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.



Human rights treaty bodies

The United Nations treaty-based human rights system includes procedures through which members of minorities can seek protection of their rights. This chapter describes eight major international human rights treaties which deal respectively with civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; racial discrimination; children’s rights; women’s rights; torture; the rights of persons with disabilities; and migrant workers’ rights. The first section outlines the system of State reporting common to all human rights treaties and suggests ways in which minorities and their representatives can raise their concerns before international treaty bodies. The second section describes the complaint mechanisms available under six of the treaties to individuals who believe that their rights have been violated.


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