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Ukraine’s Law on National Minorities and ‘Effective’ Participation: Expanding or Diluting Standards?

Prina, F and Pentassuglia, G (2023) Ukraine’s Law on National Minorities and ‘Effective’ Participation: Expanding or Diluting Standards? International Journal on Minority and Group Rights, 30 (5). pp. 880-930. ISSN 1385-4879

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This article provides a critique of Law No. 2827-ix ‘On National Minorities (Communities) of Ukraine’, adopted in December 2022, with a focus on minority participation. Following an overview of Ukraine’s international commitments and domestic legislation on minority protection, we consider some of the complexities of Ukraine’s minority rights regime, particularly those linked to the enduring challenge in striking a balance between the promotion of Ukrainian as the sole state language and the use of Russian and other languages. These dynamics have frequently resulted in the politicisation of language issues, with polarising effects. Meanwhile, participation of national minorities in these debates – and more generally in devising law and policy on matters affecting them – has been limited. The Law on National Minorities represents a welcome attempt to bring about inclusive decision-making, and for the Ukrainian state to meet the requirement of guaranteeing opportunities for effective minority participation. However, the Law’s provisions also reveal a clear preoccupation with national unity at a time of acute crisis, and over the instrumentalisation of national minorities by kin states for political ends. Hence the need for balancing out two equally legitimate concerns. Placing the Law on National Minorities in the context of international standards on minority rights, the article points to an increasing emphasis, at the international level, on the substantive – rather than procedural – aspect of minority participation, through a new focus on outcomes and joint ownership of decisions. In this sense, the Law on National Minorities, and subsequent legal reform, can lay the foundations for a system that devises, implements, and evaluates concrete measures for effective participation. The article concludes that inclusive debates, and igo s’ role in facilitating them, are more critical than ever in light of the severity of ongoing challenges.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1801 Law; Political Science & Public Administration
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Law
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2024 13:37
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2024 10:27
DOI or ID number: 10.1163/15718115-bja10138
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22190
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