The Definition of Minorities under International Law: An Examination


  • Ikponmwonsa Omoruyi
  • Alero Fenemigho


There are minorities in every country in the world. Ensuring the protection of these minorities is acknowledged to be essential to
the preservation of international peace and thus there are in existence different legal provisions and instruments to provide
for the rights of minority groups. Despite the major inroads into minority protection in international law, the very definition of
the term „minorities? therein has remained controversial. There is no one agreed upon definition of the term. In fact, many doubt
the usefulness or relevance of any such precise definition of the term. This paper examines the problem of the definition of
minorities under international law. It further examines the question of the relevance or otherwise of a universally accepted
definition of minorities. The paper concludes that although such definition would indeed be desirable, its relevance is quite
doubtful given the nigh impossibility of such definition ever coming to fruition.