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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.

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The European Union

The Treaty on European Union states explicitly that the rights of persons belonging to minorities are among the values upon which the Union is founded and which it is explicitly committed to promote inside the Union and in its relations with the wider world. This chapter identifies specific European Union (EU) initiatives regarding the rights of persons belonging to minorities and explains how minority issues may be addressed in EU activities which promote human rights in general. The European Union has put in place a legal framework to fight discrimination, racism and xenophobia and contributes financially to programmes which support activities aimed at combating these on the ground. The European Union raises minority issues in its political dialogues with third countries and cooperates actively at United Nations forums to promote and protect the rights of persons belonging to minorities. In addition, the European Union uses a wide range of financial and technical cooperation instruments, including bilateral cooperation with Governments and direct support to civil society, to promote and protect the rights of persons belonging to minorities.

English

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