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MRG calls on states to increase their support to the UN Forum on Minority Issues

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This statement was delivered by Glenn Payot in the name of MRG at the Human Rights Council’s General Debate, 49th Session, held on Tuesday 22 March 2022.

Thank you Chair,

Minority Rights Group welcomes the convening of the fourteenth session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues last December, on a topic of continued relevance and urgency: the need to protect, respect and fulfil the rights of all minorities to prevent conflicts.

This Forum remains a unique space for minority rights defenders from all continents to gather, exchange ideas and experiences, express their concerns and formulate recommendations, informed by their lived realities.

We welcome the hybrid format that allows both in-person participation, that remain irreplaceable, as well as opportunities for remote participation.

While the detailed modalities can and must be improved, we insist that the principle of an in-person session allowing for a certain degree of remote participation, especially for those who cannot travel to Geneva, must be preserved for future sessions.

We also welcome the convening of a series of regional forums, as an important step to bring the discussion closer to rights-holders and to address in more depth regional realities. We hope that these regional events will be opportunities to enrich the work of the Forum, but also to follow-up on recommendations made at past sessions, and to discuss states’ and UN agencies’ concrete efforts to implement these recommendations.

Lastly, we are concerned at recurring attempts by some states to silence minority rights defenders, to deny them this space, and to engage in intimidation and reprisals against them.

We call on states to increase their support to the Forum, and to support and participate actively in the regional Forums that Special Rapporteur de Varennes is convening.

I thank you.

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