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MRG reacts to the report of the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues on conflict prevention and minority rights

22 March 2022

This statement was delivered by Glenn Payot in the name of MRG at the Human Rights Council’s Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur On Minority Issues, 49th Session, held on Tuesday 22 March 2022.

Thank you Mister President,

Mister Special Rapporteur,

Minority Rights Group warmly welcomes your report on the need to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of minorities to prevent conflicts.

MRG has been working for decades on the nexus between minority rights and conflicts, and we share your analysis that disregard for the rights of minorities can exacerbate conflict dynamics. Key factors include socio-economic neglect and marginalization, denial of cultural rights, lack of participation in public and political life and hate speech against minorities.

We share your dismay that despite minority issues being at the heart of many conflicts, and despite the compelling reports and recommendations on this topic emanating from your mandate, UN agencies and ourselves, among others, far too little has been done by states and by the UN system to include a minority rights perspective into conflict analyses and conflict prevention strategies.

And yet, one must recall that historically, the protection of minority rights began with the aim of preventing conflicts. These rights were not designed to separate people, but to protect groups who lack power and individuals within those groups such as women and girls. Where minorities enjoy their economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights, the likelihood of a conflict to occur or to deteriorate decreases significantly.

Mister Special Rapporteur,

In your report you regret the failure of states and UN agencies to act upon the recommendations made by your predecessor on this same topic twelve years ago. What can be done, in particular by UN agencies, to make sure that her recommendations and that your recommendations do not fall on deaf ears again?

I thank you.