Africa-Middle East Regional Forum on the 30th Anniversary of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Minorities 1992-2022

The 2022 Africa-Middle East Regional Forum on Minority Issues, "Review, Rethink, Reform: 30th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Minorities 1992-2022" was held on September 6-7 online. The goal of the Regional Forum was to undertake a critical assessment of the problem-solving capacity of the UNDM through a gap analysis focusing on the normative framework, institutions and mechanisms facilitating implementation, and the effectiveness of minority participation in norm-making and norm-adherence. The main objective was to formulate concrete recommendations for the improvement of the regional and global minority protection regimes.

5 States participated, including Morocco, Iran, Togo and the national human rights institutions of Algeria and Malawi. There were 121 participants who contributed to the rich, stimulating and important discussion. In addition, over 200 people have watched the YouTube stream of the discussions.

The regional insights from the Africa-Middle East Regional Forum will feed into the thematic work of the Special Rapporteur for his report to the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in March 2023. Furthermore, the discussions will inform the work and recommendations of the 15th session of the Forum on Minority Issues, which will take place in Geneva in December 2022.

At the opening session of the Regional Forum, participants heard from Abdelkarim Boujradi, Secretary General of the Interministerial Delegation for Human Rights, Kingdom of Morocco; Hon. Rémy Ngoy Lumbu, Chairperson, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights; Nouhoum Sangaré, OHCHR Regional Representative for Central Africa; Abigail Noko, OHCHR Regional Representative for Southern Africa; Anis Anani, Officer in Charge, MENA Section, OHCHR; Benjamin Hounton, Deputy Regional Representative and OIC of OHCHR Regional Office for Western Africa; Marcel Akpovo, OHCHR Regional Representative for East Africa and to the African Union; and Fernand de Varennes, UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues.

Following the opening session, participants and experts engaged in discussions around four key thematic areas:

  1. Normative framework: existing norms and interpretations
  2. Implementation: Institutions, Mechanisms, Policies, and Programmes
  3. Minority participation as a procedural and substantive right and process
  4. Moving Forward: Reforming the Protection and Implementation of the Minority Rights Framework

The discussion raised and addressed a range of issues affecting the minority communities of Africa and the Middle East, culminating in the development of 46 recommendations targeted at States, International Organisations and civil society to strengthen the minority rights framework at the international and regional levels. Once again, in order to maximise accessibility, the Regional Forums had promotional material in various minority languages, as well as interpretation in English, Arabic, Amazigh, French, and Sign Language.

Below you will find all of the documentation from the 2022 Africa-Middle East Regional Forum.