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OHCHR Minorities Fellowship Programme

About the 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. 

Arabic language component

The Arabic language component of the Minority Fellowship Programme gives selected fellows the opportunity to learn more about the promotion and protection of minority rights, OHCHR, and the UN system as well give them an opportunity to attend the 7th session of the Forum on Minority Issues.
This component is intended primarily for persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities who are Arabic speakers and do not have a sufficient command of the English language to benefit from the English language programme.

English language component

The English language component of the Minority Fellowship Programme gives selected fellows the opportunity to learn more about the promotion and protection of minority rights, OHCHR, and the UN system as well give them an opportunity to attend the 7th session of the Forum on Minority Issues.

Russian language component

The Russian language component gives selected fellows the opportunity to learn more about the promotion and protection of minority rights, OHCHR, and the UN system as well give them an opportunity to attend the 7th session of the Forum on Minority Issues.

This component is intended primarily for persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities who are Russian language speakers and do not have a sufficient command of the English language to benefit from the English language programme.

Minorities Fellowship Programme 2014Call for applications

Please note that the Minorities Fellowship Programme 2014 will be held from Monday, 27th of October 2014 to Friday, 28th of November 2014.

The deadline for application for all there linguistic components has been extended until Monday, 5th of May 2014.

Fellows are entitled to the following: a return ticket (economy class) from the country of residence to Geneva; basic health insurance for the duration of the Programme; a stipend to cover modest accommodation and other living expenses for the duration of the Programme.

Who can apply?

1. The candidate must belong to a national, ethnic, linguistic or religious minority group (persons who do not belong to a minority group will not be taken into consideration, even if they have close links with minority communities and/or organizations)

NOTE: If your community identifies as indigenous, please do not apply to this programme but to our Indigenous Fellowship Programme. Please note that the Indigenous Fellowship is a separate programme and has different application forms and deadlines.

2. Formal education should not be a limitation to participation in the Minorities Fellowship Programme, if relevant experience can be demonstrated.

3. Candidates should have ability, willingness and possibility to train other persons belonging to minorities upon return to their respective communities/organizations and should agree to do so.

4. The candidates must have a good working knowledge of the language in which the programme is imparted (i.e. English, Arabic or Russian).

5. The candidate should be proposed and his/her candidacy supported by his/her organization and/or community. It is desirable that the sponsoring organization has a firm constituency or membership, is representative, undertakes work on minority issues and is composed of persons belonging to minorities.

6. The overall goal of the Minorities Fellowship Programme is to offer persons belonging to minorities the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in the field of international human rights in order to assist their organizations and communities in protecting and promoting human and minority rights. Therefore, it is important that the candidate proposed and nominated by a minority organization or community be someone who will return to his or her NGO to work in this field.

Selection process

The selection of fellows reflects a gender and regional balance. The general human rights situation in the respective regions/countries is also taken into consideration as is the situation of the minority community to which the applicant belongs to.

The selection of successful candidates is undertaken by an advisory group composed of OHCHR staff.

In view of the large number of applications, we regret to inform that only successful candidates will be contacted.

How to apply?

Fellowship application forms can be downloaded from the following links:

Application form 2014 - Arabic
Application form 2014 - English
Application form 2014 - Russian

Both parts I and II of the application form must be filled in and signed. In addition, application forms need to be accompanied by an official recommendation letter from the nominating organization or community. Fellowship applications will only be taken into consideration if they are fully completed.

Interested candidates should submit their application indicating “Application to the 2014 Minorities Fellowship Programme” as subject either by e-mail* to minorityfellowships@ohchr.org, by fax to the number +41 22 917 90 08 or by post to:

Application to the 2014 Minorities Fellowship Programme
Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
UNOG-OHCHR
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

* E-mailed applications must be signed, scanned and submitted as a single PDF file.

Any questions pertaining to the Minorities Fellowship Programme can be directed to the addresses mentioned above.

Please note that applications received after the closing date will not be considered.

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 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.

In 2014 the duration of the Senior Minorities Fellowship will be from Monday, 1st of September 2014 to Friday, 28th of November 2014.

The deadline for application for the Senior Minorities Fellowship Position has been extended until Monday, 5th of May 2014.

Entitlements: The selected candidate will not receive a salary but will be entitled to a monthly stipend that will cover basic living expenses in Geneva, as well as return ticket home and basic health insurance. Please note that this is not a regular employment position within OHCHR and it does not lead to employment rights and entitlements beyond the terms of the Fellowship.

Who can apply?

Candidates must belong to a national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minority group. They should also have:

  1. Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in law, political sciences, international relations or related fields.
  2. A minimum of four (4) years of work experience in the field of minority rights. Proven research and drafting skills are highly desirable. Experience in building the capacity of NGOs and other civil society actors will be an asset.
  3. Candidates must be fluent in English. Other language skills including Spanish, French or Arabic are highly desirable.

How to apply?

Application form for the position of the Senior Minorities Fellow can be downloaded from the following link:

Application form 2014 – Senior Minorities Fellow

Interested candidates should submit their application indicating “Application to the 2014 Senior Minorities Fellowship Position” as subject either by e-mail* to minorityfellowships@ohchr.org, by fax to the number +41 22 917 90 08 or by post to:

Application to the 2014 Senior Minorities Fellowship Position
Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
UNOG-OHCHR
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

* E-mailed applications must be signed, scanned and submitted as a single PDF file.