Promoting and Protecting Minority Rights

A Guide for Advocates

image of Promoting and Protecting Minority Rights
Minorities make significant contributions to the richness and diversity of society, and States that recognize and promote minority rights are more likely to remain tolerant and stable. The United Nations and other intergovernmental organizations recognize that minority rights are essential to protect those who wish to preserve and develop values and practices which they share with other members of their community. This Guide offers information related to norms and mechanisms developed to protect the rights of persons belonging to national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities. It provides detailed information about procedures and forums in which minority issues may be raised within the United Nations system and in regional systems. It is hoped that this Guide will be useful in assisting minority advocates to make full and effective use of existing international mechanisms and, ultimately, to promote and protect the rights guaranteed under international instruments.



The United Nations special procedures

“Special procedures” is a term that covers a wide range of mechanisms of the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues. Special procedures have developed into one of the most effective ways of mobilizing the resources of the United Nations to respond to specific human rights concerns. In practice, special procedures are specific persons or working groups. Their mandates vary, as do their activities. This chapter focuses on the special procedures which are most relevant to minority issues, including the Independent Expert on minority issues; the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; the Independent Expert in the field of cultural rights; and the Working Group of Experts on people of African descent.


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