Does the Free Choice of Ethnic Identity Exist as a Legal Right?

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Andras L. Pap, Hungarian Academy of Sciences/Central European University, Budapest


    Investigating whether the free choice of identity exists as a principle of international minority protection law, the author makes three claims. First, according to the basic tenet of legal logic, if there were a proper right to free choice of identity allowing people to opt out from racial, ethnic or national (minority) communities, the very right necessarily would need to include the freedom to opt in either to the majority or to any chosen minority group. The author’s second claim is that this not something international law would actually set forth. Third, bringing examples for ethno-corruption and a potential to obstruct anti-discrimination and anti-hate crime efforts, the author shows the imminent dangers the recognition of such a right would entail. Thus, the right to free choice of identity is neither a theoretically coherent and practically sustainable legal concept, nor is it an autonomous, sui generis right under international law.