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MRG’s statement at the Human Rights Council on the UN Forum on Minority Issues

16 March 2016

Human Rights Council – 31st session

Item 5 – General Debate

15 March 2016

Speaker: Mr. Glenn PAYOT

Thank you Mister President,

The Eighth session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues has been an opportunity to reflect on the experience of minorities in criminal justice systems at all stages, from arrest and detention to prosecution and trial.

Minority Rights Group welcomes the success of this session, which saw the participation of an unprecedented number of states, representatives of inter-governmental organizations, UN agencies and civil society actors. The Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, her team and the Chairperson, Mr. Joshua Castellino must be commended for this collective achievement.

The fact that the Forum has been webcasted and archived for the first time was also a welcome strengthening of the visibility of the mechanism.

Mister President,

Minority Rights Group would like to express the desire that – in the future – the Forum will continue to grow, and to be a platform of exchange between minority rights representatives, states and experts from all regions of the world. We see the fact that the Forum is open to NGOs with or without ECOSOC status, as well as to journalists, academics and minority representatives without affiliation, as a key asset, and a condition to the fulfillment of its mandate.

The Forum must also reinforce its normative and expertise function by working more actively towards the dissemination of its recommendations and their mainstreaming throughout the UN system. This would allow for more synergies, follow-up and – eventually – it would lead to more coherent and sustained efforts toward the implementation of this important and detailed body of norms.

I thank you.