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Minorities in the criminal justice system

UN Forum on Minority Issues - 24-25 November, Room XX, Palais des Nations, Geneva

GENEVA (19 November 2015) – The voices of minorities from around the world will be at the forefront of the eighth session of the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues this year, organised and guided by the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák, and chaired by minority rights expert Joshua Castellino.

Over 500 participants from all regions will gather in Geneva on 24-25 November to discuss key issues of global concern regarding the treatment of minorities by criminal justice systems, and to make specific recommendations to protect and promote their rights.

“Globally, persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities face recurrent violations of their rights when they come into contact with the criminal justice system,” Ms. Izsák said. “They are at risk of discrimination in all stages of the criminal justice process, from police stops through pre-trial detention to sentencing, and some even experience instances of harassment or violence.”

The Forum on Minority Issues is a unique opportunity for States, minority communities, UN bodies and specialized agencies, academics and other experts, to discuss the various challenges that minorities face globally in the administration of criminal justice.

“I am looking forward to hearing the views and statements of all participants which will help shaping the final recommendations of the Forum,” the Special Rapporteur added.

The Forum’s recommendations on guaranteeing the rights of minorities in the criminal justice system will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2016.

Meeting times will be 10:00 a.m. to 13:00 p.m. and 15:00 to 18:00 p.m. on both days, in Room XX, Palais des Nations, Geneva. Simultaneous translation in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish will be provided for the official meetings. Side events will take place from 13:00 to 15:00 p.m. on both days.

Full details regarding the program are available on the Forum’s website: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Minority/Pages/Session8.aspx

Every year, as requested by the UN Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur on minority issues organises and guides a Forum on minority issues to provide a platform for promoting dialogue and cooperation on issues of national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities. The Forum aims at identifying and analysing best practices, challenges, opportunities and initiatives for the further implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities. Check the Declaration: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/Minorities.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Ms. Federica Morvay at the Forum Secretariat: (+41 22 917 9406 / Minorityforum@ohchr.org)