INTERPRETATION AND MEANING OF ARTICLE 27 OF THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS
The aim of the author is to prove that Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is in fact widely considered to be the primary provision guaranteeing protection by the UN to persons belonging to minorities. The scope of Article 27 has been subject to many discussions and interpretations. The Human Rights Committee (HRC) had an important role to play in clarifying the scope and application of the article. The case-law of the HRC has been presented by the author. The terms used in article 27 indicate that the persons designed to be protected are those who belong to a group and who share in common a culture, a religion and/or a language. Those terms also indicate that the individuals designed to be protected need not be citizens of the State party. The existence of an ethnic, religious or linguistic minority in a given State party does not depend upon a decision by that State party but requires to be established by objective criteria. Although article 27 is expressed in negative terms, that article, nevertheless, does recognize the existence of a 'right' and requires that it shall not be denied. Moreover, State party is under an obligation to ensure that the existence and the exercise of this right are protected against their denial or violation. Although the rights protected under article 27 are individual rights, they depend in turn on the ability of the minority group to maintain its culture, language or religion.
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