International Standards


  • In 1919 the League of Nations developed the first modern regime for the protection of minorities.
  • Thus a number of new states, including Albania, Turkey, Austria, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Romania were required by the victors to sign special treaties for the protection of the ethnic, linguistic, and religious minorities within their borders.
  • Jurisprudentially, the League’s system protected a wide array of minority rights, including the right to equal treatment and non-discrimination; the right to citizenship, with an option to retain a second citizenship; the right to use the group’s language; the right to establish and control charitable, religious, and social institutions; a duty on the state to support minority schools,
  • The UN Charter itself proclaimed, in part, that one of its “purposes” was to promote and encourage “respect … for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”
  • In 1947, the UN established the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.
  • In 1960, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization [UNESCO], adopted the Convention Against Discrimination in Education, which recognized the right of minority groups to carry out their own educational activities, establish their own schools, and instruct students in their own language.