This research project explores new thinking and theoretical approaches for dealing with the prevention of radicalization in a culturally diverse Europe by means of interpreting the human rights framework from an inclusive perspective.

The main purpose of this research project consists of unveiling a potential contribution that Regional Human Rights Systems (RHRS) could make towards the enhancement of the protection of ethno-cultural diversity and the prevention of ethno-cultural racism, intolerance, exclusion and the consequential processes of ethno-cultural auto-radicalization within European societies.

The principles and legal standards developed by the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I-ACtHR) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) could provide assistance in dealing with societal ethno-cultural claims within the human rights framework. The critical analysis of their jurisprudence could shed light on how to find the right balance between the protection of individual claims – based on communitarian or ethno-cultural views or traditions and/or expansive interpretation of the scope of protection of individual human rights – and the protection of the ‘common good’ or general societal interest, essential for the existence of an inclusive, cohesive and pluralist democratic society.

Processes of radicalization are becoming increasingly common within European borders, both as a result of radical and violent religious interpretations and cultural practices, but also as a potential counter cultural reaction vis-à-vis the exclusion and marginalization of diversity by the mainstream sectors of the society. The current debate in Europe regarding Islam (e.g. the use of the headscarf in public places), the growth of anti-Semitism and Afrophobia, and the increasing intolerance of refugees and economic migrants can all be seen as emerging examples of these destructive dynamics.

Therefore, the preservation of societal common interests, such as public order and safety – or even cultural traditions and identities – in open and pluralistic societies should also include the protection against ethno-cultural assimilation and discrimination. In fact, without the implementation of specific legal safeguards, the protection of the majoritarian ethno-cultural identity in a given society could substantially lead to the denial of recognition and fair accommodation of the cultural diversity intrinsically connected with the identity and dignity of ‘old’ or ‘new’ minorities.

Without cultural inclusion, persons belonging to ethno-cultural minority groups could be ‘tempted’ to embrace processes of self-radicalization as a ‘legitimized’ means of counter-reaction because of cultural exclusion, blindly identifying destructive violence as a potential ‘path’ for recognition and dignification of their own cultural identity and societal dignity.

The outcome of this project will be the publication of three articles in internationally recognized peer-reviewed journals, and the elaboration of a research proposal for its further development.



Project owner:

Alejandro Fuentes

Senior Researcher

+46 46 222 10 46