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call for input | Special Procedures

Call for input to the report of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues to the UN General Assembly on institutional arrangements of States that enable minority rights to flourish

Issued by

Special Procedures

Deadline

10 May 2024

Purpose: To inform the report of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, which is to be presented to the General Assembly in October 2024, at its 79th session
Background

Article 2 paragraph 2 of the 1992 Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities states: “Persons belonging to minorities have the right to participate effectively in cultural, religious, social, economic and public life.” Paragraph 3 of the same article adds: “Persons belonging to minorities have the right to participate effectively in decisions on the national and, where appropriate, regional level concerning the minority to which they belong or the regions in which they live, in a manner not incompatible with national legislation.”

In order to assess how these two requirements from the 1992 Declaration are being implemented – which is the first task given to the Special Rapporteur by Resolution 52/5 of the Human Rights Council – the Special Rapporteur on minority issues will devote his report to the 79th session of the General Assembly to examine how States’ institutions and/or political traditions allow for the effective participation of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, in the promotion and guarantee of the highest possible fulfillment of their rights.

Introduction

As the International Court of Justice stated in a 1975 Advisory Opinion, “[n]o rule of international law, in the view of the Court, requires the structure of a State to follow any particular pattern, as is evident from the diversity of the forms of State found in the world today.” That being acknowledged, the institutional arrangement of a State is nonetheless a determining factor of societal cohesiveness, respect for human rights, and ultimately, a predictor of a state’s stability and risk of falling into conflict. The Special Rapporteur is also aware that the design and apparatus of every state are influenced and determined by the historical context and the legal culture that has been established over time. Based on these elements, institutional strategies have been developed and choices have been made concerning the instruments and mechanisms that a State puts into place.

To make the most of this diversity and in line with articles 6 and 7 of the 1992 Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, the Special Rapporteur sees an added value to proceed to a comparative examination of State apparatus, national institutions, national legal frameworks, and national human rights mechanisms that provide for conditions to promote, respect, and fulfill the rights of persons belonging to minority groups.

Objectives

This call for written submissions aims to inform the preparation of the 2024 report of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, which will highlight institutional arrangements of States relevant for tackling minority issues.

Key questions and types of input/comments sought

Sharing experiences and showing achievements, as well as identifying shortcomings, is essential for improving the fate of persons belonging to minorities within national contexts. It may also prove very relevant in peace-building situations, where the design and building of institutional settings that provide for diverse, inclusive, cohesive, resilient and stable societies must be a priority.

In order to obtain a broad representation of views to inform the thematic report, the Special Rapporteur is seeking written contributions from all relevant actors through responses to a list of questions. The list could be answered entirely or partially according to the expertise and experience of those actors willing to contribute to the Report. Please find the list of questions here and please refer to the question accordingly in your response:

  1. Do you consider the interests of persons belonging to minority groups appropriately taken into account in your country? If yes, how? If no, why?
  2. Are there institutional arrangements that guarantee (or facilitate) effective political representation of persons belonging to minorities? For example, a Second Chamber in Parliament, the federal structure of the State, specific “minority institution” (such as a Council of Minorities or a dedicated Ombudsperson, or electoral mechanisms (quotas, separate lists for minorities).
  3. Are there minority issues insulated from (or not subject to) State authorities’ decisions (including the Parliament)? (For example, constitutional guarantee; political/traditional agreement; competence on minority issues at a regional level, where the persons belonging to a minority represent the majority of the population).
  4. Are there institutional arrangements and/or political practices that de facto exclude persons belonging to minorities from effective participation in decisions at the national – and, where appropriate, regional level – concerning the minority to which they belong?
  5. Are there legal, administrative or other barriers that prevent persons belonging to minorities to participate effectively in cultural, religious, social, economic or public life?
  6. What are the benefits and/or challenges of recognizing and granting sectoral (for example, concerning sectors like education) or territorial autonomy to minorities?
How inputs will be used?

All submissions will be posted on the official webpage of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues. Civil society organizations or individuals can request their submissions to remain confidential by explicitly requesting this in their submissions.

Next Steps

Responses should be submitted by 10 May 2024.

Email address:
[email protected]

Email subject line:
Input for “Call for input - 2024 GA Report on minority issues”

Word/Page limit:
Please limit your total response to a maximum of 3’000 words

Accepted file formats:
Word, PDF

Accepted Languages:
English