UN expert warns that the international community and UN must focus on minorities to address global crises and conflicts

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Fernand de Varennes, is completing his last weeks in the mandate before his successor, Nicolas Levrat, takes over. 

De Varennes issued a dire warning at the General Assembly stating that the United Nations and the international community have failed to prevent conflict and ensure the protection of the human rights of marginalised minorities around the world. This failure, according to De Varennes, has led to growing global instability, humanitarian crises and conflict. 

“We now have more violent conflicts than at any time since the end of the Second World War,” Mr. Varennes said. “Most of these are internal conflicts, and involve ethnic, religious or linguistic grievances from minorities or indigenous peoples. This has also been the main driving force behind the largest number of displaced people in human history, a staggering 110 million individuals displaced worldwide,” he said.

De Varennes points out that in the last years, there have been significant increases in hate speech, hate crime, antisemitism, islamophobia, xenophobia, racism and even rising calls for genocide. He states that it is minorities who have been bearing the brunt of this increasing worldwide intolerance.   

“The world is a darker, more dangerous and unstable place than it has ever been for almost a century,” Mr. Varennes claims. 

The Special Rapporteur called on the UN to end the “inaction and negligence” in relation to the protection of minority rights. 

“It is urgent to leave no one behind where it is most needed, and for the United Nations to put into practice the noble principle that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. In the long run, there can be no peace and stability without justice,” Mr. Varennes said.  

The entire press release can be accessed at the OHCHR website