Changing rights and wrongs

The transnational construction of indigenous and human rights among Vietnam's Central Highlanders

in Volume 2006 (2006): Issue 47 (Jun 2006): The transnational construction of local conflicts and protests. Guest Editors: Halleh Ghorashi and Oscar Salemink
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In the context of the conflict-ridden relationship with the Vietnamese state and the growing transnational interference by their vociferous diaspora, this paper analyzes particular shifts in the framing of their rights. A notion of collective group rights that are by definition particularistic and exclusive has given way to individual rights (especially religious freedom) that are universal and inclusive. Simultaneously, a localized and communal emphasis has changed to a transnational one oriented toward international fora. Local interests and aspirations thus come to be framed as universal human rights that pertain to individuals, rather than local rights that pertain to collectives. In this light, recent attempts to theorize minority or indigenous rights appear to be ineffective and will probably be counter-productive.