Reconciliando los Derechos de las Minorías y la Soberanía Estatal

Cuando el conflicto entre este y oeste terminó hace diez años, muchos tuvieron la esperanza de que los cambios democráticos en Europa del Este inspirarían una solución pacífica para las divergencias entre las demandas de derechos humanos y las de soberanía nacional en todo el mundo. En cambio, los conflictos étnicos se han multiplicado, sacudiendo a muchos países asiáticos y de Europa del Este. Los derechos étnicos y de las minorías son, al parecer, demandados sólo a punta de cañón, como en Chechenia y en Timor Oriental.

¿Por qué es así? Las demandas de "derechos humanos", que se han formulado en repetidas ocasiones desde 1989, acentúan los derechos de los individuos en su lucha contra las exasperadas instituciones estatales. La libertad de pensamiento, la libertad de prensa y la libertad de asociación: estos fueron los derechos que se señalaron con mayor frecuencia, quizá porque reflejaban la larga lucha para restaurar las libertades individuales reprimidas por el comunismo.

Pero los derechos humanos limitados al contexto de la libertad de los individuos son insuficientes para resolver los conflictos étnicos, pues las comunidades y los grupos étnicos no pueden utilizar los mecanismos de las leyes de derechos humanos para asegurarse de que sus demandas sean efectivamente escuchadas. Los Estados, después de todo, son usualmente las fuerzas que suprimen sus reclamos. La violencia étnica y de minorías se origina en el resultante sentido de frustración.

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