Power-sharing and Human Rights Law

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Abstract

This article maps international human rights jurisprudence relating to the compatibility of power-sharing arrangements with human rights law. This mapping reveals a growing jurisprudence but one that appears piecemeal and internally inconsistent. The article suggests that human rights jurisprudence on power-sharing has varied over time, but also, by region, by group addressed, and according to the perceived purpose of the power-sharing mechanism. The article argues that the contingencies of human rights adjudication reflect underlying assessments of the legitimacy of the polity that are seldom explicitly articulated by human rights bodies. The relationship of adjudication
to legitimacy poses a central paradox for any attempt to articulate a more coherent normative approach: normative coherence appears to require human rights bodies to develop their understanding of the relationship of rights to governmental legitimacy, but such development appears beyond the reach of human rights bodies due to structural limits of international human rights law and its adjudicatory apparatus. This paradox drives the inconsistencies of how human rights bodies engage with power sharing and constitutes the real barrier to coherent normative development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-37
Number of pages34
JournalThe International Journal of Human Rights
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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