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The COVID-19 pandemic…is exposing the damaging impact of inequalities, in every society. Several high-risk and vulnerable groups, including minorities require greater attention, and mitigation measures, at this time.

Michele Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, statement at the Human Rights Council briefing on COVID-19, 9 April 2020

About minorities and human rights

All countries in the world include persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, enriching the diversity of their societies. Minorities face multiple forms of discrimination resulting in marginalization and exclusion. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a particularly devastating impact on the situation of minorities. 

To achieve effective participation of minorities and end their exclusion, we must embrace diversity through the promotion and implementation of international human rights standards. 

Read more about minorities and human rights.

OHCHR’s work on minority rights

Minority rights are an integral part of the United Nations’ work for the promotion and protection of human rights, sustainable human development, peace and security. OHCHR has a leading role within the UN system in this respect. 

OHCHR is co-chair of the UN Network on Racial Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. “The Network”, created in 2012, brings together more than 20 UN departments, agencies, programmes and funds, enhancing cooperation and dialogue on minorities across the UN system. OHCHR is leading the Agenda for Protection workstream of the Network Work Plan 2021+.

In addition, we work to further the rights of minorities worldwide through the implementation of strategic activities, and by providing support to the Forum on Minority Issues and to the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues. 

Learn more about how we advance the protection and empowerment of minorities.


UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet introduces the UN Network Checklist
11 March 2021
Watch on YouTube


International Art Contest: Recognizing Minority Artists Working on Statelessness Themes: On the occasion of the International Day Against Racial Discrimination 21 March 2022, OHCHR, the UN Refugee Agency and Freemuse join forces to launch a contest for minority artists exploring statelessness themes through their artwork. Minority artists are invited to submit up to five works of art related to statelessness, as well as to complete by a deadline of 21 June 2022 the information requested here.

Regional Forums on Minority Issues: In 2022, the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues will organize four Regional Forums focused on the 30th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the rights of minorities. Follow this webpage for more updates.  

UN Forum on Minority Issues: Report of the 14th session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues “Conflict prevention and protection of the human rights of minorities” is available in all UN languages following this link.

Minorities Discrimination and Statelessness:  In October 2021, following a months’ long consultation with relevant stakeholders, OHCHR and UNHCR jointly convened in October 2021 a Virtual Roundtable on Equality and Non-discrimination in Nationality Matters to End Statelessness.The outcome document is available at link

The inclusion of religious minorities in consultative and decision-making bodies

Addressing Forced Evictions of Roma and Travellers

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