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OHCHR Minorities Fellowship Programme

The Minorities Fellowship Programme (MFP) was launched by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in 2005.

Through the MFP, the OHCHR aims to give persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities an opportunity to gain knowledge on the UN system and mechanisms dealing with international human rights in general and minority rights in particular. The MFP is intended to assist organizations and communities in protecting and promoting the rights of minorities the fellows belong to.

The MFP is held annually and until 2014 had two linguistic versions: The English language programme has been running since 2005 and the Arabic language programme has started in 2007. The Arabic language component began as a two-week pilot and gradually expanded to five weeks in 2011. The duration of the programmes varied until 2011, when both programmes were decided to last 5 weeks and coincide with the session of the Forum on Minority Issues. In 2014 the Minorities Fellowship Programme acquired a Russian language component, to be fully synchronized with the other two linguistic components.

The Fellows are based at the OHCHR Geneva, Switzerland. The MFP is interactive and consists of briefings on several topics (e.g. the UN system, OHCHR work, human rights mechanisms and instruments), fellows also undertake individual and group assignments.

At the end of the MFP, the fellows should have a general knowledge of the United Nations system, international human rights instruments and mechanisms in general and those relevant to minorities in particular and be capable of further training their communities/organizations. The Programme furthermore serves as an opportunity for human rights activists working towards the protection and promotion of minority rights to expand their partners’ base by building a strategic dialogue with fellow activists from across the globe, the United Nations, relevant Geneva-based NGOs, amongst other partners.

New: This year, the English and Russian language components of the Minorities Fellowship Programme will run from 26 October to 28 November and 15 to 28 November, respectively, in Geneva, Switzerland, and fellows will be able to participate in the 8th Session of the Forum on Minority Issues.  

Candidates selected to attend the 2015 English language component of the programme are:

  • Mr Zakirzhan AMANBAEV, Kyrgyzstan (Uzbek ethnic minority)
  • Mr Cecil Shane CHAUDHRY, Pakistan (Christian religious minority)
  • Mr Estefanel GUTIERREZ, Colombia (Afro-Colombian ethnic minority)
  • Mr Navin Shekhar KARN, Nepal (Madeshi ethnic minority)
  • Ms Julian Dawood Yousil AL-BAZI, Iraq (Assyrian-Christian religious minority)
  • Ms Kamaleswary LETCHUMANAN, Sri Lanka (Tamil ethnic minority)
  • Ms Elona VELIU, Albania (Egyptian ethnic minority- Roma-)
  • Ms Rita Okotie Mebaghandu, Nigeria (Itsekiri ethnic minority

Candidates selected to attend the 2015 Russian language component of the programme are:

  • Mr Sarvar SALIMOV, Kyrgyzstan (Uzbek ethnic minority)
  • Ms Jekaterina KIRJUHINA, Latvia (Russian linguistic minority)
  • Ms Marina SUPAC, Moldova (Bulgarian national/ Russian linguistic minority)
  • Ms Yelena Borisovna VORONINA, Azerbaijan (Russian linguistic minority)

2015 Senior Minorities Fellowship Position

The Senior Minorities Fellowship Position aims at giving a better understanding and appreciation of the international human rights system and mechanisms, especially those dealing with minority issues, to a selected member of a national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minority with relevant experience and education.

Through the experience gained during three months (September to November) of working with the OHCHR Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section the Senior Fellow will gain practical knowledge and working level experience by directly contributing to the programmes and activities of the Section. The Senior Fellow is expected to return to his/her community better equipped to contribute towards the promotion and protection of minorities.

New: This year, Mr Changho KIM, Korean ethnic minority in Japan has been selected as OHCHR Senior Minority Fellow.