Quanto è morbido il soft law? La tutela non giurisdizionale dei diritti delle minoranze nelle aree geogiuridiche europee

The paper sketches the main traits of the international protection of minority rights in Europe. This topic is a particularly telling example of non-judicial protection of rights, both in terms of the rights to be protected and of the instruments used for such protection. As to the former, minority rights are peculiar as they differ from classical human rights in being collective if not in their nature, at least in their exercise. As to the latter, international protection of minority rights occurs by means of a mix between (a few) binding instruments and (more) soft law tools, providing a unique form of protection, based on a wide range of instruments. These are different in legal nature but not necessarily they lack effectiveness. Furthermore, the paper shows that, at least in the area of minority rights, there is no sharp alternative between judicial and non-judicial protection, as well as between hard and soft law, but rather complementarity.