European Regional Forum on Conflict prevention and the protection of the human rights of minorities
This event is organised by the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues and the Tom Lantos Institute in partnership with MRG.
The main purpose of the European Regional Forum on “Conflict prevention and the protection of the human rights of minorities” is to provide regional insights, which will feed into the thematic work of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues for his report to the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council in March 2022. Furthermore, discussions will inform the work and recommendations of the 14th session of the Forum on Minority Issues, which will take place in Geneva in December 2021.
Specific objectives include:
- Develop mutual understanding about the role of the protection of the human rights of minorities in preventing conflicts.
- Discuss legal, institutional and policy challenges to the recognition and implementation of the human rights of minorities to address long-standing grievances that may lead to tensions and possible conflicts.
- Identify why the root-causes of most conflicts, the denial of the human rights of minorities and their aspirations, are seldom acknowledged or addressed.
- Strengthen partnerships among various stakeholders and build capacity to address the root-causes of contemporary conflicts and more effectively prevent conflicts.
There is a broad global consensus that addressing inequalities and making institutions more inclusive are central to addressing the root causes of conflicts. Most conflicts are characterized by the insufficient inclusion of minorities. Given that this is often coupled with disregard for their identities and grievances, as well as with a denial of their human rights, the main challenge now is to better understand what this means in practice.
Since 2010, the number of major violent conflicts has tripled globally, and much of the increase is in the rise of intrastate conflicts, usually involving minorities. “There are now more violent conflicts globally than at any time in the past 30 years, and the world is also facing the largest forced displacement crisis ever recorded”.
Peace, stability and justice – in other words preventing violent conflicts – require addressing the core grievances of minorities associated with their exclusion, discriminatory practices in matters of participation in public life and other areas, accommodating their cultures, religions or beliefs, and languages, as well as other breaches of their human rights of significance to protect their existence and identities. The exclusion of and discrimination against minorities rather than ensuring their inclusion and protection in society through the implementation of their human rights, are the main root-causes of most contemporary conflicts.
Preventing conflicts requires addressing these failures in implementation. Guaranteeing the protection of the human rights of minorities, and ensuring their implementation before grievances have the chance to fester increases the chances that a conflict might not occur. These are the pathways to respect the dignity and equality of all persons to achieve justice, peace and stability as foreseen in the Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and emergence of the international human rights system after the Second World War. The pathways for peace and conflict prevention are therefore to be found in the proper understanding and implementation of the human rights of minorities.
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