CYIL vol. 12 (2021)
jan kuklík CYIL 12 (2021) protection of minorities that would be binding on all member states; he claimed that the existing system breached the principle of equality among states. In addition, his proposal contained the requirement that a more precise definition of the concept of minority should be provided, and the regulation of the decision-making procedure regarding minorities petitions should be implemented. 51 The proposal gave rise to stormy debates and confirmed the positions of France and Britain particularly, claiming that the existing system of special minorities obligations was invoked by the specific situation of states concerned relating to the procedure of their establishment as separate states after WWI. The Lithuanian proposal was opposed particularly with reference to the debates during the Paris Peace Conference and its conclusions. The proposal was refused by Czechoslovak delegate E. Beneš and his Italian, Romanian, and Belgian colleagues. Beneš proposed the solution of the whole situation. The Sixth Committee of the Assembly of the League of Nations approved the report of the Council of the League of Nations dealing with minorities issues; next, the Council was informed of proposals submitted in the course of debates on the Lithuanian proposal. The proposal was then withdrawn by the Lithuanian delegate as it was considered not to be sufficiently mature to be approved by representatives of some states. 52 A proposal of Hungarian delegate Earl (Gróf ) Appónyi was submitted within the debate on minorities issues and during the presentation of the respective Report of the Work of the Secretariat General and Council of the League of Nations. A year earlier at the meeting of the Sixth Committee of the Assembly of the League of Nations within the context of debates regarding the position of a Hungarian minority in Romania, he proposed that in addition to individual petitions, collective rights of minorities should be considered within the League of Nations, such as the preservation of national identity, from which the right to cultural autonomy and the extension of the conception of minorities rights as collective rights could have been derived. 53 Earl Appónyi repeated his proposal to change to the minorities procedure at the following meeting of the Sixth Committee of the Assembly on 14 September 1925. 54 The substance of the proposal was to change the rules for dealing with petitions within the Secretariat and the Council of the League of Nations so that arguments of both parties could have been heard in their presence. Petitions submitted by certain trustworthy institutions, such as churches or cultural associations should always be considered and the preliminary consideration of admissibility should be ignored. He also proposed wider possibilities to deal with legal aspects of minorities petitions before the Court of International Justice in the Hague. 55 The Czechoslovak diplomats protested against such an extensive interpretation of minorities obligations in the first year it had been proposed. Mello-Franco in his personal comments on the Appónyi’s proposal drew attention to the danger of inferring special collective rights from the protection of minorities, such as the right to autonomy, which 51 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., Part II, p. 39 and Part III., pp. 244–245. 52 Ibid, p. 59. 53 Jones, M.G.: National Minorities, A Case Study in International Protection, In: Law and Contemporary Problems , Vol. 14, No. 4, International Human Rights: Part 2 , Duke University School of Law,1949), p. 623. 54 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., Part II., pp. 62-63. 55 Ibid, Part II, p. 44.
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