Can OSCE’s norms apply to minority protection in North America?

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Mutual ignorance is the defining feature of relations between OSCE and North American minorities. OSCE has concentrated its work on the rights of European national minorities which can constitute international security challenges. Ethnic minorities in Canada and the United States have fought for recognition of their right on a national, and not international, level – with the exception of native peoples. One has to admit that OSCE norms are difficult to apply in typically North American situations. The specific construction of Canadian and American societies (conquest, slavery, and mass immigration) has generated specific ethnic claims (from native peoples, African-Americans or immigrant groups), which are different from those of European national minorities.

AFRI 2007 Summary