swiss-minarets

When national will (especially a Swiss "legitimacy-rich" democratic one) clashes with trans-national will (especially a European "legitimacy-poor" undemocratic one), who should win?

The answer seems transparently obvious; but the European project has never been too interested in transparency. (Witness the recent magical apparition of a new EU constitution and President. Or maybe I just mislaid my ballot card...?)

Now that those naughty Helvetians have voted against the building of minarets in their country, opponents to the ruling are brandishing the European Convention on Human Rights. Switzerland is not in the EU, but is in the Council of Europe and so is party to the Convention. If they were in the EU, all hell would break loose: how dare the Swiss take such an autonomous and "incorrect" decision! Plus, a certain EU wannabe - Turkish Prime Minister Mr. Erdogan, who the member states pretend to listen to so as to not cause offence - is rather keen on Minarets:

"Minarets are our bayonets," he said. "The domes are our helmets, the mosques our barracks and the believers our army."
(Spiegel Online)

All that aside, the problem with "declaring" human rights is that the declarer is rarely the one who has to administer them. Or the one who has to ensure civic obligations are in place to make those rights meaningful, rather than just wishful. That's the job of a nation, not a remote commission. I can "declare" whatever I want; if someone else has to bear the whole burden, it's surely fair game it they ignore me. That's why democratic nations are the only viable guarantors of human rights - not trans-national bodies that nobody can remember having ever voted in.

Switzerland, after all, has been a recent unilateral supplier of human rights. During the Yugoslav war it welcomed a disproportionately large number of Balkan Muslims (added: and latterly Ouïgour Muslims from China ). Refugees of conflict, now invoking their human right to bayonets minarets.