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Autonomy arrangements have gradually become more numerous, and different developments in respect of autonomy can be discerned in the fields of international and domestic law. The patterns of autonomy are quite disparate, but because various fields of law treat autonomy in different ways, it is fruitful to inquire into the applications of autonomy and to ask what autonomy as such implies. Autonomy is a multi-faceted phenomenon which on the one hand contains the issue of devolution or decentralization of law-making or other normative powers in the institutional fabric of the country without any minority protection component; on the other hand it may in addition contain an explicit minority protection component designed to offer special protection to minority groups in society. Especially in the latter sense, the issue of effective participation of a minority in the government is an important issue, and in this respect, there is a connection between autonomy and a general understanding of democracy.