European-Central Asian Regional Forum on Minority Issues to spotlight stronger rights protection for 30th anniversary
GENEVA (29 April 2022) - The European-Central Asian Regional Forum will take place on 2-3 May 2022, with a focus on building stronger protection mechanisms for minorities in the region and marking the 30th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.
UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues Fernand de Varennes and the Government of Austria will convene the Regional Forum which will be held in a hybrid format, in Vienna and online. The forum is open to the media.
“Review-Rethink-Reform is the theme of this year’s Regional Forum. The time has come to reflect on the challenges facing minorities in Europe and Central Asia, the extent their situation has evolved in the last 30 years, and what is needed to build stronger rights protection mechanisms for minorities,” de Varennes said.
The Regional Forum will bring together 180 representatives from 35 countries, UN and regional organisations, academics, civil society groups specializing in minority issues and representatives of minorities from different parts of Europe and Central Asia.
Speakers will include Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Secretary General of the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs of Austria, Kairat Abdrakhmanov, High Commissioner on National Minorities at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Ilze Brands Kehris, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and head of the UN Human Rights Office in New York, Arno Kompatscher, Governor of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano/Bozen - South Tyrol, and Michael O'Flaherty, director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.
The Regional Forum for Europe and Central Asia is the first of four regional fora convened by the UN expert in 2022. Discussions will inform the work and recommendations of the 15th session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues which will take place in Geneva in December 2022.
A livestream of the event will be available here. Simultaneous interpretation will be available in English, French, Russian and Romani. More information about the speakers and the agenda of the European-Central Asian Regional Forum on Minority Issues is available on the webpage.
Pursuant to Human Rights Council Resolution 6/15 of 28 September 2007 renewed by resolution 19/23 of 23 March 2012, a forum on minority issues has been established to provide a platform for promoting dialogue and cooperation on issues pertaining to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, as well as thematic contributions and expertise to the work of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues. The Forum shall identify and analyze best practices, challenges, opportunities and initiatives for the further implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities. The Forum meets annually for two working days allocated to thematic discussions. The Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Mr Fernand de Varennes, is tasked to guide the work of the Forum, prepare its annual meetings and report on the thematic recommendations of the Forum to the Human Rights Council. Mr. Fernand de Varennes was appointed as UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues by the Human Rights Council in June 2017. He is tasked by the UN Human Rights Council, to promote the implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, among other things. He is Extraordinary Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Pretoria in South Africa; Cheng Yu Tung Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong; and Visiting Professor at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland-Galway. He is one of the world's leading experts on minority rights in international law, with more than 200 publications in some 30 languages. The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures' experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. For inquiries and media requests, please contact: Christel Mobech (+41 22 917 9995 / firstname.lastname@example.org) For media enquiries regarding other UN independent experts, please contact Jeremy Laurence (+ 41 22 917 7578 / email@example.com). Follow news related to the UN's independent human rights experts on Twitter: @UN_SPExperts Concerned about the world we live in? Then STAND UP for someone’s rights today. #Standup4humanrights and visit the web page at http://www.standup4humanrights.org