Joel R. Pruce


The central thread woven through this Digest is the concept of vulnerability. Minority status, broadly construed, represents a core characteristic that carries with it particular human rights implications. Historically, minorities are frequently targeted for exploitation and scapegoated when things go badly. Without the capacity to protect themselves and without spokespersons to stand with them in solidarity, minority groups are specifically susceptible to gross exercises of power and abuse and too often denied access to channels through which to make claims and demand redress. Violations of minority rights are commonly structural in nature, as discriminatory practices are built into political and economic systems to deny fundamental rights, such as to vote or to own property. Violence and deprivation that disproportionately affect minority groups are symptomatic of the inequality and humiliation that human rights seek to remedy. Minority rights, as a category of rights, are intended to direct special attention to the plight of those people under attack by virtue of their vulnerability.

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