The UN Network on Racial Discrimination and Protection of Minorities
The United Nations Secretary-General endorsed the establishment of a United Nations Network on racial discrimination and the protection of minorities in Policy Committee decision No.2012/4 of 6 March 2012. The Network was established to enhance dialogue and cooperation between relevant UN Departments, Agencies, Programmes and Funds.
Coordinated by OHCHR, the Network brings together over 20 UN Departments, Agencies, Programmes and Funds, all of which have identified focal points for this purpose (current members include DESA, DOCO, DGC, DPA, DPKO, ILO, OCHA, OHCHR, OSAPG, PBSO, UNAIDS, UNAOC, UNDP, UNEP, UNHCR, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNITAR, UNESCO, UNODC, UN Women and WFP). Other UN entities are welcome to join. In 2021, UNESCO joins OHCHR to co-chair the Network.
Checklist to Strengthen UN Work at Country Level to Combat Racial Discrimination and Advance Minority Rights
Template for UN Network on Racial Discrimination and Protection of Minorities to Gather Case Studies in combatting racial discrimination and strengthening protection of minorities from UN country teams and humanitarian teams
DEADLINE 31 AUGUST 2021
UN Network on Racial Discrimination and Protection of Minorities WORK PLAN 2021+
Inputs into Secretary General’s Call to Action on Human Rights Follow-Up: Agenda for Protection
Statement to the 14th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: “Advancing crime prevention, criminal justice and the rule of law: towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda
STATEMENT of 3 December 2020 by the UN Network on Racial Discrimination and Protection of Minorities to the 27th virtual session of the Working Group of experts on people of African descent: “The Urgency of Now: Systemic Racism and the Lessons of 2020”
MINUTES of 4 November 2020 Senior (Assistant Secretary General-level) meeting of the Network, including recommendations for focus and work for the period 2021+
In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, the Network issued on 29 April 2020 the comprehensive statement “Leave No One Behind: Racial Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities in the COVID-19 Crisis: Statement by the United Nations Network on Racial Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities ”.
"Que nadie se quede atrás: Discriminación racial y la protección de las minorías en la crisis del COVID-19: Declaración de la Red de Naciones Unidas sobre la discriminación racial y la protección de las minorías".
« Ne laisser personne pour compte : La discrimination raciale et la protection des minorités dans la crise liée au COVID-19 : Déclaration du Réseau des Nations Unies sur la discrimination raciale et la protection des minorités ».
About the UN Network on Racial Discrimination and Protection of Minorities
The Network on Racial Discrimination and Protection of Minorities (“the Network”) was created by decision in 2012 of the Secretary-General, with the main goal of providing a platform to address issues of racial discrimination and the protection of national or ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities, including issues of multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination based on gender, disability, age and other grounds.
The Network brings together a range of UN Departments, Agencies, Programmes and Funds, which have identified focal points for this purpose. Members include DESA, DGC, DOCO, DPA, DPKO, ILO, OCHA, OHCHR, OSAPG, PBSO, UNAIDS, UNAOC, UNDP, UNEP, UNHCR, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNITAR, UNESCO, UNODC, UN Women and WFP. OHCHR acts as permanent Co-Chair for the Network. The 2021 Co-Chair is UNESCO.
In December 2020, the Network adopted a Workplan for the period 2021-2025.
The Network Work Plan 2021+ has eight Pillars, each led by one or more UN entities, as follows:
- Leave No One Behind: WHO Pillar Lead:
- Criminal Justice: UNODC Pillar Lead: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Agenda for Protection: OHCHR Pillar Lead:
- Intersectionality: UNAIDS Pillar Lead:
- Communications: DGC and UNFPA Pillar Leads:
- Knowledge Hub: UNHCR Pillar Lead:
- UN Internal Diversity: currently inactive pending the outcome of the Secretary General’s Task Force on Addressing Racism at the UN
- UN Network on Racial Discrimination and Protection of Minorities Development Pillar: OHCHR and UNESCO Co-Chairs Pillar Leads (email@example.com and
As of June 2021, the Network’s regular email list includes circa 200 UN staff. The Network convenes in full plenary five times per year, with one of the five meeting meetings – generally in November – taking place at senior leadership (Assistant Secretary General) level. The minutes of the Network’s most recent senior level meeting, inter alia setting out priorities for the period 2021+ are available at:
The remainder of the meetings are at working level. Updates are sent monthly. Pillars convene on an as-needed basis. Field-based colleagues participate in the regular work of the Network.
During 2020, the Network adopted a Checklist to Strengthen UN work at Country Level to Combat Racial Discrimination and Advance Minority Rights, the Network’s flagship product for 2021. The Checklist was launched in March 2021 and is currently being rolled out for use in field contexts. Comments and feedback on the utility of the Checklist are welcome, as the Network intends to update the Checklist based on field experience with its use. Translations into Arabic, French, Spanish and Russian will be available during June 2021, with other UN languages and other languages available during the course of 2021.
During 2021, the Network is undertaking work including including the following:
- An online training targeting UN staff at field level, “Addressing Structural Racial and Ethnicity-based Discrimination and Strengthening the Protection of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in UN Programming Processes” (October 2021). Network contact:
- A publication of Case Studies in combatting racial discrimination and strengthening protection of minorities from the UN country teams and humanitarian teams (slated distribution date: December 2021). Inputs to the Case Studies publication are welcome from UNCTs by not later then 31 September 2021. A Template for providing inputs is available from:
- A Guidance Note on intersectionality, racial discrimination and protection of minorities (slated distribution date: December 2021), as well as a library data base of expert literature on intersectionality matters. Network contact:
See the full Network Work Plan for the period 2021+
Suggestions for 2022 activities are kindly requested by 31 October 2021.
The Network Work Plan 2021+, requests for inclusion in the Network list, as well as any and all general inquiries are welcome to:
Publications and Documents
Statement by the UN Network on Racial Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities, “Leave No One Behind: Racial Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities in the COVID-19 Crisis” (29 April 2020) (PDF)
Checklist to strengthen UN work at country level to combat racial discrimination and advance minority rights (PDF)
Guidance Note of the Secretary-General on Racial Discrimination and Protection of Minorities (PDF)
Published: March 2013