Minority Rights Group paper on improving UN practices for minority rights protection

Image: Minority Rights Group

The paper titled ‘Conflict, Structural Discrimination & Minorities’ was written by the Executive Director of MRG for the 30th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities. It refers extensively to the Secretary-General’s report, ‘Our Common Agenda’, from the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, which calls for systematic change in minority-related practices.

The overall approach of the paper is to encourage the recognition of and a response to the shortcomings in the efficacy of UN agencies in minority protection to date. It “seeks to animate dialogue within the UN […] to combat racial discrimination and protect minorities”, specifically in the context of UN responses to humanitarian crises and conflict.

It provides an overview of why minorities should receive special attention in such scenarios, followed by 4 ‘gaps’ that hinder effective responses at present. It also draws attention to ‘sites of coordination’ where action is most urgently needed, such as the collection of more data on minorities and a more thorough understanding of the different historical contexts in which structural discrimination has developed. Finally, the briefing proposes a number of specific actions for more effective UN responses to violations of minority rights.

The full briefing can be found on the Minority Rights Group website.


Author: Laura Vizi