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Forum on Minority Issues – Fifth annual session marks 20th anniversary of Minorities Declaration

GENEVA (26 November 2012) – The United Nations Forum on Minority Issues will mark the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities during its fifth annual session, on 27 and 28 November 2012 in Geneva

Participants, including representatives of minority communities and UN Member States from all regions, will highlight challenges that continue to face minorities globally as well as positive practices to protect and promote their rights.

The Forum will be opened with a video message from the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. Opening statements will be given by the President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Laura Dupuy Lasserre, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.

In recognition that much remains to be done to promote attention to the Declaration globally and to ensure its implementation in practice, in this anniversary year the Forum will consider “Implementing the Declaration on the Rights of Minorities: Identifying positive practices and opportunities.”

The Forum on Minority Issues was established by the Human Rights Council in 2007 to provide a platform for dialogue on minority issues within the UN human rights system. Over its first four sessions the Forum has focused attention and produced recommendations on key thematic issues of minority concern, including the right to education and effective political participation.

The Forum is guided and prepared by the UN Independent Expert on minority issues, Ms. Rita Izsák, and the Chair of the fifth session is Ms. Soyata Maiga, Member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The Forum will take place in Palais des Nations, Geneva, Room XX. Simultaneous translation in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish will be provided.
Meeting times will be 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. Side events will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. on both days.
(*) Check the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/minorities.htm
Documentation, including the concept note, provisional agenda and draft recommendations: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Minority/Pages/Session5.aspx

Contact the Forum Secretariat (+41 22 917 9697 / Minorityforum@ohchr.org)

For further information and media requests, please contact Ms. Kim Turcotte, (+41 22 917 9697 / kturcotte@ohchr.org) or write to minorityforum@ohchr.org.

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