MINELRES: OHCHR Update on Minority Issues (January-February 2009)

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Thu Mar 12 20:32:20 2009


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


Dear representatives of minority NGOs and colleagues, 

Attached pls find the OHCHR Update on Minority Issues for
January-February 2009. This will be the last newsletter you will receive
from me for a while. I plan to be on maternity leave until end of August
2009 or so. My colleague Oyuna Umuralieva (oumuralieva@ohchr.org) will
be updating you in the meantime. 

I wish you all a productive next few months, 

Ilona 


Ilona KlĖmovĀ-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 

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

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

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

Minority Update N°17 - January-February 2009

Table of contents
- New staff in the Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Unit
- Minority Fellowship Programmes 2009 and 2010
- Independent Expert on Minority Issues
- Forum on Minority Issue
- Call for applications for the United Nations Voluntary Fund on
Contemporary Forms of Slavery
- Seminar on the prevention of genocide
- Universal Periodic Review
- Durban Follow-Up
- Durban Review Conference Preparatory Process
- Durban Review Conference Side Events
- Treaty Bodies and country reviews


New staff in the Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Unit

On 5 January 2009, Mr. Antti Korkeakivi took up the post of the
Co-ordinator of the Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Unit. Mr.
Korkeakivi comes to OHCHR from the Council of Europe, where he headed
the Secretariat of the Framework Convention for the Protection of
National Minorities. 

On 1 February 2009, Ms. Michele Buteau joined the Minorities team,
having previously worked in the OHCHR's Anti-Discrimination Unit, among
other things, servicing the Intergovernmental Working Group on the
effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of
Action.

Ms. Ilona Alexander will be on maternity leave from mid-March until end
of August 2009 and Ms. Oyuna Umuralieva (formerly from the OHCHR's
Universal Periodic Review team) has joined the Minorities team as
Ilona's maternity replacement as of 1 March 2009. Prior to her
employment with the OHCHR, Ms. Umuralieva has, for example, worked for
the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities as well as for OSCE
Missions in Kosovo and in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  


Minority Fellowship Programmes 2009 and 2010

The 2009 Arabic-speaking fellowship is planned to take place from 26
October to 20 November 2009, to coincide with the next session of the
Forum on Minority Issues (see below). More information and application
deadline for the 2009 programme will be announced on our website soon.

The 2009 English-speaking fellowship will take place at the OHCHR office
in Geneva from 1 April to 17 July 2009.

The candidates selected for the 2009 English- speaking programme are: 
o  Ms. Angie Cruickshank Lambert (Afrodescendant, Costa Rica)
o  Ms. Samah Hadid (Lebanese Muslim, Australia)
o  Mr. Sabir Michael (Christian, Pakistan) 
o  Mr. Abdilahi Jama (Gabooye, Somaliland)
o  Mr. Oktam Gaziev (Uzbekh, Kyrgyzstan)

As our fellowship is becoming more and more established, we are changing
our selection procedures in order to give a greater voice to minority
representatives in selecting the fellows. All applications for the 2010
fellowship will thus be pre-screened by the 2009 fellows who will
draw-up a long-list of 15 candidates. The final selection will be made
based on phone interviews and the decisions of an advisory board. In
order to facilitate the pre-selection by the 2009 fellows, the
application deadline for the 2010 fellowship is thus set to be Monday 15
June 2009 (for the fellowship dates of approximately April-June 2010).
The call for applications and the application form are posted on our
website:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/minorities/fellowprog.htm.

Contact person: Oyuna Umuralieva oumuralieva@ohchr.org.


Independent Expert on Minority Issues

During the 10th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2009, Ms.
Gay McDougall, the Independent Expert on Minority Issues, will present
her annual report as well as the findings of her country visits to
Guyana (28 July-1 August 2008) and Greece (8-16 September 2008) and hold
her interactive dialogue. She will also report on the inaugural session
of the Forum on Minority Issues. Ms. McDougall continues a dialogue with
Bangladesh, Colombia, Iran, Malaysia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Panama, Surinam,
Sri Lanka, Thailand and Turkey, to whom she has made requests for future
visit. A positive response has already been received from the Government
of Kazakhstan for a country visit in 2009.
 
Contact person for more information: Graham Fox gfox@ohchr.org.


Forum on Minority Issues

On 17 March 2009, the Human Rights Council will hear reports of its
subsidiary bodies such as the Social Forum, the Expert Mechanism on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Forum on Minority Issues. The
Independent Expert will report on the thematic recommendations of the
inaugural session of the Forum (15-16 December 2008) regarding
"Minorities and the Right to Education." The Chairperson's summary of
the discussions of the Forum is posted on the Forum's website, along
with other information:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/minority/forum.htm.

The second session of the Forum is planned for 12-13 November 2009.

Contact person for more information: Sylvie Saddier-Calame
ssaddier-calame@ohchr.org


Call for applications for the United Nations Voluntary Fund on
Contemporary Forms of Slavery - new deadline 31 March 2009

The United Nations Voluntary Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery was
established in 1991 with the purpose of providing humanitarian, legal
and financial aid to individuals whose human rights have been violated
as a result of contemporary forms of slavery. Funding is obtained by
means of voluntary contributions from Governments, non-governmental
organizations and other private or public entities.  

NGOs can request a maximum amount of 15,000 United States dollars per
grant from the Fund. Projects undertaken with previous Trust Fund grants
include medical and psychological aid, food, shelter, and vocational
training to victims of trafficking for sexual and economic exploitation,
support to rehabilitation centres for sexually and physically abused
street children and a project to identify and release bonded labourers
in the carpet industry and stone quarries. Other projects have provided
victims with the means to generate sustainable sources of income, such
as sewing machines, hairdressing equipment, or farming tools.  

Applications for project grants have to be submitted by 31 March 2009
for analysis by the secretariat of the Fund. Admissible applications are
examined by the Board of Trustees at its annual session in September
2009. Application forms and guidelines can be obtained from Melanie
Clerc, mclerc@ohchr.org,  Tel: +41 22 928 9737, Fax: +41 22 928 9010.
More information is available on the website of the Fund:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/about/funds/slavery.


Seminar on the prevention of genocide

The above seminar was organized on 21 January 2009 in Palais des Nations
in Geneva, in line with Human Rights Council Resolution 7/25. Its main
objectives were to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Convention on
the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and to discuss
preventive strategies, initiatives and mechanisms that currently exist
within the United Nations Human Rights System, as well as the role of
member States, regional bodies and other entities in the prevention. 
The seminar brought together States, relevant United Nations entities
and other international and regional organizations, civil society, and
academic and research bodies.  OHCHR will prepare and publish a paper on
the outcome of the seminar, as requested by Resolution 7/25. 

For more information see:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/events/RuleofLaw/ .
 

Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

In 2006 the General Assembly (GA) decided that the Human Rights Council
(HRC) shall "undertake a universal periodic review, based on objective
and reliable information, of the fulfilment by each State of its human
rights obligations and commitments..." (GA resolution 60/251). 

The third session of the UPR Working Group was held from 1 to 12
December 2008 and considered the following 16 countries: Botswana,
Bahamas, Burundi, Luxembourg, Barbados, Montenegro, United Arab
Emirates, Israel, Liechtenstein, Serbia, Turkmenistan, Burkina Faso,
Cape Verde, Colombia, Uzbekistan and Tuvalu. In March 2009, the HRC will
meet in the plenary session and adopt the outcome of the UPR; a one-hour
meeting is devoted to each of the above-listed State under Review (SuR).
At the HRC plenary session, the SuR, HRC Member States, Observers
including UN entities, as well as stakeholders, including national human
rights institutions and non-governmental organizations, have the
opportunity to make interventions.

The fourth session of the UPR WG took place from 2 to 13 February 2009
and considered the following 16 countries: Cameroon, Djibouti,
Mauritius, Nigeria, Senegal, Bangladesh, China, Jordan, Malaysia, Saudi
Arabia, Cuba, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Russian Federation and
Azerbaijan. 

The fifth session of the UPR WG is scheduled to take place from 4 to 15
May 2009 and will consider the following 16 countries: Central African
Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Yemen and
Afghanistan, Uruguay, Belize, Chile, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand,
Slovakia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The deadlines
for the submission of stakeholders' input for these sessions have
passed.
The sixth session of the UPR WG is scheduled to take place from 30
November to 11 December 2009.  Submissions from NGOs are invited by the
following deadlines: 
- 13 April 2009 for submissions on Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of
Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam
and Cambodia; and
- 20 April 2009 for submissions on Republic of Korea, Costa Rica,
Dominica, Dominican Republic, Norway, Portugal and Albania.

NGOs are invited to contribute information for consideration and
possible inclusion by OHCHR in a summary of stakeholders' input for the
UPR WG sessions. 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. A note of information and guidelines for
relevant stakeholders on the UPR is available at
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBODIES/UPR/Documents/TechnicalGuideEN.pdf. 

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

All available UPR documentation is posted at
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR.
Contact for further details: OHCHR Civil Society Unit, tel: + 41 22 917
96 56; fax: + 41 22 917 90 11; email: civilsocietyunit@ohchr.org.


Durban Follow-up

The 8th session of the Working Group of Experts on People of African
descent took place at the Palais des Nations from 12 to 16 January 2009.
The Coordinator for the Durban Review Conference, Mr. Ibrahim Salama,
delivered the opening address. He welcomed the four new members of the
Working Group: Monorama Biswas (Bangladesh), Mirjana Najcevska (the
former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Ralston Nettleford (Jamaica) and
Maya Sahli (Algeria). The Coordinator paid tribute to the work of the
former members of the Working Group and in particular the Chairman
Ambassador Peter Lesa Kasanda. The session then focused on an assessment
of the work of the Working Group since its creation. Besides developing
its programme of work for the future, including its meetings, country
visits and participation in the Durban Review process, it also devoted a
day to an analysis of the situation of children of African descent. 

For more information see:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/groups/african/4african.htm


Durban Review Conference Preparatory Process

The Inter-sessional Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group (ISWG)
held informal open-ended consultations from 19-23 January and 16-19
February 2009 to continue and finalize the process of negotiations on
and drafting of the outcome document. By the end of these consultations
84% of the draft outcome document has been reviewed. The latest
unofficial version of the draft outcome document, may be found on the
dedicated extranet, the details of which are the following: 

Address: http://portal.ohchr.org 
username: hrc durban 
password: ohchr123

The next formal session of the ISWG will take place from 6-10 April
2009, followed by a final session of the Preparatory Committee (15-17
April 2009). The Review Conference itself will take place from 20 - 24
April 2009.

On 23 February 2009, Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to
the Durban Review Conference on the implementation of the Durban
Declaration and Programme of Action and proposals for its enhancement
was issued. The report is available at: 
http://www.un.org/durbanreview2009/pdf/HC_contribution_20_February_2009_FINAL.pd
f.

A new webpage dedicated to providing information and documentation in
all official UN languages regarding the Durban Review Conference and the
preparatory process is now accessible at:
http://www.un.org/durbanreview2009/index.shtml.
It includes information regarding, inter alia, the Preparatory
Committee, its Intersessional Open-ended Working Group, information on
accreditation procedure, room-booking for side events, and modalities on
the list of speakers. 
 
A Webcast service, containing the archives of past Preparatory Committee
sessions, as well as live broadcast of the session in progress, is also
available through:
www.un.org/durbanreview2009/webcast.

The OHCHR Anti-Discrimination Unit is now publishing an E-bulletin for
NGOs on the Durban Review Conference. If your organization would like to
be added to the mailing and/or for any other queries E-mail:
adusecretariat@ohchr.org. The bulletins are also available at:
http://www.un.org/durbanreview2009/bulletin.shtml.

The deadline for applications for travel support for NGOs to attend the
Durban Review Conference has passed. The list of selected NGOs is
available at the OHCHR Extranet. 

The deadline for receiving applications from new NGOs that wish to be
accredited to the Durban Review Conference has also passed. 


Durban Review Conference Side Events

In order to provide an opportunity to review progress made in the combat
against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related
intolerance since 2001 and to share best practices, side events will be
held during the Review Conference, daily from 0900h-1800h from 20-24
April 2009 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Those interested in
organizing a side event should consult the Guidance Note on Side Events
and complete the inscription form no later than 14 April 2009. The
inscription form and Guidance Note are available at:
www.un.org/durbanreview2009/updates. 

The OHCHR will also host side events relating to the implementation of
the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. Information on these
side events can be found at: 
www.un.org/durbanreview2009/updates.

Any additional queries on side events should be sent by email to:
reviewconferenceevent@ohchr.org or by fax to: + 41 22 928 9050. 

The Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Unit is organizing two side events
- one relates to minorities and the other indigenous peoples. The event
on "Durban commitments and minorities: policing in diverse societies" is
preliminarily scheduled for 23 April 2009. It will provide a forum for
sharing information and raising awareness about effective measures to
prevent racial discrimination against persons belonging to national or
ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, in particular through the
involvement of representatives from minority communities in all aspects
of policing. Selected short films and video clips will be screened,
followed by commentaries from invited experts and plenary discussions. 

Panelists will likely include special procedures mandate-holders, treaty
bodies experts, representatives of inter-governmental organizations,
academics, civil society actors and police officers. The side event will
also showcase the draft OHCHR 'Guidance and Good Practice on Diversity
in Policing'. 

Contact person for this side event: Michele Buteau mbuteau@ohchr.org.

The IPMU side event on the rights of indigenous peoples is to take place
on 21 April 2009, under the title: "The UN Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples - contributing to the realization of the Durban
Declaration". It will gather members of the Expert Mechanism on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Committee on the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination as well as representatives of indigenous peoples.
Together they will address the following key issues of the Durban
review: the situation of racism and racial discrimination against
indigenous peoples under national laws and policies; the contribution of
international human rights mechanisms, in light of the new Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to the implementation of the Durban
Declaration and Plan of Action and the assessment of the outcome of the
Durban Review Conference in relation to the advancement of the rights of
indigenous peoples, in line with the provisions of the UN Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous peoples.   


Treaty Bodies and country reviews

12 to 30 January 2009 - CRC

The Committee on the Rights of the Child held its 50thsession from 12 to
30 January 2009, during which it considered State reports of the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo,
Malawi, Moldova, Netherlands and Republic of Chad.

In its concluding observations to the report of Moldova, the Committee
expressed concern at the lack of adequate information on the rate of
infant mortality among the Roma and at the discriminatory treatment and
reduced access to education, health and an adequate standard of living
that Romani children experience. The Committee recommended that the
State party develop and implement strategies and programs to ensure
access to mainstream education for Romani children and to guarantee the
optimal enjoyment by Romani children of the right to education. It also
suggested that further efforts be made to ensure the implementation of
the principle of respect for the views of the child, with special
attention to vulnerable and minority groups. 

In relation to the report submitted by the Netherlands, the Committee
urged the State party to strengthen its awareness-raising and
anti-discrimination activities and, if necessary, to take affirmative
actions for the benefit of, inter alia, children belonging to minority
groups.

The Committee also reviewed, under the Optional Protocol to the CRC on
the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, State
party reports by the Maldives and the Netherlands. The Committee's
concluding observations for the Maldives expressed concern over the lack
of data on the prevalence of sale, child prostitution and child
pornography, disaggregated by age, sex, minority group and origin.
More information can be found at: 
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/crcs50.htm

19 January to 6 February 2009 - CEDAW

The 43rd session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination
against Women took place from 19 January - 6 February 2009. During this
session, the Committee considered State reports by Armenia, Cameroon,
Dominica, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and Rwanda.

Regarding the report submitted by Armenia, the Committee requested that
the State party enact, without delay, legislation specifically
addressing domestic violence against women. Such legislation should
ensure that women and girls who are victims of violence have access to
immediate means of redress and protection, in particular addressing the
needs of rural women, women with disabilities, refugees and minority
women. The Committee expressed concern at the relatively high dropout
rate especially of ethnic minority girls from rural areas, and noted the
lack of information and statistics about, inter alia, women belonging to
ethnic and religious minorities. 

In its concluding observations to the report of Germany the Committee
noted the positive measures taken with the aim of enhancing integration
of immigrant, refugee and minority women into the German society and of
including such women in the labour market. Yet it continued to be
concerned that these women may be subject to multiple forms of
discrimination with respect to education, health, employment and social
and political participation. The Committee urged the State party to
intensify its efforts to eliminate discrimination and to conduct regular
and comprehensive studies on discrimination against immigrant, refugee,
asylum-seekers and minority women.

More information can be found at: 
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws43.htm


16 February to 6 March 2009 - CERD

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is holding its
74th session from 16 February to 6 March 2009, considering the following
State reports: Bulgaria, Congo, Croatia, Finland, Montenegro, Pakistan,
Turkey, Tunisia, and Suriname.
More information can be found at: 
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/cerds74.htm.


16 March to 3 April 2009 - HRC

The 95th session of the Human Rights Committee will take place from 16
March to 3 April 2009. During the session the Committee will consider
the State Party reports of Australia, Chad, Rwanda and Sweden. 
More information can be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/hrcs95.htm.

27 April - 15 May 2009 - CAT

The Committee against Torture will hold its 42nd session from 27 April
to 15 May 2009 and consider the following State reports: Chad, Chile,
Honduras, Israel, New Zealand, Nicaragua and Philippines.
More information can be found at: 
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/cats42.htm 

20 April - 1 May 2009 - CMW

The Committee on Migrant Workers will hold its 10th session from 20
April to 1 May 2009 and will consider the following State reports:
Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Philippines.
More information can be found at: 
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cmw/cmws10.htm

4 May - 22 May 2009 - CESCR

The 42nd session of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights will meet from 4 May - 22 May 2009. During this session, the
Committee will consider the State reports by Brazil, Cyprus, United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Australia and Cambodia.
More information can be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/cescrs42.htm

25 May to 12 June 2009 - CRC

The Committee on the Rights of the Child will hold its 51st session from
25 May to 12 June 2009 and will consider the following State reports:
Bangladesh, France, Mauritania, Niger, Sweden and Romania
More information can be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/crcs51.htm

*****

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