The right of minority-refugees to preserve their cultural identity: an intersectional analysis

Berry, Stephanie E and Taban, Isilay (2021) The right of minority-refugees to preserve their cultural identity: an intersectional analysis. Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights. ISSN 0924-0519 (Accepted)

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International human rights law (IHRL) has been accused of locking individuals into rigid categories on the basis of their presumed primary identity, and of predetermining their needs on the basis of a standardised experience. IHRL, therefore, fails to appreciate how the location of individuals at the intersection of different social categories makes their experience of oppression distinct from the experience of those seen as typifying each category. Specifically, while UN treaty bodies have sought to address forms of oppression resulting from the intersection of gender, race and/or disability through their practice, they rarely recognise the experience of groups at the intersection of other social categories.
This article uses the lens of intersectionality to analyse the practice of UN treaty bodies in relation to the intersection of minority and refugee status. We argue that while minority-refugees have fled persecution connected to their minority status, UN treaty bodies have failed to appreciate the impact of their location at the intersection of persons belonging to minorities and refugees in host States on their right to preserve their cultural identity. By failing to address the distinct experience of minority-refugees, UN treaty bodies risk participating in their oppression. Further, we reveal that current practice not only has potentially negative consequences for minority-refugees —as both individuals and groups— and for the host society but may even undermine the ability of IHRL to achieve its overarching objectives.
Consequently, UN treaty bodies must recognise how the location of individuals at the intersection of social categories beyond race, gender and/or disability results in a distinct experience of oppression and seek to address this in practice.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: International Human Rights Law, Minority-Refugees, The Right to Culture, Intersectionality, The Right to Cultural Identity
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2021 08:01
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2021 08:01

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