chapter  1
Minority identities
Pages 27

Minority Although the term “minority” is of prime importance to this study, I will not attempt to define it here in the comprehensive and reasoned way it deserves, as this would be a task beyond the scope of my research, which has, as we have seen, more specific objectives. That is why, as a starting point, I will resort to the use of the concept of “minority” as it was defined in the latest report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR 2010). The UN report highlights, first and foremost, the fact that any definition of “minority” must take all relevant factors (both objective and subjective) into consideration. On the one hand, it should refer to the characteristics that are common – and beyond their power to change – to all of the members of a minority group, such as shared ethnicity, language, or religion. On the other hand, this definition should reflect the characteristics of their self-identities. I will now examine the following definition of “minority” that was proposed by Francesco Capotorti (Special Rapporteur to the United Nations SubCommission on the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities) in 1977:

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.