All states have minority populations that belong either to a national, ethnic, religious, cultural, or linguistic group, and which may be distinguished from the numerical majority.
There is no formal definition in international law of who constitutes a minority, there appears to be a consensus that a “numerically smaller, non-dominant group distinguished by shared ethnic, racial, religious, or linguistic attributes” captures the meaning of the term.
Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, 1992.
In 1979, Francesco Capotorti, who was the Special Rapporteur of the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, formulated the most widely used definition of a minority.
A group numerically inferior to the rest of the population of a State, in a non-dominant position, whose members – being nationals of the state – possess ethnic, religious or linguistic characteristics differing from those of the rest of the population and show, if only implicitly, a sense of solidarity, directed towards preserving their culture, traditions, religion or language.
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