MINELRES: UN OHCHR Update on Minority Issues, January 2008

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Mon Feb 11 19:59:50 2008


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


Dear colleagues and representatives of minority NGOs, 

Attached, pls find the UN OHCHR January 2008 update on minority issues . 

Kind regards, 

Ilona 

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 N°10 - January 2008

OHCHR Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Unit 
Minorities team members' emails: 
ialexander@ohchr.org
indigenous-interns@ohchr.org     


Table of contents
· Staff at OHCHR 
· English speaking Minority Fellowship programme 2008 
· Expert meeting on integration with diversity in policing
· Independent Expert on Minority Issues 
· Forum on Minority Issues
· Indigenous Peoples and the HRC - Creation of a new expert mechanism on
the rights of indigenous peoples  
· 21st session of the UN Voluntary Fund on Indigenous Populations
· Universal Periodic Review 
· 7th session of the Working Group of Experts on People of African
Descent
· 6th session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the effective
implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action
· PrepComs in 2008 for Durban Review 2009 
· Treaty Bodies and country reviews


Staff at OHCHR 

Mr. Manpreet Singh has joined the Minorities team as an intern. He is a
Sikh activist from India and is preparing his Masters in Political
Science at the ICFAI University in New Delhi. 
His E-mail is: indigenous-interns@ohchr.org


English speaking Minority Fellowship Programme 2008

The fellowship will take place in the OHCHR office in Geneva from 1
April-30 June 2008.

The selection of fellows is currently being finalized and the successful
candidates will be announced early February on our website
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/minorities/fellowprog.htm.
 
Contact person: Ilona Alexander ialexander@ohchr.org


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 held an expert meeting on integration with diversity
in policing in Vienna, Austria from 15 to 16 January 2008, kindly hosted
by the Austrian Government. 
Participants included professionals in the police service from different
regions and countries of the world including Brazil, Canada, Cameroun,
Hungary, India, Ireland, Nigeria, Pakistan, Samoa and South Africa as
well as representatives of relevant inter-governmental and
non-governmental organizations and Permanent Missions to the United
Nations.

The objective of the meeting was to consider a draft guidance note on
the practical application of human rights principles and provisions
related to integration with diversity and to share good experiences and
proposals for further action (the text of the first draft of the
guidance note is available at
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/minorities/docs/12/2006-wp1.doc.
The meeting decided to work towards the finalization of the guidance
note. A report of the meeting will be available in February 2008.
For further information please contact: Ilona Alexander
ialexander@ohchr.org


Independent Expert on Minority Issues 

The Independent Expert on Minority Issues, Gay McDougall, participated
in a Regional Workshop on Minority Issues in Southeast Asia in Bangkok
from 21 to 23 January organized by the Asian Forum for Human Rights and
Development (FORUM-ASIA) in cooperation with the International Movement
Against Racial Discrimination (IMADR), Minority Rights Group
International (MRG), as well as the Office of the Regional
Representative of OHCHR and the UN Development Programme. Over 30
participants representing numerous minority and indigenous groups in the
region participated in the workshop where they shared their experiences
and concerns in regard to such issues as cultural, language and
religious rights, economic and political participation, the situation of
minority women, poverty, health and education. In addition, participants
learned about United Nations standards and protection mechanisms for
minorities and how to engage with the UN human rights system.

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 1992 United
Nations Minorities Declaration
* To provide the Independent Expert on Minority Issues with information
* To contribute to the High Commissioner's efforts of improving the
co-operation among United Nations mechanisms, bodies and specialized
agencies, Funds and Programmes on activities related to the promotion
and protection of the rights of minorities

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

It is suggested that the first meeting of the Forum should take place in
September 2008. Details will follow in due course.


Indigenous Peoples and the HRC - Creation of a new expert mechanism on
the rights of indigenous peoples  

With respect to indigenous issues, the Human Rights Council adopted
resolution 6/36 on 14 December 2007 in which it decided to establish a
subsidiary expert mechanism to provide the Council with thematic
expertise on the rights of indigenous peoples. The thematic expertise
will focus mainly on studies and research-based advice and the mechanism
may suggest proposals to the Council for its consideration and approval,
within the scope of its work as set out by the Council.  The expert
mechanism will comprise of five independent experts, who serve for a
three-year period and may be re-elected for one additional period.  In
Res. 6/36 the HRC strongly recommends that, in the selection and
appointment process, the Council give due regard to experts of
indigenous origin.  

The creation of this new mechanism is part of the process of the reform
of the United Nations human rights system.  It followed the adoption of
the HRC Institution building package (GA Res.60/251; HRC Res.5/1) and
the exchanges of ideas on the most appropriate mechanisms to continue
the work of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations which followed
the adoption of HRC Res.6/16.
 
For further information please visit:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/indigenous/groups/groups-01.htm.


21st session of the UN Voluntary Fund on Indigenous Populations

On 4 February 2008 the UN Voluntary Fund on Indigenous Populations will
examine a total of 455 applications for travel grants from indigenous
representatives to attend the 7th session of the Permanent forum on
indigenous issues that will take place in April 2008 and the 1st session
of the New expert mechanism on indigenous peoples rights which will take
place in October 2008.    

The 5 Board members currently are:

Mr. Lars Anders Baer (Sami, Sweden), Mr. Nadir Bekirov (Crimean Tatar,
Ukraine), Mr. Ahmed Mahiou (Amazigh, Algeria), Ms. Jannie Lasimbang
(Kadazan, Malaysia) and Ms. Tarcila Rivera Zea (Quechua, Peru). 

Contact person for more information: Melanie Clerc mclerc@ohchr.org.


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 deadlines for
submissions by NGOs for the first and second UPR sessions have passed,
with the exception of an extended deadline until 8 February 2008 with
regard to these countries: Switzerland, Pakistan, Zambia, Japan,
Ukraine, Sri Lanka, France, Tonga, Romania and Mali. For more
information see
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/upr/index.htm. 

NGOs are encouraged to limit their submission to a 5-page document, to
which more detailed reports may be attached for reference. This
information will be available on line for others to access. Submissions
should be sent to the following email address:
UPRsubmissions@ohchr.org.  

Contact person: Erik Friberg efriberg@ohchr.org.


7th session of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent

The seventh session of the Working Group of Experts on People of African
Descent took place at the United Nations Office in Geneva from 14 to 18
January 2008. 

There was active participation on behalf of many representatives and the
session produced an important input to the next session of the
Preparatory Committee. The themes discussed included: Administration of
justice, the media, access to education, racism and employment, racism
and health, racism and housing, participation of people of African
descent in political, economic, social and cultural aspects of society
and in the advancement and economic development in their countries,
Millennium Development Goals, empowerment of women of African descent
and racial profiling.

Recommendations of the session, including for example the suggestion
that the UN should create a fellowship programme for people of African
descent, can be found at
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/groups/docs/Recommendations30012008.
pdf.

Contact person for more information: Marie-Dominique Perret
mperret@ohchr.org.


6th session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the effective
implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action

The sixth session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the
effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of
Action took place from 21 January to 1 February 2008 at the United
Nations Office in Geneva.

Provisional agenda and draft programme of work can be found at
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/groups/implementation-6th.htm.
The report of the session will also be available at this website
shortly.

Contact person for more information: Marie-Dominique Perret
mperret@ohchr.org.


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

The first substantive session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for
the Durban Review Conference will take place from 21 April to 2 May 2008
in Geneva. During this session of the Preparatory Committee will, in
accordance with its decision 1/14, discuss the organization of the work
of the Conference and other matters.

The last session of the Preparatory Committee will take place from 6 to
17 October 2008 also in Geneva. 

For a full text report of the organizational session of the PrepCom,
including decisions taken in relation to the participation of NGOs see
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/groups/prep_committee_durban/docs/pr
epcomdraft.doc.

Contact person for more information: Marie-Dominique Perret
mperret@ohchr.org..


Treaty Bodies and country reviews

14 January to 1 February 2008 - CRC 
The Committee on the Rights of the Child held its 47th session from 14
January to 1 February 2008. The following State reports were 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 were 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
were considered: Chile, Germany, Ireland, Kuwait and Timor-Leste.
Concluding observations will soon be available at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/crcs47.htm.

14 January to 1 February 2008 - CEDAW
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
held its 40th session from 14 January to 1 February 2008.  The following
State party reports were examined during this session: Saudi Arabia,
Bolivia, Burundi, France, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Morocco and Sweden.
Concluding observations will soon be available at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws40.htm.

18 February to 7 March 2008 (to be confirmed) - 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 State
reports during the session: Republic of Moldova, Italy, Republic of Fiji
Islands, Belgium, Dominican Republic, United States of America 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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