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Appointment of Special Rapporteur reflects important place of minority rights in UN system, MRG

2 April 2014

On 27 March, the Human Rights Council adopted by consensus a resolution proposed by Austria, renewing the mandate of the United Nations Independent Expert on Minority Issues, and converting it into a Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues.

‘MRG welcomes this change of name, which amounts to a symbolic upgrade, and affirms the important place given to the rights of persons belonging to minorities in the UN system,’ says Carl Söderbergh, MRG’s Director of Policy and Communications.

The resolution also highlights, for the first time, the importance of multiple, aggravated and intersecting forms of discrimination affecting persons belonging to minorities. MRG says that this new language acknowledges the often-overlooked and complex realities facing individuals within marginalised groups.

The resolution enjoyed broad international support, with 59 co-sponsors from all regions, giving strength and legitimacy to the mandate and to its current holder, Ms Rita Izsak, who will have three more years to complete her mission.

This positive move for the promotion and protection of minority rights worldwide came at the end of four weeks of debate at the Human Rights Council. Many of the situations of concern which occupied the Council during this session shed light on the ongoing vulnerability of religious, ethnic and linguistic minorities throughout the world, including in Sri Lanka, Iran, Burma, the Central African Republic, Israel, as well as in Crimea, to mention only a few.

‘MRG looks forward to engaging with the Special Rapporteur and to make, together with our partners, a useful contribution to her work and to the efforts of the United Nations, to better the fate of minorities around the world who continue to face violence and discrimination,’ adds Söderbergh.

Notes to editors

  • For more information contact MRG’s Press Office
  • Minority Rights Group International is the leading international human rights organization working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples. We work with more than 150 partners in over 50 countries.