Equality versus fraternity? Rethinking France and its minorities

Gilbert, Jérémie and Keane, David (2016) Equality versus fraternity? Rethinking France and its minorities. International Journal of Constitutional Law, 14 (4) . pp. 883-905. ISSN 1474-2640 [Article] (doi:10.1093/icon/mow059)


The relationship between France and its minorities is complex, and often controversial. Traditionally, France has been against minority rights. French authorities have consistently eschewed the use of the term “minorities” and any form of targeted ethnic, religious, or linguistic measures. In practice, this has rendered minorities, along with systemic forms of discrimination, invisible. This article examines the pivotal role of the Constitutional Court in interpreting the principle of equality as a rejection of minority rights. It identifies fraternity as a dormant term within the French constitutional architecture, which could be triggered to open a pathway towards minority rights recognition. Examples from other jurisdictions, in particular India, illustrate the potential. In conclusion the paper argues that France needs a new interpretative approach, and activating fraternity as a constitutional principle offers the legal means by which this could be realized.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
Item ID: 23575
Useful Links:
Depositing User: David Keane
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2018 15:08
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2020 08:49
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/23575

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