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USA: UN expert to visit to assess rights of minorities

GENEVA (5 November 2021) – The UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Fernand de Varennes, will visit the United States of America from 8 to 22 November 2021.

The expert will look at legislation, programmes, policies and practices that affect people belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, including effective political participation, education, access to justice and administration of criminal justice.

De Varennes will also address measures to address hate crimes and hate speech, particularly in social media, targeting minorities.

“I look forward to gaining first-hand insight and better understanding about issues related to minorities in the United States, including through meetings with members of minorities, to hear their views and understand their issues and concerns,” he said.

“I will aim to identify good practices as well as areas for improvement in the United States’ efforts to ensure full implementation of its international human rights commitments relevant to minorities.”

During his 15-day mission, the Special Rapporteur will travel to Washington D.C., Guam, California, Texas and Puerto Rico. He will meet government officials at the federal, state and territorial levels, representatives of civil society and members of minorities, including of the deaf community.

At the end of his visit, on Monday, 22 November, de Varennes will share his preliminary findings and recommendations at a news conference at the United Nations Information Center,1775 K Street NW, Suite 500, Washington D.C., at 12.00 pm local time. Access will be strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report of his visit to a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council.


Mr. Fernand de Varennes was appointed as UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues by the Human Rights Council in June 2017. He is tasked by the UN Human Rights Council, to promote the implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, among other things.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
Read the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.

For inquiries and media requests, please contact: Ms. Christel Mobech (+1 347 603 5225 / mobech@un.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact: Mr. Jeremy Laurence (+41 22 917 9383 / jeremy.laurence@un.org)

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

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