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  • Author: Arman Grigoryan
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Destabilized multiethnic states and empires are environments that are highly susceptible to violent ethnonationalist conflict. Conflicts between states built on the ruins of such empires and their minorities are especially common. James Fearon has famously argued that these conflicts are the result of minorities' rational incentives to rebel, which in turn are the result of newly independent states' inability to guarantee that these minorities will not be discriminated against if they acquiesce to citizenship, as well as expectations that over time the balance of power will shift against minorities as states consolidate their institutions. States can, however, take steps to reassure their minorities. The puzzle is why they often fail to do so. In fact, states often adopt policies that confirm minorities' worst fears, pushing them toward rebellion. Such action may be precipitated by a state's belief that a minority is motivated by a separatist agenda rather than by the desire to have its concerns and grievances satisfactorily addressed. If secession is a minority's primary objective, then concessions intended to demobilize the minority will only make the state more vulnerable to future demands and separatist bids. The existence of third parties with incentives to support minority separatism exacerbates the problem. The violent and nonviolent minority disputes in post-Soviet Georgia illustrate these findings.
  • Topic: Ethnic Government, Governance, Ethnicity, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Georgia, Global Focus
  • Author: Kirsty Gover
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: When the UN General Assembly voted in 2007 to adopt the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), only Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA cast negative votes. This article argues that the embedding of indigenous jurisdictions in the constitutional orders of these states via negotiated political agreements limits their capacity to accept certain provisions of the UNDRIP. Once the agreement-making process is set in motion, rights that do not derive from those bargains threaten to undermine them. This is especially true of self-governance and collective property rights, which are corporate rights vested to historically continuous indigenous groups. Since these rights cannot easily be reconciled with the equality and non-discrimination principles that underpin mainstream human rights law, settler governments must navigate two modes of liberalism: the first directed to the conduct of prospective governance in accordance with human rights and the rule of law and the second directed to the reparative goal of properly constituting a settler body politic and completing the constitution of the settler state by acquiring indigenous consent. Agreements help to navigate this tension, by insulating indigenous and human rights regimes from one another, albeit in ways not always supported by the UNDRIP.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, United Nations, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Canada, United Nations, Australia, New Zealand, United States of America
  • Author: Matthias Goldmann
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: According to mainstream functionalist theories of international law and relations, international organizations are vehicles of states, tied to their masters by meticulous legal instructions. As Jan Klabbers recently pointed out in this journal,1 functionalism was based on the idea of establishing peace by channelling international relations into the purportedly technical, a-political realm of international organizations. Research of the last couple of decades has profoundly rebutted the assumption that international organizations are a-political. They have been discovered, among others, to serve as platforms for the formation of epistemic communities, as agorae for political deliberation and contestation or to use their bureaucratic potential and the flexibility of their mandates to establish a degree of independence from their principals. The book by Tana Johnson, professor of political science at Duke University, adds another important perspective that has not been explored so far. She turns our attention to the fact that institutional design might matter for the international organization’s independence from member states. As chief witness for her thesis, she summons the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Originally a brainchild of the US government, it is today a fairly independent institution fallen from grace with its master. Johnson argues that it owes its independence to the influence of international bureaucracies – that is, staff of other international organizations, upon the process that led to its establishment. The thesis puts the spotlight on the fact that a majority of new international organizations that saw the light of the day during the last decades was fostered by pre-existing international organizations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, International Law, International Organization, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe