E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/10 United Nations Economic and social council Commission
on Human Rights Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human
July 2000 Fifty-second session Item 8 of the provisional agenda
resolution 1999/23 (para. 4), the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and
Protection of Human Rights decided to entrust Ms. ErikaIrene Daes and Mr.
Asbjørn Eide with the preparation of a working paper, without financial
implications, on the relationship and distinction between the rights of
persons belonging to minorities and those of indigenous peoples, for
submission to the next sessions of the Working Group on Minorities and the
Working Group on Indigenous Populations and to the SubCommission at its
While this paper deals with rights specific to minorities and indigenous
peoples, it is useful to put it in the wider context, recognizing that four
sets of rights are relevant:
The general human rights to which everyone is entitled, found in the
Universal Declaration on Human Rights and elaborated in subsequent
instruments, such as the two International Covenants of 1966. They are all
The additional rights specific to persons belonging to national or ethnic,
religious or linguistic minorities, found in article 27 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Declaration on the
Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious or Linguistic
Minorities ("Minority Declaration"), and in several regional instruments
dealing with the rights of persons belonging to minorities. They are
formulated as rights of persons and therefore individual rights. States have
some duties to minorities as collectivities, however;
The special rights of indigenous peoples and of indigenous individuals,
found in the ILO Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in
Independent Countries (No. 169) and - if and when adopted - in the draft
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ("draft indigenous
declaration"), adopted by the Working Group on Indigenous Populations (WGIP)
in 1993 and now before the Commission on Human Rights. They are mostly
rights of groups ("peoples") and therefore collective rights;
The rights of peoples as provided for in common article 1 to the two
International Covenants of 1966. These are solely collective rights.
Category (a). The general human rights as listed in the Universal
Declaration and elaborated in other instruments are individual human rights
and can be demanded by everyone, including persons belonging to minorities,
indigenous peoples and other peoples. They constitute the foundation of the
human rights system. They are based on the two basic principles set out in
the Universal Declaration: article 1 (that everyone is born free and equal
in dignity and rights) and article 2 (that everyone is entitled to all the
rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration, without distinction of any
kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other
opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status). The
individual rights include the right to integrity of the person, freedom of
action, due process rights, political rights, and economic, and social and
cultural rights. Their major function is to ensure social integration under
conditions of equal dignity.
Category (b). The rights of persons belonging to minorities build on but add
to the foundation rights set out in the Universal Declaration. The
Declaration, in article 8.2, expresses this in the following words: "The
exercise of the rights set forth in the present Declaration shall not
prejudice the enjoyment by all persons of universally recognized human
rights and fundamental freedoms."
The specific rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious or
linguistic minorities include the right to enjoy their own culture; to
profess and practise their own religion; to use their own language, in
private and in public, freely and without interference (ICCPR, art. 27;
Minority Declaration, art. 2.1); to participate effectively in cultural,
religious, social, economic and public life (Minority Declaration, art. 2.2)
and to participate effectively in decisions on the national and, where
appropriate, regional level concerning the minority to which they belong or
the regions in which they live (ibid., art. 2.3); to establish and maintain
their own associations (ibid., art. 2.4); to establish and maintain free and
peaceful contacts with other members of their group and with persons
belonging to other minorities, as well as contacts across frontiers with
citizens of other States to whom they are related by national or ethnic,
religious or linguistic ties (ibid., art. 2.5). These rights may be
exercised by persons belonging to minorities individually as well as in
community with other members of their group, without any discrimination, and
no disadvantage shall result for any person belonging to a minority as a
consequence of the exercise or non-exercise of the rights set forth in the
Declaration (ibid., art. 3).
Category (c). The rights specific to indigenous peoples and members of
indigenous peoples are spelled out in ILO Convention No. 169. The Convention
is binding only on States that have ratified it; 13 States had done so by
far-reaching rights are proposed in the draft indigenous declaration which
was submitted by the Sub-Commission to the Commission on Human Rights in
1994 and is now under consideration there for possible future adoption by
the General Assembly.
ILO Convention No. 169 and the draft indigenous declaration recognize the
foundation of individual human rights. The draft indigenous declaration in
article 1 states that indigenous peoples have the right to full and
effective enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized
in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights and international human rights law. A corresponding provision can be
found in the ILO Convention (art. 3).
The specific rights of indigenous peoples contained in the ILO Convention
and the draft indigenous declaration are significantly different from those
in the Minority Declaration. The difference can probably best be formulated
as follows: whereas the Minority Declaration and other instruments
concerning persons belonging to minorities aim at ensuring a space for
pluralism in togetherness, the instruments concerning indigenous peoples are
intended to allow for a high degree of autonomous development. Whereas the
Minority Declaration places considerable emphasis on effective participation
in the larger society of which the minority is a part (arts. 2.2 and 2.3),
the provisions regarding indigenous peoples seek to allocate authority to
these peoples so that they can make their own decisions (e.g. Convention No.
169, arts. 7 and 8; draft indigenous declaration, arts. 4, 23 and 31). The
right to participation in the larger society is in the draft given a
secondary significance and expressed as an optional right. Indigenous
peoples have the right to participate fully, if they so choose, through
procedures determined by them, in devising legislative or administrative
measures that may affect them (draft indigenous declaration, arts. 19 and
20). The underlying assumption must be that participation in the larger
society is not necessary when they have full authority of their own to make
the relevant decisions.
Closely linked to this point is the difference concerning rights to land and
natural resources. The Minority Declaration contains no such rights, whereas
these are core elements in the ILO Convention (arts. 13-19) and in the draft
indigenous declaration (arts. 25-30). Other examples could be mentioned to
explain the fundamental difference between the thrust of the rights of
persons belonging to minorities and those of indigenous peoples. It is
logically connected to the basic point that the minority instruments refer
to rights of (individual) persons, whereas those concerning the indigenous
refer to rights of peoples.
Category (d). What is the relationship between the minority rights and the
rights of indigenous peoples, on the one hand, and the rights of peoples to
self-determination set out in common article 1 to the International
Covenants of 1966, on the other? For the rights of persons belonging to
minorities, the answer is simple: the relevant instruments provide no right
to group (collective) self-determination. The rights of persons belonging to
minorities are individual rights, even if they in most cases can only be
enjoyed in community with others. The duties of the State in protecting the
identity of minorities may, however, include a duty to accept and encourage
conditions for a degree of non-territorial autonomy in regard to religious,
linguistic or broader cultural matters. Effective participation by
minorities may be facilitated by territorial devolution on democratic, not
ethnic, grounds, but the relevant minority instruments do not impose a duty
on States to devolve authority on a territorial basis.
The question of the rights of indigenous peoples is presently under debate.
Are they "peoples" in the sense of article 1 common to the two International
Covenants? If they are, they should be entitled freely to determine their
political status and freely to pursue their economic, social and cultural
development, and for their own ends freely to dispose of their natural
wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of
international economic cooperation, based upon the principle of mutual
benefit, and international law.
The controversy on this issue is still not resolved. While ILO Convention
No. 169 uses the term "peoples", it emphasizes in its article 1.3 that the
use of that term shall not be construed as having any implications as
regards the rights which may attach to the term under international law.
Quite clearly, the aim was to prevent "people" being used as an excuse to
demand territorial separation. The draft indigenous declaration goes much
further: it proposes in its article 3 that indigenous peoples shall have the
right of self-determination and by virtue of that right be entitled freely
to determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social
and cultural development. This formulation, based on common article 1 of the
International Covenants, is one of the most controversial elements in the
draft declaration. It has been discussed since the draft was transmitted to
the Commission on Human Rights.
long debate took place during the last session of the working group of the
Commission set up to consider the draft declaration. The report of the
working group is contained in document E/CN.4/2000/84. Representatives of
indigenous groups argued in favour of a full-fledged right to
self-determination, though that did not necessarily mean that the right
would be used to secede from the States of which they now formed a part.
Representatives of Governments were either opposed to inclusion of the right
to self-determination or sought to give it a more limited meaning than was
given to that right in the context of decolonization.
Two revised understandings of the right to self-determination are under
discussion. One concerns so-called "internal" self-determination which
essentially refers to the right to effective, democratic governance within
States, making it possible for the population as a whole to determine their
political status and pursue their development. The other seeks to equate the
right to self-determination with the right to some - but unspecified -
degree of autonomy within sovereign States.
Conceptually and in practice, territorial autonomy should be kept separate
from cultural autonomy. Their respective benefits and risks should be
discussed. Generally, it is difficult to accept a principle of territorial
autonomy based strictly on ethnic criteria, since this ran counter to the
basic principles of equality and non-discrimination between individuals on
racial or ethnic grounds. There are, on the other hand, strong arguments in
favour of forms of cultural autonomy which would make it possible to
maintain group identity. What is special for indigenous peoples is that the
preservation of cultural autonomy requires a considerable degree of
self-management and control over land and other natural resources. This
requires some degree of territorial autonomy. The scope of and limits to
such autonomy are difficult to specify, however, both in theory and on the
ground in specific cases.
Whatever position one might take on this subject, which is likely to remain
controversial for some time to come, it is clear that the problem of
self-determination does not arise in regard to the Minority Declaration,
which neither limits nor extends the rights that peoples might have under
other parts of international law. The rights under the Declaration may not
be construed as permitting any activity contrary to the purposes and
principles of the United Nations, including territorial integrity of States
Every individual, including any person belonging to a minority or indigenous
group, is entitled to the human rights set out in the Universal Declaration
and can claim them in regard to any authority which exercises jurisdiction
over her or him. Should minority groups or indigenous peoples have a degree
of self-government, their authorities are therefore also obliged to respect
and protect universal human rights within their jurisdiction.
Special minority rights can be claimed by persons belonging to national or
ethnic, linguistic or religious minorities, but also by persons belonging to
indigenous peoples. The practice of the Human Rights Committee under article
27 of the ICCPR bears this out.
The rights of indigenous peoples, which, under present international law,
are found only under ILO Convention No. 169, can only be asserted by persons
belonging to indigenous peoples or their representatives. Members of
non-indigenous minorities cannot assert the rights contained in that
The ILO Convention No. 169 defines the indigenous in article 1 (b) as those
"peoples in independent countries who are regarded as indigenous on account
of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country, or a
geographical region to which the country belongs, at the time of conquest or
colonization or the establishment of present State boundaries and who,
irrespective of their legal status, retain some or all of their own social,
economic, cultural and political institutions".
There is still no consensus as to which collectivities are the beneficiaries
of the right to self-determination under article 1. There is general
agreement that the right applies to the populations of non-self-governing
territories as determined by the relevant organs of the United Nations, and
to the populations living in occupied territories. It also applies to the
population as a whole of sovereign States. Beyond these categories, legal
opinion is still divided.
dual track has emerged in United Nations standard-setting with regard to
minorities and indigenous peoples.
General human rights have a distinctly integrative function. Minority rights
are formulated as the rights of individuals to preserve and develop their
separate group identity within the process of integration. Persons belonging
to minorities often have several identities and participate actively in the
common domain. Indigenous rights, on the other hand, tend to consolidate and
strengthen the separateness of these peoples from other groups in society.
The underlying assumption is that persons belonging to indigenous peoples
have a predominantly indigenous identity and participate less in the common
What is normally held to distinguish indigenous peoples from other groups is
their prior settlement in the territory in which they live, combined with
their maintenance of a separate culture which is closely linked to their
particular ways of using land and natural resources.
The usefulness of a clear-cut distinction between minorities and indigenous
peoples is debatable. The Sub-Commission, including the two authors of this
paper, have played a major role in separating the two tracks. The time may
have come for the Sub-Commission to review the issue again. One question is
whether the distinction has global relevance. It has been argued that the
approach to the drafting of minority rights has been influenced mainly by
European experience and that it therefore is profoundly Eurocentric, whereas
the drafting of indigenous rights has been influenced mainly by developments
in the Americas and in the Pacific region (the "blue water doctrine" The
"blue water doctrine" hold that the indigenous are those people beyond
Europe who lived in the territory before European colonization and
settlement, and who now form a non-dominant and culturally separate group in
the territories settled primarily by Europeans and their descendants.), and
therefore is America-centric. The Sami of northern Scandinavia and the
Arctic peoples of the Russian Federation are widely held to be indigenous in
spite of the fact that they are not covered by the "blue water doctrine".
Norway has ratified ILO Convention No. 169 on the understanding that the
Sami are indigenous as defined in article 1 of that Convention.The
distinction is probably much less useful for standard-setting concerning
group accommodation in Asia and Africa.
Another question is whether all minorities, and all indigenous peoples,
should be treated alike, or whether differentiation is required both between
minorities and between indigenous groups. For persons of indigenous origin
who have migrated to urban areas their separate identity may have to be
combined with integration on a basis of equality within the city. Similarly,
the needs of minorities who live compactly together and possibly form the
majority in a particular region of a country are quite different from the
needs of persons belonging to minorities who live dispersed, most of them in
cities where persons of many different ethnic origins mingle together.
In accepting the task to prepare a working paper with Mr. Eide on the
relationship and distinction between the rights of persons belonging to
minorities and those of indigenous peoples, I am conscious, first of all, of
the excellent and very comprehensive paper by Mr. Eide which constitutes
Part I of the present working paper and of the work of a number of other
legal scholars and competent bodies of the United Nations system that have
preceded me and dealt with the subject matter or failed to resolve the
complex question of the terms "minorities" and "indigenous" to the
satisfaction of Governments and the groups concerned. My experience tells me
that there is no simple solution in logic or in law concerning these terms.
I do believe, however, that it is possible to simplify the argument over
definition by presenting the relationship and distinction between the rights
of persons belonging to minorities and those of indigenous peoples,
identifying certain basic factors, reviewing a number of important
characteristics and eliminating many misconceptions.
It might be useful to begin by identifying the factors which, singly or in
some combination, have repeatedly been asserted as characteristics of either
minorities or indigenous peoples:
Social isolation, exclusion, or persistent discrimination;
Cultural, linguistic or religious distinctiveness;
Geographical concentration (territoriality);
Aboriginality (i.e., being autochthonous).
The term "minority" has sometimes been applied to any group that constitutes
less than 50 per cent of the population of a State. It has been assumed that
numerical inferiority places the group at risk, thus justifying special
measures of protection. This may often be true, as in the example of
African-Americans in the United States. However, a numerically small group
may also be a dominant elite, as was the case of the Afrikaners during the
apartheid regime in South Africa. The numerical superiority of indigenous
peoples in countries such as Bolivia or Guatemala has likewise been no
guarantee of their enjoyment of basic human rights.
For these reasons, most previous attempts to define "minorities" and
"indigenous peoples" have emphasized their non-dominant status in national
society, either as a sufficient criterion, or in conjunction with the
criterion of numerical inferiority. This solution poses both methodological
and logical problems. The measurement of dominance can be challenging. A
group may nominally control the State apparatus yet be subordinate to
another group that controls, for example, the lands, finances or military
institutions of the country. De jure dominance may be de facto
subordination. More seriously, applying non-dominance as a key
characteristic of minorities or indigenous peoples results in the paradox
that a group ceases to be a minority or an indigenous people when it
realizes its human rights, or attains social and political equality. We are
faced with a logical dilemma. Either we admit that the goal of equality will
never be achieved fully, or we accept terms such as "minority" as purely
situational and transitory. No minority or indigenous people has admitted
that its legal status exists only at certain times, and in certain
Is this merely a problem of language? A group asserts its rights when it
feels that its rights are being violated. The problem for the international
community is first to ascertain what rights a particular group may
legitimately assert, as a matter of law, so that we can then determine
whether legitimately claimed rights are being violated as a matter of fact.
The question of whether a group is subordinate may be impossible to resolve
until we agree on what kind of group it is. For example, if Afrikaners argue
that they are entitled to special rights to their lands and autonomy, we
must first determine whether they have a legitimate claim to being
"indigenous". The fact that they lack any special rights to land cannot be a
factor in deciding whether they are indigenous because that would make the
exercise logically circular.
The existence of subordination is the reason why we need to have
international instruments such as the 1992 Minority Declaration.
Cultural distinctiveness - whether it is linguistic, religious or ethnic -
is widely assumed to be characteristic of both minorities and indigenous
peoples, and is generally asserted by both kinds of groups. Indeed,
indigenous peoples worldwide contend that they share a special kind of
culture that distinguishes all of them from other peoples and cultures. The
leaders of minorities and indigenous peoples frequently assert that the
enjoyment of their distinctive cultures is the reason they are seeking
collective legal recognition and self-determination.
It is very challenging to evaluate culture and agree on the extent to which
cultures differ. To a greater or lesser extent, all groups and cultures
overlap and change over time, particularly in this age of global
communications. Does a group gradually lose its rights as its culture
changes? Or lose its rights when it exceeds a certain threshold of cultural
similarity to other groups?
National minorities and "racial" groups pose additional problems of
relationship and distinction of their rights. They may be distinguishable
from other segments of the national society only with respect to their
historical origins, names, or physical appearance. These distinguishing
features may expose them to discrimination, but a group's visibility or
identifiability may not be associated with the existence of a distinctive
group culture. Skin colour prejudice may have nothing to do with the
existence of cultural differences, for example. Likewise, a group may
struggle against skin colour prejudice without aspiring to the perpetuation
of a distinctive culture, but simply because its members wish to escape
discrimination. It is probably safest to conclude that while cultural
distinctiveness may often be the objective of groups that assert rights as
minorities or indigenous peoples, it should not be a threshold criterion for
the legitimacy of group claims.
In this regard, it should be appreciated that a "minority" can be created
either by the actions of the State and its citizens, or by the group itself.
Some groups choose to perpetuate a distinct collective identify, while
others are satisfied to assimilate into national life but are prevented from
doing so by official or unofficial prejudices. Both kinds of situations may
result in abuses of human rights, serious violence, and threats to
international peace and stability.
Aboriginality (i.e. the characteristic of being autochthonous, or the
original human inhabitants of a territory) appears to be obvious as a
distinguishing characteristic of indigenous peoples. However, it fails to
clarify many situations, especially in Asia and Africa, where dominant as
well as non-dominant groups within the State can all claim aboriginality. In
such situations, previous studies have proposed the use of subordination and
cultural distinctiveness as further criteria, distinguishing vulnerable
groups from the dominant sectors of society. But this approach fails to
distinguish between indigenous peoples and minorities within African and
Asian States, unless we are prepared to agree that the distinction is merely
one of degree of aboriginality or cultural distinctiveness. In this case
problems may arise from applying different approaches to different regions
of the world: a qualitative standard in the Americas (aboriginality), and a
quantitative standard in Africa and Asia (degree of aboriginality or
The factor of aboriginality fails to clarify the situations of groups which
were forcibly dislodged from their ancestral territories, compelling them
either to disperse or emigrate across State frontiers. Are emigrant or
diaspora groups "indigenous" at their point of origin, and "minorities"
everywhere else? Every human lineage can trace roots to a territory in the
world, but this does not entitle every group to assert rights as an
indigenous people. On the other hand, it would seem unjust for a group to
lose its claim to being indigenous at the moment it is forced to abandon its
ancestral lands. How long does indigenous status survive a forced removal,
and justify a claim to the right to return? Minorities and indigenous
peoples share very similar experiences of oppression and displacement, but
using the factor of aboriginality accords greater rights to groups that
managed to remain physically in possession of their original territories.
Indigenous peoples contend that they not only continue to occupy parts of
their original territories, but also that they have a special relationship
with their lands. This is obviously a claim of cultural distinctiveness, but
it may be seen as a refinement of the concept of aboriginality as well. It
is a way of saying that living together in relationships is the core
aspiration of the group, a sine qua non for the enjoyment of their human
rights. It may not be the contemporary reality of the group as a result of
intervention by State authorities and settlers, but attachment to a homeland
is nonetheless definitive of the identity and integrity of the group,
socially and culturally. This may suggest a very narrow but precise
definition of "indigenous", sufficient to be applied to any situation where
the problem is one of distinguishing an indigenous people for the larger
class of minorities. However, there is an implication that the distinction
may be merely one of degree and not of quality. Many groups that are
identified or self-identify as "minorities" regard themselves as connected
with a homeland within the State, or another State.
Although aboriginality is perhaps the key factor from the perspective of
indigenous peoples, it must be borne in mind that many indigenous peoples in
the industrialized countries have changed their human-ecological
relationships profoundly, and a majority of them are no longer occupying
their ancestral territories. Ancestral lands have retained considerable
symbolic meaning and political significance for indigenous peoples, even
under the circumstances of industrialization and economic integration that
prevail in countries such as the United States and in countries where the
distinctions between indigenous peoples and minorities with respect to
culture and aboriginality have become more matters of degree.
The facts remain that indigenous peoples and minorities organize themselves
separately and tend to assert different objectives, even in those countries
where they appear to differ very little in "objective" characteristics that
distinguished them from the rest of the population of the State. At the same
time, no definition or list of characteristics can eliminate overlaps
between the concepts of minority and indigenous peoples. Cases will continue
to arise that defy any simple, clear-cut attempt at classification.
In such cases, a purposive approach would seem appropriate. What are the
legal consequences for a group being assigned to one or the other category?
Which category is most consistent with the goals and aspirations of the
group? Which category is consistent with what can realistically be achieved
by the group?
Classification as a "minority" or as "indigenous" has very different
implications in international law. Both categories of groups possess the
right to perpetuate their distinctive cultural characteristics and to be
free from adverse discrimination on the basis of those cultural
characteristics. Both kinds of groups enjoy the right to participate
meaningfully in the social, economic and political life of the State as a
whole - as groups if they choose, and in any case without adverse
discrimination. In my opinion, the principal legal distinction between the
rights of minorities and indigenous peoples in contemporary international
law is with respect to internal self-determination: the right of a group to
govern itself within a recognized geographical area, without State
interference (albeit in some cooperative relationship with State
authorities, as in any federal system of national government).
Some minorities today enjoy limited self-government, either de facto or
pursuant to national legislation. Only indigenous peoples are currently
recognized to possess a right to political identity and self-government as a
matter of international law.
The exercise of internal self-determination is impractical where the group
concerned is highly dispersed, and lacks a principal centre of population
and activity. The territorial element is central to the claims of indigenous
peoples, and it should be given particular weight precisely because it is so
closely related to the capability of groups to exercise the rights which
they assert. On the other hand, minority groups may increasingly make claims
to autonomy based on the existence of discrete concentrations of their
populations in particular regions of States.
Categorization of a situation as a "minority" problem or an "indigenous"
problem will serve, at best, as a starting point for the international
community to recognize the basic legitimacy of a group's desire for
political recognition by a State, and promote a process of political
engagement between the group and the State concerned.
On the basis of the above-mentioned analysis, the most helpful approach we
can take is to clarify our understanding of the "ideal types" of each group
(that is, "minorities" and "indigenous peoples"), rather than attempt to
define a sharp conceptual boundary between the two groups.
Bearing the conceptual problem in mind, I should like to suggest that the
ideal type of an "indigenous people" is a group that is aboriginal
(autochthonous) to the territory where it resides today and chooses to
perpetuate a distinct cultural identity and distinct collective social and
political organization within the territory. The ideal type of a "minority"
is a group that has experienced exclusion or discrimination by the State or
its citizens because of its ethnic, national, racial, religious or
linguistic characteristics or ancestry.
From a purposive perspective, then, the ideal type of "minority" focuses on
the group's experience of discrimination because the intent of existing
international standards has been to combat discrimination, against the group
as a whole as well as its individual members, and to provide for them the
opportunity to integrate themselves freely into national life to the degree
they choose. Likewise, the ideal type of "indigenous peoples" focuses on
aboriginality, territoriality, and the desire to remain collectively
distinct, all elements which are tied logically to the exercise of the right
to internal self-determination, self-government, or autonomy.
Obviously there will be cases which satisfy both ideal types of "minorities"
and "indigenous peoples" and which merit both kinds of protection. Thus, a
group can be "indigenous" yet demand not only some degree of
self-determination, but also the right to integrate freely into national
society for some purposes. A group that is best characterized as a
"minority" may nevertheless possess a limited degree of aboriginality and
territoriality, and demand some form of autonomy as a reasonable means of
protecting itself from discrimination. The inevitability of overlaps does
not invalidate the approach that I am proposing or render it useless in
practice. On the contrary, in my view, being practical and realistic
necessitates an approach that is purposive, and links the characteristics of
groups to their aspirations and to the rights they are entitled to and
realistically can exercise.