MINELRES: UN OHCHR Update on Minority Issues February 2008

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Mon Mar 17 20:24:28 2008


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


Minority Update N11 - February 2008

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


Table of contents
 English speaking Minority Fellowship Programme 2008 
 Independent Expert on Minority Issues 
 Forum on Minority Issues
 UNDG Guidelines on Indigenous Peoples Issues
 Universal Periodic Review 
 Rights & Democracy UPR workshop 15 March 2008
 PrepComs in 2008 for Durban Review 2009 
 21 March - the International Day for the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination
 Treaty Bodies and country reviews


English speaking Minority Fellowship Programme 2008

The fellowship will take place in the OHCHR office in Geneva from 1
April-30 June 2008.
The following candidates have been selected to participate: 

Mr Fedor Kondur (Rom from Ukraine)
Ms Nilofar d/o Abdul Hussain (Hazara Shiat from Afghanistan)
Ms Anna Dreyzina (Russian from Azerbaijan)
Mr Khalid Hussain (Bihari from Bangladesh)
Mr Manpreet Singh (Sikh from India)

For more information see:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/minorities/fellowprog.htm.

Contact person: Ilona Alexander ialexander@ohchr.org


Independent Expert on Minority Issues

On 28 February 2008, the Independent Expert on minority issues, Ms. Gay
McDougall, joined the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a
component of the right to an adequate standard of living, Mr. Miloon
Kothari, in issuing a press statement calling on the United States
Government to halt ongoing evictions and to take immediate steps to
protect the human rights of African-Americans affected by Hurricane
Katrina and the demolition of public housing in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The full statement is available at:
http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/907604B6DAF5E2F1C12573FD007AD7
DC?opendocument

The Permanent Mission of Greece informed the Independent Expert that her
request for a country visit in 2008 has been accepted. The visit is
tentatively planned for September 2008.
In March the Independent Expert will attend the 7th session of the Human
Rights Council for the annual interactive dialogue regarding her
activities, including country visits and thematic work that she has
undertaken. Her annual report to be presented to the Council has as its
thematic focus consideration of the issues of minorities and the
discriminatory denial or deprivation of citizenship. The Independent
Expert's mandate will also be reviewed by the Human Rights Council
during this session as a part of the general review, rationalization and
improvement of special procedures mandates.

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.

The first meeting of the Forum is scheduled for 4-5 September 2008,
immediately prior to the 9th session of the Human Rights Council which
is planned for 8 - 25 September 2008. Details will follow in due course.


UNDG Guidelines on Indigenous Peoples Issues

The United Nations Development Group approved Guidelines on Indigenous
Peoples' Issues on 1 February 2008. The Guidelines are designed to
assist UN Country Teams integrate indigenous peoples' issues into
country policies and programmes. The Guidelines were drafted by a group
on UN organizations and specialized agencies under the aegis of the
Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Peoples' Issues. 

The text is available at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/indigenous/docs/guidelines.pdf.

Let us hope that we can have similar guidelines for minorities one day
:-).


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.


Rights & Democracy UPR workshop 15 March 2008

The NGO Rights & Democracy is conducting a training workshop on the UPR
on 15 March 2008. If you have the opportunity to be in Geneva on 15
March 2008, you can apply to participate. Please note that travel
expenses are NOT covered. The workshop is targeted especially at
representatives of NGOs from developing countries whose countries are
reviewed through the UPR in 2008-2009 (for the list see:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/uprlist.pdf). 

Participants from Morocco, Indonesia and Colombia are especially
encouraged to apply. The application deadline is 9 March 2008 and
application materials as well as further information can be obtained
from:

Cynthia Gervais
Director
Geneva Office of Rights & Democracy 
Route de Ferney,150
1218 Le Grand Saconnex (Geneva)
Switzerland
Office: +41 (0) 22 791 6336 
Fax: +41 (0) 22 791 6328 
Mobile: + 41 (0) 78 900 8445
E-mail: cgervais@dd-rd.ch
Website: www.dd-rd.ch


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. For provisional agenda adopted during the first session see:
http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G07/135/93/PDF/G0713593.pdf?OpenElement.

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: Sandra Aragon saragon@ohchr.org.


21 March - the International Day for the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination

Every year, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights organizes a special event to commemorate 21 March - the
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  The
theme for this year's commemoration is Dignity and Justice - the
Cornerstones of Combating Racial Discrimination.

The Office will organize a high level panel discussion that will take
place on 18 March 2008, in Palais des Nations, Room XXI, from 1:00 p.m.
to 3:00 p.m.

The following guest speakers will participate in the panel discussion:
1. Mr. Sergei A. Ordzhonikidze, Director General of the United Nations
Office at Geneva
2. Ms. Louise Arbour, High Commissioner for Human Rights
3. Mr. Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of Organisation Internationale de
la Francophonie
4. Mr. Doudou Diene, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism,
racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
5. Ms. Jasminka Dzumhur (NGO Medica, Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Participation of ECOSOC accredited NGOs and media is welcome. After the
end of the presentations there will be time for interactive dialogue
with the audience.

Contact person for more information: Tania Naydenova
tnaydenova@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 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 are
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.  The
Committee pointed out that the report by Saudi Arabia does not provide
information regarding women belonging to ethnic, religious or other
minorities and urged the Swedish Government to take effective measures
to eliminate discrimination against immigrants, refugees and minority
women.  Concluding observations are available at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws40.htm.

18 February to 7 March 2008 - CERD
The session of the Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination (CERD) is taking place from 18 February until 7 March
2008.  The Committee considered 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 States were also
reviewed: Gambia, Monaco, United Arab Emirates and Panama. The Committee
requested updated data on education, poverty and unemployment for ethnic
groups and minorities from the Belgian and Fijian Government. 
Additionally, the Committee discussed the situation of Roma in Italy and
Latinos & African Americans in the USA in relation to police brutality,
violence, abuse, Medicare and issues related to sexual and reproductive
health. Concluding observations will soon be available at: 
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/cerds72.htm.

14 April to 25 April 2008 - CMW
The next session of the Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW) is scheduled
to take place from 14 April to 25 April 2008 in Geneva.  The Committee
will consider the following State reports during the session: Bolivia
and Syrian Arab Republic. For more information please refer to:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cmw/cmws08.htm.

28 April to 16 May 2008 - CESCR
The next session of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights (CESCR) is scheduled to take place from 28 April to 16 May 2008
in Geneva.  The Committee will consider the following State reports
during the session: Benin, France, India and Bolivia. For more
information please refer to:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/cescrs40.htm

28 April to 16 May 2008 - CAT
The next session of the Committee against Torture (CAT) is scheduled to
take place from 28 April to 16 May 2008 in Geneva.  The Committee will
consider 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

*****

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

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