Minority Rights for Immigrants: From Multiculturalism to Civic Participation

Elisa Ortega Velázquez


This article asserts that according to international law, immigrants do have rights as a minority, and in abiding by their international obligations, States are obligated to implement policies that safeguard these rights and, in this way, facilitate the integration of immigrants into the host society. However, there are a number of elements that make the practical enforcement of these rights and the implementation of such policies rather complex. Thus, a series of international law provisions are first reviewed so as to be able to establish the foundations of our views. Secondly, we summarize and analyze the main trends of integration policies in three of the main Western immigration countries: Canada, the United States and the Netherlands, in order to broadly present the actions and results. Lastly, we conclude that immigrant integration projects fail to respect immigrants’ rights as a minority and that more effort should be made to comply with the international obligations States have assumed.


Immigrants; multiculturalism; civic participation; human rights; minorities

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