups’ rights ultimately depends on earnest performance by sovereign states of their obligations under international law as well as their effective protection of such rights through domestic legislation. Through this two-pronged approach, a pattern in which international law and domestic law complement and enhance each other will emerge. Further, in order to further improve the protection system for the rights of ethnic minority groups, all stake-holders should, on the basis of thorough exchanges and consultations, find out universally acceptable ways to reach consensus and establish a fair and rational international order. 
Keywords: Rights of Ethnic Minority Groups; Human Rights; Protection of Rights; International Protection
Zhang Wei, Associate Professor, China University of Political Science and Law. 
Yan Zihan, Academic Editor, Human Rights Research School at China University of Political Science and Law.