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MRG statement to the 16th session of the UN Human Rights Council (Item 3)

16 March 2011

15th March 2010

Item 3: Promotion and Protection of all Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights including the Right to Development

Statement by Minority Rights Group International

Thank you Mr. President. I speak on behalf of Minority Rights Group International.

We warmly welcome the valuable reports of the Independent Expert on Minority Issues, Ms Gay McDougall and thank her for her excellent work and commitment to minority rights over the last six years. The mandate of the Independent Expert on Minority Issues is vitally important to some of the most marginalized communities around the world and MRG urges the Council to renew and strengthen it.

MRG welcomes the visits of the Independent Expert to Colombia and Viet Nam and the recommendations she makes for the effective implementation of minority rights in those countries. We commend the governments of Colombia and Vietnam for inviting the Independent Expert and urge them to implement the recommendations. We also note that the Independent Expert has requested an invitation to visit a number of other states and we urge the governments of those states to respond positively to the request.

We welcome the recommendations from the Forum on Minority Issues on effective participation in economic life. As the Independent Expert highlights, economic exclusion is a cause, a manifestation and a consequence of discrimination against minorities and the right to effective participation in economic life is right protected by international instruments. MRG is particularly encouraged by the level of interest and engagement in the forum by all actors – States, UN agencies, and NGOs – and we urge that all continue this engagement though ensuring effective implementation of the recommendations.

MRG welcomes the Independent Expert’s engagement with UN specialized agencies to enhance their implementation of Article 9 of the UN Declaration on Minorities , and specifically the work with UNDP on its important Resource Guide and Toolkit discussed in the report. MRG calls on UNDP to continue this collaboration and urges other UN agencies to develop in conjunction with the Independent Expert, a comprehensive policy on minorities to guide their work.

Finally, we thank Ms McDougall again for her excellent work. We reiterate the importance of the mandate of the Independent Expert and urge the Council to renew it during this session.

Thank you Mr. President.