Conflict prevention through protection of human rights of minorities
GENEVA (1 December 2021) – The UN Forum on Minority Issues – the main annual event of the UN System focused on minorities – will discuss on 2 and 3 December one of the world’s greatest challenges – tackling more effectively the growing number of violent conflicts.
The Forum, involving over 650 delegates, will be guided by the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Fernand de Varennes, and chaired by Victoria Donda, president of the National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism, one of the Argentine Government's main human rights institutions.
"Since 2010 the number of major violent conflicts has tripled globally, and most of them involve minorities and grievances over discrimination and exclusion, and threats to their identity,” said de Varennes. “Wide-reaching and action-oriented discussions with the participation of minorities are needed to tackle this dramatic tendency.”
Among participants joining the Forum will be officials from governments, the UN, intergovernmental, national and regional organisations, civil society and minority representatives from different parts of the world.
This year's agenda will focus on the root causes of contemporary conflicts involving minorities; legal and institutional frameworks; early prevention of conflicts; and initiatives to better protect the rights of minorities to prevent conflicts.
Speakers will include the President of the Human Rights Council, Nazhat Shameem Khan; the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and head of the UN Human Rights Officer in New York, Ilze Brands Kehris; Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Alice Nderitu; Permanent Observer of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Ambassador Nassima Baghli; and Organization for Security and Cooperation High Commissioner on National Minorities Kairat Abdrakhmanov.
Discussions at the Forum, along the outcomes from four regional forums held during the year, will help the Special Rapporteur frame recommendations to be presented to the Council in March 2022.
The hybrid-style Forum is being held in Geneva and will be livestreamed at media.un.org. Interpretation in all official UN languages and International Sign Language will be provided as well as captions in English, Spanish and French.
The UN Forum is open to media, and interviews can be arranged with forum participants.
Background: Pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 6/15 of 28 September 2007 renewed by resolution 19/23 of 23 March 2012, a forum on minority issues has been established to provide a platform for promoting dialogue and cooperation on issues pertaining to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, as well as thematic contributions and expertise to the work of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues. The Forum shall identify and analyse 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.
The Forum meets annually for two working days allocated to thematic discussions. The Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Mr Fernand de Varennes, is tasked to guide the work of the Forum, prepare its annual meetings and report on the thematic recommendations of the Forum to the Human Rights Council.
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 and Working Groups 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.
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