Slavery, colonization and apartheid, practices which have disappeared or are rapidly disappearing, were, in the recent past the principal massive violations of collective rights or individual rights. These categories of rights are closely linked, as the former provide the framework for the enjoyment of the latter. These collective or communal rights are to individual economic, social and cultural rights what democracy and the rule of law are to civil and political rights. While civil and political rights are now more or less an accepted and integral part of most national legislation, the same cannot be said for economic, social and cultural rights and collective rights.
Treating collective rights as merely an unfortunate factual situation is based on an erroneous idea that does not resist serious analysis of the legal and economic foundations of these rights. The extremely reluctant attitude of the developed countries concerning them is merely an expression of a certain selfishness.
Collective rights should not be regarded as rights but as a factual situation.