THS Minorities Course, Fall 2012

This page includes links and information of interest to students in a course I am currently teaching in the Stockholm School of Theology Human Rights Program on the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples. It is meant primarily as a resource for the course itself, but may be of interest to others curious about minority issues generally and how they play out in the Nordic countries in particular (NB: many of the links are to articles in Swedish, but these days, Google translate makes reading them lätt som en plätt). Students in the course may also find many of the linked resources from previous years’ courses helpful as well.

 05 September 2012

Thomas Hylland Ericksen discusses on Open Democracy whether relief over the outcome of the Breivik trial and consternation over reports of government failures to minimize the number of victims have led to a conspiracy of silence surrounding racism in Norwegian society.

06 September 2012

NYT’s Lede Blog points out the irony that the man who may have been attempting to assassinate the new Parti Quebecois PM of Quebec in hopes of inflaming the language issue attacked just after she had reassured English speakers that their rights would be respected in Quebec.

Meanwhile, an editorial in the Canadian Globe and Mail notes that Quebec has now joined an international club of “plan B sovereignists” intent on achieving “devo-max”, or broad-ranging autonomy, but without a clear mandate to realistically push for secession and full independence:

In Catalonia, Scotland and now Quebec, power is held by separatist parties that have little chance of winning a sovereignty referendum in the foreseeable future, but are instead using their electoral mandates to demand increasing devolution of power from the national government.

There’s little coincidence in this: In the nine years since the Parti Québécois were last in power, the separatist movements in Canada, Britain and Spain have become increasingly interlinked and motivated by one another’s tactics. Their leaders nowadays meet with one another on a regular basis, study one another’s slogans and strategies, and celebrate their mutual victories.


Another, more important factor unites these movements: in all three jurisdictions, no more than a third of voters say they would cast a “Yes” ballot in an independence referendum. In Quebec, according to a CROP poll published last week, 28 per cent of voters support full secession; strikingly similar results have been registered recently in Scotland and Catalonia.

As a result, separatist parties everywhere are putting aside separatism for the larger cause of getting more powers – and more revenues – from the central government.

Meanwhile, Michael Goldfarb of the BBC ponders on why the word ‘federalism’ remains taboo in EU circles even though explicitly pursuing such a system may be the organization’s best hope.

21 September 2012

So much for ‘Plan B sovereignism’ (see above). Andres Ortega discusses why the Catalonian ‘nuclear option’ is back on the table at Open Democracy.

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