Human Rights Council, 7th Session (Item 3)
Item 3: Promotion and Protection of all Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights including the Right to Development
Joint statement by Minority Rights Group International (MRG), the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), Movement Against Racism and for Friendship among Peoples (MRAP), the Islamic Human Rights Commission and the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism
Thank you Mr. President. I speak on behalf of Minority Rights Group International (MRG), the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), the Movement Against Racism and for Friendship among Peoples (MRAP), the Islamic Human Rights Commission and the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism.
We welcome this opportunity to present our views on the mandate of the Independent Expert on Minority Issues during this Review, Rationalization and Improvement process.
Around 20% of the world’s population belongs to a minority and minority communities face many complex problems in all regions of the world. The UN has consistently recognized that the protection of minorities contributes to peace and social stability minorities often suffer disproportionately in situations of conflict. Therefore minority rights are critical to its effective work. We stress the vital importance of the mandate of the Independent Expert to the work of the Human Rights Council and we welcome the efforts of the Austrian delegation to develop a consensus on the future of the mandate.
Many states have recognized the important role of the Independent Expert through their engagement with the mandate since 2005, in particular through their dialogue with the Independent Expert. A range of states from different regions have invited the Independent Expert to visit their countries. We welcome the constructive way the reports of the Independent Expert have included both positive developments in states and recommendations for further improvement.
The creation of the Forum on Minority Issues by the Council in September 2007 is a welcome development and so is the guiding role the Council has given to the Independent Expert in planning the Forum’s work. The synergies envisaged by the Council between the Forum and the Independent Expert, along with the forthcoming Durban review process will provide a valuable contribution to the promotion of the rights of minorities and the implementation of the Minorities Declaration.
Finally, we reiterate the critical importance of the mandate of the Independent Expert on Minority Issues for promoting the rights of some of the most vulnerable communities worldwide and we urge the Human Rights Council to renew and strengthen the mandate.
Thank you Mr. President.
 Movement Against Racism and for Friendship among Peoples (MRAP) raised the priority issue of discrimination against French Gypsies, travellers and Roma during the visit of the IEMI to France
 Para 130 World Summit Outcome document GA/RES/60/1, GA resolution ‘Effective promotion of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities A/RES/60/160, states “the promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities contributes to political and social stability and peace”