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Three Major Pillars of Minority Protection

Equal Enjoyment


Special Measures

Usually understood to imply any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference which is based on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, and which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by all persons, on an equal footing, of all rights and freedoms. (UNHCR, General Comment No. 18)

Equal Enjoyment:
Does not necessarily mean identical treatment. In certain instance groups may be treated differently for purposes legitimate under the HR instruments, such as achieving equal rights. Equality in law should be coupled by enjoyment in fact.

The non-discrimination clauses and the equal enjoyment rule on which they rest, extend to every sphere of human rights: political, social, economic and cultural rights.

Special Measures:
Are intended to place minorities, as well as their members, in a position equal to the State's majority population. Equal enjoyment under the law and the prohibition of discrimination are not enough: equal enjoyment in fact must also be achieved. The State must not only allow but also fund and otherwise support special measures.


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