Tautinės mažumos samprata: tarptautinės teisės aspektai.
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The article aims to analyse the concept of national minority in international law. There is no universally accepted definition of a national minority, for neither international nor regional documents include one. However, common characteristics may be recognized based on the interpretation of certain legal documents and an analysis of legal theory. An analysis of the universal and regional legal documents leads to the same conclusion: they have not succeeded in clearly defining the concept of national minority. However, this analysis also shows that national minorities are identified by objective (language, religion, culture, ethnic group, numbering less than half of the population within a state) and subjective characteristics (will to preserve their culture, traditions, religion, language). Citizenship also requires deeper analysis as a criterion in the identification of national minorities. The UN Human Rights Committee emphasizes that Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights confers rights on persons belonging to minorities which “exist” in party states. The Committee notes that it is not necessary to determine the degree of permanence that the term “exist” connotes. It also stresses that individuals belonging to these minorities need not be nationals or citizens; they need not be permanent residents. The Committee notes that the margin of appreciation (defining a national minority in national legislation) must be exercised in accordance with general principles of international law. It stresses that the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities should not become a source of arbitrary or unjustified distinctions based on citizenship or residence in the country for sufficient time.The understanding of the prevalent conceptions of a national minority is important for establishing a clear definition of a national minority. A general definition would restrict the discretion of states to decide on who may be considered the subject of minority rights.
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