MINELRES: UN OHCHR Update on Minority Issues November-December 2007

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Wed Dec 19 18:33:09 2007


Original sender: Ilona Alexander <IAlexander@ohchr.org>


Dear colleagues and representatives of minority NGOs, 

Attached, pls find the UN OHCHR update on minority issues covering the
months of November and the first half of December - to coincide with the
launch of the Human Rights Day campaign. The next update will be issued
towards the end of January. 

Kind regards, 

Ilona Klimova-Alexander
Associate Human Rights Officer
Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Unit
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Avenue Giuseppe-Motta 48, Office 2-31
Geneva - Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 928 9845; Fax +41 22 928 90 66
E-mail: ialexander@ohchr.org 

----------------------------

Minority Update 
N9 - November/December 2007

OHCHR-RRDB Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Unit 

Minorities team members' emails: 
ialexander@ohchr.org
dhadri@ohchr.org
rmazzawi@ohchr.org

Table of contents
 Staff at OHCHR 
 Pilot Arabic speaking Minority Fellowship programme 2007 
 Training on minority issues for public officials
 Independent Expert on minority issues and Special Rapporteur against
Racism
 Consultation on issues related to minorities and the denial or
deprivation of citizenship
 Forum on Minority Issues
 Human Rights Day - 10 December: the start of a special campaign 
 Universal Periodic Review
 Indigenous Peoples and the Human Rights Council meeting
 OHCHR at the Romani Women's Rights Conference
 January 2008 Minorities meeting on integration with diversity in
policing 
 PrepComs in 2008 for Durban Review 2009 
 Treaty Bodies and country reviews


Staff at OHCHR 

Mr. Erik Friberg who was previously assisting special procedures
mandates including that of the Independent Expert on minority issues is
newly assigned as a focal point for Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of
the Research and Right to Development Branch.
His email remains: efriberg@ohchr.org

Ms. Gallianne Palayret (Junior Professional Officer) is now based in
Yaounde - Cameroun at the UN Center for Human Rights and Democracy and
acts as a focal point on indigenous and minority issues in Central
Africa. 
Her E-mail is: gallianne.palayret@undp.org.


Pilot Arabic speaking Minority Fellowship Programme 2007

The following fellows were chosen to participate in the first OHCHR
Pilot Arabic speaking Minority Fellowship Programme:
Mr. AL-DAGHESTANI Sarmad: The Chechen Minority in Jordan and Iraq,
Chechen and Ingush Association, Iraq
Ms. AL-MUGAMES Lina: The Sabian - Mandaean Minority, Women Future
Development Organisation, Iraq
Mr. FAKHER ELDEEN Salman: Syrian-Arab Minority, Al-Marsad: The Arab
Center For Human Rights in the Golan-Heights
Ms. HAJI BASRI Wasan: The Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian Minority, Iraqi
Minority Council, Iraq

The fellowship is taking place in the OHCHR office in Geneva from 3-14
December 2007.

Contact person: Reem Mazzawi rmazzawi@ohchr.org.


Training on minority issues for public officials

On 26 November Ms. Ilona Alexander participated in a Seminar on
Concerted Efforts at the European Level to Protect Ethnic, Linguistic
and National Minorities organized by the Council of Europe's European
Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) in Trieste,
Italy (26-29 November 2007). The audience was made up of 17 public
officials from various ministries (Interior, Justice, Foreign Affairs,
Labour) as well as from Parliament's Secretariat and from the judiciary
from East European countries (from the Balkans and the Caucasus but also
from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus), who are all dealing with issues
related to the protection of minorities in their professional
activities. 

Ms. Ilona Alexander delivered a lecture on the United Nations Standards
and Mechanisms for the Protection of Minority Rights and facilitated a
workshop debate on the need for a Forum on Minority Issues and its
modalities. 


Independent Expert on minority issues and Special Rapporteur on Racism

The UN Independent Expert on minority issues, Ms Gay McDougall, and the
Special Rapporteur on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and
related intolerance, Mr Doudou Diene, concluded a week long visit to the
Dominican Republic (23 - 29 October), during which they consulted with
many senior government representatives, members of civil society and
community members, academics and students, political parties, media and
others. 
The UN delegation visited Santo Domingo, Dajabon and the border region
with Haiti, Santiago and San Pedro de Macoris. They noted in their
preliminary views that, while there is no official government policy of
discrimination, there is nevertheless a profound and entrenched problem
of racism and discrimination against such groups as Haitians, Dominicans
of Haitian descent, and more generally against blacks within Dominican
society. While there is no legislation that is explicitly
discriminatory, some laws including those in regard to migration, civil
status and the granting of Dominican citizenship to persons of Haitian
heritage born in the Dominican Republic have discriminatory impact. 

The UN delegation urged recognition of the reality of racism and
discrimination and the expression of a strong political will at the
highest level as well as the establishment of a programme of action to
combat all forms of racism and discrimination in consultation with, and
inclusive of, all groups within Dominican society.

Contact person for more information: Graham Fox gfox@ohchr.org.


Consultation on issues related to minorities and the denial or
deprivation of citizenship

On 6 and 7 December 2007, the Independent Expert on minority issues held
an expert consultation, with the support of the Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights, on issues related to minorities and the
denial or deprivation of citizenship. 

The expert consultation brought together minority representatives,
academics and other experts in the field of minorities and citizenship
from different regions in the world, representing inter-governmental and
non-governmental bodies as well as United Nations offices, including the
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the
United Nations Development Programme. 

The objectives of the consultation included: helping to reveal the
extent of the issues related to minorities; providing an opportunity for
an important analysis and contribution in regard to the way that States
address minority issues and citizenship, and the denial or deprivation
of citizenship; and developing practical recommendations for States and
international bodies and agencies.

The consultation revealed that significant examples from all regions
demonstrate that the denial or deprivation of citizenship to certain
groups has been used as a means to exclude minorities from entitlements
or reasonable participation, with consequences experienced over
generations.

Contact person for more information: Graham Fox gfox@ohchr.org. 


Forum on Minority Issues

Replacing the former Working Group on Minorities, the Forum on Minority
issues was established on 28 September 2007 at the 6th session of the
Human Rights Council (HRC) as a platform for promoting dialogue and
cooperation on minority issues and for contributing to the work of the
Independent Expert on minority issues.

Its tasks will be:
* To identify issues and best practices
* To make recommendations on the implementation of the Minorities
Declaration
* To provide the Independent Expert on minority issues with information

The Forum will be open to the participation of:
* States
* UN mechanisms, bodies and agencies
* National human rights institutions
* Academics
* NGOs

The Forum will meet for 2 days every year. The Forum Chair will be
appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council in consultation
with regional groups and in accordance with regional rotation.

The Independent Expert on minority issues will guide the work of the
Forum by recommending focus topics. She will also transmit the Forum's
thematic recommendations to the HRC.


Human Rights Day - 10 December: the start of a special campaign 

On Human Rights Day the United Nations Secretary-General launched a
special campaign entitled Dignity and Justice for All of Us.

Every 10 December the world remembers the extraordinary accomplishment
on that day in 1948 when nations came together in Paris to sign the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The campaign is designed to help
people everywhere to learn more about their human rights throughout 2008
and to better understand the relevance of the Universal Declaration in
their lives today. 

The Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued
special messages inviting people everywhere to create their own public
information campaigns. 

A campaign logo, fact sheets, posters and more have been developed to
give communities and organisations the inspiration and tools to get
their campaigns started. 

For the text of the speeches as well as more information on the campaign
and this year's celebrations see:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Pages/60UDHRIntroduction.aspx.

UN experts (Special Procedures mandate holders) have marked the Human
Rights Day with call for States to intensify efforts to combat
discrimination and exclusion. See their statement at: 
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/chr/special/index.htm (Latest Press
Releases, bottom right hand corner).


Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

General Assembly Resolution 60/251, decided that the Human Rights
Council shall "undertake a universal periodic review, based on objective
and reliable information, of the fulfillment by each State of its human
rights obligations and commitments...". NGOs, wishing to submit
information for consideration and possible inclusion by OHCHR in a
summary of stakeholders' information for this UPR review, are invited to
send their contributions. 

The deadline for submissions by NGOs for the first UPR session passed in
November 2007. The deadline for submissions by NGOs for the second UPR
session (scheduled from 5 to 16 May 2008) is 14 January 2008, concerning
these countries: Benin, France, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Japan, Mali,
Pakistan, Peru, Republic of Korea, Romania, Sri Lanka, Switzerland,
Tonga, Ukraine and Zambia. 

Submissions should be sent to the following email address:
UPRsubmissions@ohchr.org. 

NGOs are being strongly encouraged to limit their submission to a 5-page
document, to which a more detailed and factual report may be attached
for reference. This information will be available on line for others to
access. 

For more information see
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/upr/index.htm. 
Contact person: Erik Friberg efriberg@ohchr.org.


Indigenous Peoples and the HRC - meeting on 6-7 Dec 2007 

With respect to indigenous issues, the Human Rights Council adopted
resolution 6/16 on 28 September 2007 requesting OHCHR to convene an
informal meeting to discuss the most appropriate mechanisms to continue
the work of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations.  The informal
meeting was held on 6 December and the morning of 7 December 2007 in
Room XVII at the Palais des Nations.  
 
An approximate number of 100 persons, including representatives of
States, indigenous peoples, indigenous organizations, NGOs, national
human rights institutions' representatives and other stakeholders
exchanged ideas on the possible mandate, composition, terms of the
members, participation and placement in the United Nations system of a
future mechanism.  A draft resolution will be submitted to the Human
Rights Council at its resumed sixth session.  (10-14 December 2007). 

For further information please visit:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/indigenous/groups/groups-01.htm.
Contact person: Mireya Pena mpena@ohchr.org.


OHCHR presence at the Romani Women's Rights Conference

Ilona Alexander acted as a moderator of a panel on Respecting
Reproductive Rights and Romani Women's Perspective at a conference on
Romani Women's Rights organized by the Council of Europe, the
Fundamental Rights Agency and the Swedish government in Stockholm from
3-4 December. The report and recommendations of this conference will be
available in January.


Expert meeting on Integration with diversity in policing: Vienna 15-16
January 2008 

OHCHR in cooperation with the International Labour Office (ILO) and the
UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as well as the Independent Expert
on minority issues are scheduled to hold an expert meeting on
integration with diversity in policing in Vienna, Austria from 15 to 16
January 2008. 

Professionals in the police service from different regions and countries
of the world have been invited to participate, including from: Cameroon,
Canada, Hungary, India, Ireland, South Africa, Nigeria, Pakistan,
Brazil, Samoa and Australia. 

The main background paper of the meeting (Integration with Diversity in
Security, Policing and Criminal Justice, E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.5/2006/WP.1 by
Tom Hadden) is to be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/minorities/docs/12/2006-wp1.doc.

For further information please contact: Ilona Alexander
ialexander@ohchr.org


Second session of the Preparatory Committee (Prep-Com) for Durban Review
Conference: 21 April-2 May 2008

PrepCom dates in 2008

The Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the Durban Review Conference
decided on  21 April to 2 May 2008;  and 6 to 17 October 2008 as the
dates for the first and second substantive PrepCom sessions
(provisionally) to be held in Geneva. 

NGO  
The first PrepCom decided on NGO participation in the preparatory
process of the Durban Review Conference. These will be:

1. NGOs with ECOSOC status
2. NGOs that were accredited for the WCAR (Pending individual objections
from Member States, the final decision shall be taken by the Preparatory
Committee, the standard process established in Council resolution
1996/31 will be applied).
3. NGOs new to the process that have been approved after sending to the
Secretariat application forms which are available at
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/groups/prep_committee_durban/docs/NG
Oquestionaire2.doc.

For a full text of the decision regarding the participation of NGOs and
all other decisions, see the report of the first PrepCom at
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/groups/prep_committee_durban/docs/pr
epcomdraft.doc.


Treaty Bodies and country reviews

15 October - 2 November 2007 - CCPR
The 91st session of the Human Rights Committee met from 15 October to 2
November 2007 in Geneva. The following State reports were examined:
Georgia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Austria, Costa Rica and Algeria.
Minority issues have been raised in the concluding observations
regarding all countries except Libya. 

Further information may be obtained from:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/hrcs91.htm.

5 - 23 November 2007 - CESCR  
The Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights held its 39th
session from 5 to 23 November 2007. The following State reports were
considered: Costa Rica, Ukraine, San Marino, Belgium and Paraguay.
Minority issues have been raised in the concluding observations
regarding Costa Rica, Ukraine and Belgium.

Further information may be obtained from:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/cescrs39.htm.

26 to 30 November - Pre-Sessional WG of CESCR 
The Pre-Sessional Working Group of the Committee on Economic Social and
Cultural Rights was held from 26 to 30 November 2007. The following
State reports were considered: Sweden, The Philippines, Kenya, Bolivia
and Nicaragua.  

For further details see:  
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/cescrwg39.htm.

5 to 23 November 2007 - CAT
The Committee Against Torture held its 39th session from 5 to 23
November 2007. The Committee considered the State reports of:  Benin,
Latvia, Uzbekistan, Norway, Estonia and Portugal. Consideration of the
state report of Australia was postponed. Minority issues have been
raised in the concluding observations regarding Latvia and Portugal.

Further information may be obtained from:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/cats39.htm.

26 - 30 November 2007 - CMW
The Committee on Migrant Workers held its 7th session from 26 to 30
November 2007 and considered the report of Ecuador.

Further information is to be found at: 
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cmw/cmws07.htm.

January to February 2008 - CRC 
The Committee on the Rights of the Child will hold its 47th session
January to February 2008. The following State reports are planned to be
considered: Dominican Republic, Georgia, and Timor-Leste. Under the
Optional Protocol to CRC on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and
Child Pornography, the following State reports are expected to be
considered: Chile, Kuwait and Timor-Leste.  Under the Optional Protocol
to the CRC on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict the
following State reports are expected to be considered: Chile, Germany,
Ireland, Kuwait and Timor-Leste.  

For further information please visit: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/
(Click on Human Rights Bodies - CRC).

14 January to 1 February 2008 - CEDAW
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
is scheduled to hold its 40th session from 14 January to 1 February
2008.  The following is a list of States parties reports provisionally
scheduled to be examined during the next session: Saudi Arabia, Bolivia,
Burundi, France, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Morocco and Sweden. 

More information at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/crcs47.htm.

18 February to 7 March 2008- CERD
The next session of the Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination (CERD) is scheduled to take place from 18 February to 7
March 2008 in Geneva.  The Committee will consider the following reports
during the session: Republic of Moldova, Italy, Republic of Fiji
Islands, Belgium, Dominican Republic, United States of America (to be
confirmed) and Nicaragua. Under the Committee's review procedure,
whereby it considers country situations in the absence of a State party
report, the following are tentatively listed for review: Gambia, Monaco,
Bulgaria, United Arab Emirates and Panama. 

For more information please refer to: 
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/cerds72.htm.

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