Implications Moving Forward

Developing new standards

Our analysis in this chapter questions the assumption that hard law instruments are by their nature the most effective for norm implementation. However, this is not to dismiss the potential role and utility of harder forms of law for the protection of minority rights. The continued development of hard law and enforcement mechanisms that are both systematic and less reliant on the mandates, operational techniques, and talents of normative intermediaries such as the HCNM for their effective implementation is therefore to be welcomed in principle. As we saw in section 2 with regard to the development of the soft political OSCE standards (faster, responsive, adaptable, detailed, etc.) versus the legally binding (though essentially ‘soft’) FCNM, states have to be ready to commit to a Convention. As Brostig notes: ‘The advantage of a soft law convention on minority rights is thus the existence of the convention itself.’5° In our view it is not a propitious time to achieve consensus on the drafting of a universal convention on the rights of minorities. Rather, further development of ‘soft’ law and the effective implementation of existing norms and standards should remain the focus of efforts to protect and promote minority rights. Progress in this respect would represent a significant step forward.

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