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International Approaches to Governing Ethnic Diversity$
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Jane Boulden and Will Kymlicka

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199676583

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199676583.001.0001

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Internationalized Minority Territorial Autonomy in Early Post-WWI Europe

Internationalized Minority Territorial Autonomy in Early Post-WWI Europe

The Limits and Possibilities of International Ethnic Diversity Governance

Chapter:
(p.262) 11 Internationalized Minority Territorial Autonomy in Early Post-WWI Europe
Source:
International Approaches to Governing Ethnic Diversity
Author(s):

Susan J. Henders

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199676583.003.0011

Many recent commentators have seen the League of Nations as a ‘golden age’ of international minority rights commitments. This chapter argues, however, that the 1919–24 decisions of international diplomats were motivated less by a principled commitment to justice for minorities than by a particular conception of world order. This conception saw selective international supervision of minority protection as necessary to prevent interstate war and respond to the exigencies of a civilizational and power hierarchy amongst peoples and states, while also advancing the particular politico-economic interests of the Principal Allied Powers. The result was support for internationally guaranteed territorial autonomy for a few minorities, but rejection of the claims of others and of the entrenchment of universal minority rights in the League Covenant. The early years of the League minority protection system has lessons for today’s debates about the place of minority rights within the post-cold-war order.

Keywords:   League of Nations, international minority protection, minority territorial autonomy, world order, Åland Islands, Danzig, Ruthene Carpathia, Memel, Sudeten Germans, East Galician Ruthenes, South Tyrol

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