CYIL vol. 12 (2021)
CYIL 12 (2021) THE MECHANISM OF THE PROTECTION OF RACIAL, NATIONAL, AND RELIGIOUS… issues. 36 Although he supported the Polish proposals, Beneš, on behalf of the Czechoslovak Government, expressed their full acceptance of the proposals contained in the Rio-Branco report and welcomed the endeavours to make solutions of minorities issues more efficient within the League of Nations. Poland and Czechoslovakia were supported primarily by the British representative in the Council, Lord Robert Cecil, noting that the protection of minorities within the League of Nations had two levels: (a) observance of minorities obligations as bad treatment of minorities could endanger international peace arrangements; and (b) understanding on the part of minorities that they were part of the state they lived in and that they should intensively cooperate with their state in order to form its stable and functioning administration. 37 Then, the Assembly of the League of Nations formulated its Resolution on 22 September 1923, based on the proposal of Professor Murray and in consideration of the Polish and Czechoslovak proposals and results of debates. 38 More precise rules for dealing with petitions were intended to ease and accelerate the work of the Section for Minorities of the Secretariat General. The first question for bodies of the League of Nations to deal with was the admissibility of the petition. It was considered whether there had been the violation of a minorities obligation resulting from the respective treaty. In addition, it was considered whether the subject matter of the petition might have prevented the acceptance of the petition by the respective League of Nations bodies; what was excluded was challenging the borders or the constitutionally guaranteed state arrangements, or the issue raised had been an internal political issue of the state itself, etc. That was the reason why petitions challenging the annexation of the Hlučín region by Czechoslovakia 39 submitted in 1921 were rejected, as were petitions challenging the position of Slovaks within Czechoslovakia. 40 Petitions could not expressly request the worsening of political relations between a respective minority and the state, they could not be anonymous, had to contain facts other than those claimed in other petitions already considered, and could not be written in a violent language. However, it should be noted that the practice of the Section of Minorities showed that the assessment of such conditions was quite benevolent taking into account cultural and educational conditions in some member states. 41 In practice, even telegrams or letters addressed generally to the League of Nations in Geneva were accepted as petitions if their content suggested so. 36 See the consideration of Polish and Czechoslovak opinions regarding the minorities procedure before the League of Nation by the Council of the League of Nations on 5 October 1923. Ibid, Part II, pp. 19–21. 37 Ibid, p. 21. 38 Ibid, Part III., p. 243. 39 https://lontad-project.unog.ch/viewer/2993/. 40 Ferjenčuhová, B.: Ochrana národnostních menšín v Spoločnosti národov a Československo [ Protection of National Minorities within the League of Nations and Czechoslovakia ], In: Beneš, Z., Kováč, D., Lemberg, H. (eds.): Hledání jistoty v bouřlivých časech. Češi, Slováci, Němci a mezinárodní systém v první polovině 20. století [ Looking for Certainty in Stormy Times. Czechs, Slovaks, Germans and the International System in the First Half of the 20 th Century ], Albis International, 2006, pp. 123 and 130–131. See the debate on this issue within the Minorities Section of the Secretariat General of the Council of the League of Nations in 1928. Archives of the League of Nations, Secretariat General of the Council of the League of Nations, Political general, R1840/1A/3188/3188; see also lontad-project.unog.ch/viewer/5935/. 41 Adachi Report from May 1929 used the designation “primitive cultures”. Protection of linguistic, racial or religious minorities by the League of Nations. Resolutions and Extracts from the Minutes of the Council, Resolutions and Reports adopted by the Assembly relating to the Procedure to be followed in Questions concerning the Protection of Minorities, ibid., p. 176.
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