Unresolved ethnic and religious tensions also lie at the root of numerous national and international crises – including:

If we are concerned about promoting the power of law over the law of power, we should strengthen international conventions that were intended to protect the world’s minorities.

The main international conventions and agreements dealing with minority rights include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966); The Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (1994); the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic or Religious Minorities (1993); and the European Union’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (1995).

We can draw the following broad conclusions from these international documents:

However, there is less unanimity regarding:

Most countries are hesitant to allow international scrutiny of their relations with their own national minorities.

However, if we wish to promote a world without conflict, we need to address the primary cause of conflict in the world today:  the inability of cultural, ethnic and religious communities to coexist within the same countries.

We need to reach binding agreements on the rights of minorities – just as we have done with regard to the rights of individuals.

Comments by former President Fw de Klerk to the Panel on the Power of Law v/s the Law of Power, at the Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
21 September 2019