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Empowering marginalized communities: A call for intersectional advocacy and support for minority rights defenders

22 March 2024

At the 55th Session of the UN Human Rights Council on 21 March 2024, Glenn Payot, representing Minority Rights Group, highlighted the challenges faced by minority communities amidst rising majoritarianism globally. Emphasizing grassroots involvement and an intersectional approach, he advocated for the protection of minority voices and the support of minority rights defenders. MRG stands ready to collaborate with the Special Rapporteur in advancing minority rights on the international stage.

Merci Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Rapporteur Spécial,

At the outset, Minority Rights Group warmly congratulates you for your appointment as Special Rapporteur, at a time of particular distress and heightened danger for minorities across the world. The context is marked by the rise of majoritarianism in political discourse and policies in many parts of the world. It is also marked by economic, environmental and security instabilities, in which minorities pay a particularly heavy price.

More than ever, communities that are far from sites of power, often scapegoated in times of tension and insecurity, often the poorest and most marginalized within societies, need a Special Rapporteur who will be their defender, who will make sure that they are – indeed – not left behind or further marginalized, in UN and states’ efforts to address the serious challenges of our time.

We share your view that minority issues are best addressed through a bottom-up approach, starting from lived realities on the ground and looking at local contexts. Minorities themselves are the best experts of their situations, and the principle ‘nothing about minorities without minorities’ is of paramount importance.

We encourage you to adopt an intersectional lens in your work, making sure that different layers of oppression and marginalization are duly taken into consideration and addressed. We also call on you to pay particular attention to the situation of minority rights defenders, who face an increasingly limited civic space in many countries and often lack resources. In that respect, we fully support your call for the establishment of a Special Fund, to enable more participation of minority rights defenders in UN activities.

Mister Special Rapporteur,

MRG stands ready to support your mandate and looks forward to working with you.

I thank you.


Glenn Payot

UN Advocacy Consultant

Minority Rights Group