MINELRES: UN OHCHR Update on Minority Issues, May-June 2008

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Thu Jul 24 11:35:04 2008


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


Dear colleagues and representatives of minority NGOs, 

Attached, pls find the UN OHCHR May-June 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°13 - May-June 2008

United Nations
OHCHR Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Unit  
ialexander@ohchr.org


Table of contents

· Minority Fellowship Programmes 2008 
· Independent Expert on Minority Issues
· Forum on Minority Issues
· Universal Periodic Review 
· Durban Review Conference Preparatory Process
· Treaty Bodies and country reviews


Minority Fellowship Programmes 2008

The English-speaking fellowship took place at the OHCHR office in Geneva
from 1 April-30 June 2008. The call for applications for 2009 will be
made in late summer 2008. Keep an eye on our website.

It is expected that 4 fellows will be chosen for the 2008
Arabic-speaking fellowship which should take place 10-28 November 2008.
The application deadline is 1 August 2008. More information and an
application form (in Arabic) can be found on our website
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/minorities/fellowprog.htm.

Contact person: Ilona Alexander ialexander@ohchr.org.


Independent Expert on Minority Issues

The Independent Expert has been preparing for two upcoming country
visits - Guyana (28 July to 2 August 2008) and Greece (8-16 September
2008). The Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan has also informed the
Independent Expert that her request for a country visit in 2008 has been
accepted. 

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


Forum on Minority Issues

The inaugural session of the Forum was scheduled for 4-5 September 2008
at the United Nations (Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland). At
the moment it is highly likely that the session will be postponed for
later in the year. We will inform you as soon as we can. The thematic
issue for consideration by the inaugural session will be minorities and
access to education. The Independent Expert invites interested parties
to compile and submit information on minorities and access to education
prior to the session of the Forum. Further information regarding the
Forum, including guidelines for submission of information, accreditation
procedures, and Secretariat contact details, will be distributed shortly
and will also be available on the website of the Forum at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/minority/forum.htm.

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


Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

General Assembly Resolution 60/251, decided that the Human Rights
Council (HRC) 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...". 

The first session of the UPR Working Group (UPR WG) of the HRC took
place from 7-18 April 2008 and considered the human rights record of the
following countries: Bahrain, Ecuador, Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia,
Finland, United Kingdom, India, Brazil, Philippines, Algeria, Poland,
Netherlands, South Africa, Czech Republic, and Argentina. 

The second session of the UPR WG took place from 5-19 May 2008 and
considered the human rights record of the following countries: Gabon,
Ghana, Peru, Guatemala, Benin, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Pakistan,
Zambia, Japan, Ukraine, Sri Lanka, France, Tonga, Romania, and Mali. 

In June 2008, at the eighth session of the Human Rights Council (HRC),
the HRC plenary adopted outcome documents on each country reviewed at
the 1st and 2nd sessions of UPR WG. The outcome documents of the
following countries included recommendations related to minorities:
Finland, Poland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, India, Argentina,
South Africa, Switzerland, France, Romania, Guatemala, Japan, Sri Lanka,
and Pakistan.

The reports, as adopted by the UPR WG, as well as statements by States
and the outcome documents are accessible at the UPR section of the
Extranet at
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/form.htm. 

The archived meetings of the sessions can be viewed through the UN
webcast (http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/index.asp).

The third session of the UPR WG is scheduled from 1 to 12 December 2008
and will consider the following countries: Botswana, Bahamas, Burundi,
Luxembourg, Barbados, Montenegro, United Arab Emirates, Israel,
Liechtenstein, Serbia, Turkmenistan, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Colombia,
Uzbekistan, and Tuvalu. 

NGOs, wishing to submit information for consideration and possible
inclusion by OHCHR in a summary of stakeholders' input for this UPR
review, are invited to send their contributions. The deadline for
submission of contributions by NGOs to the third session of the WG on
the UPR has been set at 14 July 2008. Please note that the page limit
for submissions is 5 pages when submitted by individual stakeholders,
and 10 pages when submitted by large coalitions of stakeholders. More
detailed reports may be attached for reference only. This information
will be available on line for others to access. Submissions should be
sent to the following email address: UPRsubmissions@ohchr.org. 

For more information see
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx.

Contact person: Erik Friberg efriberg@ohchr.org.


Durban Review Conference Preparatory Process

The first substantive session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for
Durban Review Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia
and Related Intolerance held a special extension session on 26 May (at
the beginning of the first intergovernmental working group session) in
order to decide the date, duration and venue of the conference. It was
decided to hold the Durban Review Conference in Geneva from 20-24 April
2009.

The first session of the intersessional open-ended intergovernmental
working group to follow up the work of the PrepCom took place in Geneva
from 16-30 May 2008. The Working Group is expected to collect
information to be included in the draft outcome document to be
considered at the 2009 Review Conference. In order to achieve its task,
the OHCHR Secretariat has prepared a questionnaire for all stakeholders,
including NGOs, that is available on line in English,
(http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/DurbanReview/docs/questionnaire1st.
pdf),
French
(http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/DurbanReview/docs/questionnaire1st_
fr.pdf)
and Spanish
(http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/DurbanReview/docs/questionnaire1st_
sp.pdf).

The Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, Preparatory
to the Durban Review Conference, was held in Brasilia, Brazil between 17
and 19 June 2008. This was the first of the Regional Conferences to be
held and resulted in the adoption of a an outcome document by Member
States from this region that evaluates progress made and challenges that
still exist in the fight against racism, racial discrimination,
xenophobia and related intolerance in the region. The document will be
an important input for the Preparatory Committee for the Durban Review
Conference to consider in the lead up to the Review Conference itself. 

The Regional Conference for Africa, Preparatory to the Durban Review
Conference, will be held in Abuja, Nigeria between 24 and 26 August
2008.

For further information please consult:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/DurbanReview/regional.htm.

The second substantive PrepCom will take place from 6 to 17 October 2008
in Geneva. NGOS wishing to apply for accreditation can still do so by
filling in a questionnaire. For more information see
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/DurbanReview/ngo.htm.

Contact E-mail for more information: adusecretariat@ohchr.org.


Treaty Bodies and country reviews

28 April to 16 May 2008 - CESCR
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) held its
40th session from 28 April to 16 May 2008 in Geneva.  The Committee
considered the following State Reports during the session: Benin,
France, India, and Bolivia.  In the Concluding Observations to the State
Report of India, the Committee expressed concern about the negative
effect of cultural stereotypes and personal laws of minority groups on
the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights by minority
women.  Concluding observations are available at: 
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/cescrs40.htm.

28 April to 16 May 2008 - CAT
The 40th session of the Committee against Torture (CAT) was held from 28
April to 16 May 2008 in Geneva.  The Committee considered the following
State reports during the session: Australia, Sweden, Iceland, Algeria,
Indonesia, Zambia, Republic of Macedonia and Costa Rica. For more
information see: 
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/cats40.htm.

19 May to 6 June 2008 - CRC 
The Committee on the Rights of the Child held its 48th session from 19
May to 6 June 2008. The Committee considered the following State reports
during the session: Bulgaria, Eritrea, Georgia, Serbia, and Sierra
Leone. Under the Optional Protocol to CRC on the Sale of Children, Child
Prostitution and Child Pornography, the following State reports were
considered: Republic of Korea and United States of America. 

In its Concluding Observation to the report of Bulgaria, the Committee,
while commending efforts undertaken - such as the National Action Plan
on the Decade of Roma Inclusion and Health Strategy for Disadvantaged
Persons from the Ethnic Minorities, highlighted several shortcomings,
including the particularly limited and inequitable access to adequate
health-care services for Romani children, and the relatively high infant
mortality rate, the common practice of segregating Romani patients in
hospital facilities.  The recommendations of the Committee also covered
areas such as promoting tolerance, addressing negative attitudes,
removing discrimination, and working actively with Romani communities
for the full enjoyment of their rights.  The Committee requested the
Government of Eritrea to provide, in the next report, information on the
fulfillment of the rights of children belonging to minority groups, and
recommended to prioritize the issue of access to healthcare for children
of minority groups.  It also expressed concerns over the lack of
adequate institutional structures to ensure birth registration of all
children, and especially minorities. Additionally the Committee
discussed and made recommendations on the situation of children of
minority groups in relation to adoption and education opportunities in
Georgia and Serbia.  

Under the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the Involvement of Children in
Armed Conflict the following State reports were considered: Philippines,
Republic of Korea and United States of America.  

In relation to the report of the United States, the Committee expressed
concern over the reported recruitment into the armed forces through
campaigns targeted to children belonging to ethnic and racial
minorities, along with other vulnerable socio-economic groups.

For more information see:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/crcs48.htm

30 June to 18 July 2008 - CEDAW
The 41st session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination
against Women (CEDAW) is taking place from 30 June to 18 July 2008 in
New York.  During the session the Committee is considering the following
State party reports: Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Nigeria, Slovakia,
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Tanzania, and
Yemen.  More information can be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws41.htm.

7 July to 25 July 2008 - CCPR
The Human Rights Committee (CCPR) will be holding its 93rd session from
7 to 25 July 2008 in Geneva.  The following State Reports will be
examined during this session: France, San Marino, Ireland, and United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  The Country Report Task
Forces will consider and adopt list of issues on reports submitted by
Denmark, Monaco, Spain, Rwanda and Sweden. For more information please
refer to: 
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/hrcs93.htm.

28 July to 15 August 2008 - CERD
The 73rd session of the Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination (CERD) will take place from 28 July to 15 August 2008. 
The Committee will consider the following State reports during the
session: Ecuador, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Togo Namibia,
and Russian Federation. Under the Committee's review procedure, whereby
it considers country situations in the absence of a State party report,
the following countries will be reviewed: Belize and Peru.  For more
information please refer to: 
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/cerds73.htm.

15 September to 3 October 2008 - CRC 
The Committee on the Rights of the Child will hold its 49th session from
15 September to 3 October 2008. The Committee will consider the
following State reports: Bhutan, Djibouti, United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland. Under the Optional Protocol to CRC on the
Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, the
following State reports will be considered: Austria, Lithuania, Tanzania
and Uganda. Under the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the Involvement of
Children in Armed Conflict the following State reports will be
considered: Tanzania, Uganda, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland.  More information can be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/crcs49.htm.

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