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ECPR Journals Virtual Special Issue

National Minorities and Human Rights: Untangling the Rhetoric of the Minority Rights-Security Nexus to Promote Empowerment

Victor Olivieri
University of Florida
Victor Olivieri
University of Florida
David Galbreath
University of Bath

The language of the minority rights-security nexus links minority and immigration issues to a security dimension through rights-based policies that seek to prevent discrimination and promote empowerment. However, the rhetorical effect of “minority rights” creates a counterproductive self-and-other relationship between national minorities, presumed national majorities, and the national governments tasked with providing the rights. This article presents the normative, institutional, and practical means by which this self-and-other relationship undermines the rights afforded, marginalizes groups politically, and reduces national minority and immigrant empowerment in the state and EU system. The rhetorical action of labeling and securitizing minority rights is normatively evaluated to highlight the resulting tyranny of the majority, democratic deficit, and clientelism that diminishes empowerment. These deficiencies are countered with the institutional and practical arguments for handling human rights at the EU “federal level” following Federalist 10. The core argument prescribes a relabeling and retooling of the regime towards human rights at the EU level to move beyond the management and protection of national minorities at the state level and toward their equitable empowerment both at the state and EU levels.
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