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MRG welcomes new UN-wide guidance on minority protection

26 March 2013

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) welcomes the Guidance Note of the Secretary-General on Racial Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, released by the United Nations this week. The publication is intended to shape the work of UN agencies in supporting minority communities.

In 2012, human rights activists worldwide celebrated the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Minority Rights. The anniversary inspired the UN to ensure that its staff are sensitive to the challenges faced by minority communities.

'It is vital that the text is disseminated as widely as possible and actively used to provide guidance to all UN staff who are working on behalf of minorities,' says Carl Söderbergh, MRG's Director of Policy and Communications.

The publication is the result of a consultation by a network of relevant UN agencies, led by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. MRG is pleased to have been able to contribute to the process.

'The Guidance Note should give added weight to the voices of minority rights activists,' Söderbergh adds. 'They will be able to refer to it in their contacts with UN field staff.'

During the past several years, a number of UN agencies have developed their own guidelines, policies and resources with regard to working on behalf of minority and indigenous communities. Such documents have been developed by for example UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF and the UN Staff College. MRG is actively involved in supporting many of these efforts.

The Guidance Note can be found here.