MINELRES: UN OHCHR Update on Minority Issues July-August 2009

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Tue Sep 22 17:50:04 2009


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


Dear colleagues and representatives of minority NGOs, 

I'm back in action. Pls find attached the UN OHCHR July -- August 2009
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 
N19 - July-August 2009

United Nations
OHCHR Indigenous Peoples 
and Minorities Unit  

mbuteau@ohchr.org
ialexander@ohchr.org


Table of contents
 Minority Fellowship Programmes 2009 and 2010
 Regional Expert Consultation on Good Practices in Policing and
Minority Communities in Africa
 Independent Expert on Minority Issues
 Forum on Minority Issue
 Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
 Social Forum
 Universal Periodic Review 
 Durban Follow-Up
 Treaty Bodies and country reviews


Minority Fellowship Programmes 2009 and 2010

The 2009 Arabic-speaking fellowship will take place from 26 October to
20 November 2009, to coincide with the next session of the Forum on
Minority Issues (see below). 
The candidates selected for the 2009 Arabic- speaking programme are: 
 Ms. Haliz Abdulbaqi (Kurd from Iraq) 
 Ms. Farahnez Rezaei (Iranian Bahaii from Kuwait) 
 Mr. Oubeid Ould Imijine (Haratin from Mauretania) 
 Mr. Moustafa Mouammad (Kurd from Syria) 
 Mr. Mohamed Badarne (Palestinian from Israel) 

The 2010 English-speaking fellowship is expected to take place at the
OHCHR office in Geneva from April to mid-July 2010. The application
deadline has passed and candidates are currently under consideration.
The names of successful candidates will be announced in this newsletter
and on the website below by the end of 2009. 

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

Contact person: Ilona Alexander ialexander@ohchr.org.


Regional Expert Consultation on Good Practices in Policing and Minority
Communities in Africa

OHCHR is organizing a "Regional Expert Consultation on Good Practices in
Policing and Minority Communities in Africa" which will be held on 12-13
October 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  The goal of the
consultation is to gather good practices in this field. Toward this end,
the OHCHR is inviting police officials from various countries of the
region to share their experiences.

Experts participating in the consultation are expected to highlight
experiences and good practices emanating from both the national and
regional levels and base their contributions on human rights law. The
consultation will build on the presentation of background papers
followed by discussions and conclusions on specific sub-thematic areas. 

Contact person for more information: Michele Buteau mbuteau@ohchr.org.


Independent Expert on minority issues

>From 6 to 15 July 2009, the Independent Expert on minority issues, Ms.
Gay McDougall, conducted an official visit to Kazakhstan, visiting
Astana, Almaty and surrounding regions.  The Independent Expert was
pleased to note a high degree of inter-ethnic and inter-religious
co-operation and tolerance in the country. However, she also identified
a number of issues that require further attention and action by the
Government, ranging from issues of minority representation and political
participation to minority language issues, education and freedom of
religion for some minority groups. The Independent Expert will present a
comprehensive report on her visit to Kazakhstan to the UN Human Rights
Council in March 2010. The statement of preliminary findings during this
visit can be found at:

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/minorities/expert/docs/KazakhtanStatement_E
nglish.doc.

The Independent Expert is now preparing for her next official country
visit -- to Canada - which is scheduled to take place from 13 to 23
October 2009. The Independent Expert will consult with Federal
Government representatives and visit Ontario, British Colombia and
Quebec. Furthermore, the Government of Colombia has confirmed that a
country visit by the Independent Expert can take place in the first
three months of 2010.  In July 2009 the Independent Expert, deeply
concerned by violence between Han and Uyghur communities in the Xinjiang
Uyghur autonomous region, requested to undertake an official visit
China.  

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


Forum on Minority Issues

The second session of the Forum will take place on 12-13 November 2009
at the United Nations, Palais des Nations in Geneva. Its thematic focus
will be: "Minorities and Effective Political Participation". The
discussions will seek to identify challenges and problems as well as
good practices in relation to minorities and political participation and
to consider opportunities, initiatives and solutions. The institutional
focus will be placed on ways to increase the effective participation of
minorities in national and local parliaments, "minority" parliaments,
advisory or consultative bodies; and central and local
governments/executive bodies at the national and local levels.

The Forum will seek to provide concrete and tangible outcomes in the
form of thematic recommendations of practical value to all stakeholders;
which will be included in the report by the Independent Expert on the
second session of the Forum session, which will be presented to the
Human Rights Council at its thirteenth regular session in March 2010. 

NGos and other stakeholders wishing to participate in the session must
register with the Secretariat by 16 October 2009. Accreditation and
registration information is available at: 
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/minority/accreditation_registrati
on_2nd.htm.

The Forum will be preceded by a workshop for invited minority political
actors (elected officials as well as NGO representatives) on 11 November
2009, with the objective of discussing the mechanisms needed to support
capacity-building and to increase minority political participation in
countries around the world.  

More practical as well as substantive information about the second
session of the Forum can be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/minority/forum.htm.

Contact Email for more information: minorityforum@ohchr.org


Second session of the Human Rights Council Expert Mechanism on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The Expert Mechanism held its second session from 10 to 14 August 2009
in Geneva. The experts discussed the Mechanism's draft study on
challenges to achieve the implementation of the right of indigenous
peoples to education and lessons learned. They further discussed the
implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples. Approximately 300 participants attended the session and lunch
time side-events, in addition to admiring art exhibitions and
participating in a celebration of the International Day of World's
Indigenous Peoples, which were all organized during the week. At the end
of the session, the Expert Mechanism adopted several proposals to be
considered by the Human Rights Council at its 12th session (September
2009), including a proposal to prepare a study on indigenous peoples'
right to participate in decision-making. The study on education and the
report of the second session of the Expert Mechanism as well as the
annual report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of the human
rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people will be presented
to the Council on 28 September 2009. The Council is expected to consider
the proposals submitted by the Expert Mechanism and adopt a resolution
on indigenous issues providing direction for future activities and
studies. 

Contact person for more information: Jose Parra jparra@ohchr.org


Social Forum

The second meeting of the Social Forum (SF) of the Human Rights Council
took place from 31 August to 2 September 2009 in Geneva.

As requested by the Council in its resolution 10/29, the 2009 SF focused
on: (i) National anti-poverty programmes: best practices of States in
implementing social security programmes from a human rights perspective;
(ii) Negative impacts of economic and financial crisis on efforts to
combat poverty; (iii) International assistance and cooperation in
combating poverty. The SF was attended by over 200 representatives of UN
Member States, civil society organizations, specialized agencies and
inter-governmental organizations.
The session's conclusions and recommendations will be presented to the
HRC in March 2010 by the Chairperson-Rapporteur Andrej Logar (the
Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia).

For more information, including panel presentations (to be posted in due
course), please visit:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/poverty/sfsession2009.htm.

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


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). 

At the 5th session of the UPR Working Group which took place from 4 to
15 May 2009 in Geneva the following 16 countries were reviewed: 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 outcomes of
the UPR regarding these countries will be adopted at the 12th plenary
session of the Human Rights Council (23-25 September 2009).

NGOs are invited to contribute information for consideration and
possible inclusion by OHCHR in a summary of stakeholders' input for
future 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 made 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. 

The sixth session of the UPR Working Group (WG) will be held from 30
November to 11 December 2009.  The following 16 countries will be
considered: Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial
Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Cyprus,
Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican
Republic, Norway, Portugal and Albania.
The seventh session of the UPR WG is scheduled to take place from in
February 2010 and will consider the following 16 countries: Angola,
Egypt, Madagascar, Gambia, Qatar, Fiji, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Bolivia,
Nicaragua, El Salvador, Italy, San Marino, Slovenia, and Bosnia and
Herzegovina.
The deadlines for the submission of stakeholders' input for these
sessions have passed.
The eight session of the UPR WG is scheduled to take place in May 2010. 
Submissions from NGOs are invited by the following deadlines:

 2 November 2009 for submissions on Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya,
Lesotho, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR; and 
 9 November 2009 for submissions on Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Spain,
Sweden, Turkey, Armenia, Belarus.
The ninth session of the UPR WG is scheduled to take place in December
2010.  Submissions from NGOs are invited by the following deadlines:
 12 April 2010 for submissions on Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,
Malawi, Mauritania, Lebanon, Maldives, Marshal Islands, Micronesia; and 
 19 April 2010 for submissions on Mongolia, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama,
United States of America, Andorra, Bulgaria, Croatia.

For these and future deadlines see
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/NewDeadlines.aspx. 
All available UPR documentation is posted at
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR.

The reviews are webcast live and archives can be accessed at
www.un.org/webcast/unhrc.

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

>From 22-26 June 2009, the Working Group of Experts on People of African
Descent undertook an official visit to Ecuador. The Working Group noted
that due to structural racism Afro-Ecuadorians, have been historically
excluded from gaining access to higher education, promotion to higher
ranks of state administration and decision-making bodies and that the
government may need to rectify this situation by considering adopting
affirmative action measures and a special legislation on
non-discrimination. During their visit to the communities of Cenepa on
Trinitaria Island and Batalla de Tarqui, both in Guayaquil, the members
of the Working Group were particularly concerned by the abject poverty
of these communities and the plight of the women and children that they
met. In the province of Esmeraldas, Afro-Ecuadorian youths are
additionally affected by high levels of violence, as a result of the
influence of illegal armed actors and an illicit drug trade. The Working
Group also held meetings with several Afro-Ecuadorian organisations,
through which it became clear that there is a need to highlight their
culture and heritage and underline its importance in Ecuadorian history
and national heritage.

The next sessions of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the
effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of
Action (DDPA) is planned for 5-16 October 2009, while that of the Ad Hoc
Committee on Complementary Standards is scheduled for 19-30 October
2009. 

E-mail contact for further information:
adusecretariat@ohchr.org. 


Treaty Bodies and country reviews

13 to 31 July 2009 - HRC

The Human Rights Committee held its 96thsession from 13 to 31 July 2009,
during which it considered State reports of the United Republic of
Tanzania, the Netherlands, Chad, and Azerbaijan. In addition, Country
Report Task Forces have met and adopted list of issues on reports
submitted by Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico, New Zealand and Uzbekistan.

In its concluding observations on the State report submitted by
Tanzania, the Committee expressed concern that the State party does not
recognize the existence of indigenous peoples and minorities in its
territory and regretted the lack of information about certain vulnerable
ethnic groups. It recommended the Government carry out, as a matter of
urgency, a study on minorities and indigenous communities living on its
territory, and adopt specific legislation and special measures to
protect, preserve and promote their cultural heritage and traditional
way of life. 

In its concluding observations on the State report submitted by the
Netherlands, the Committee expressed concern at reports of
discrimination against minorities in the workplace, including in
recruitment and selection. The Committee recommended the Dutch
government take active steps to ensure ethnic minorities have equal
access to employment opportunities, particularly through awareness
campaigns for the private sector and through adequate publicizing of
employment opportunities in the public sector among minority
communities. 

In relation to the State report submitted by Azerbaijan, the Committee
expressed concern at the lack of information on minorities and regret at
the absence of clarification by the delegation as to the steps taken to
address significant concerns, in particular the reductions in the legal
guarantees relating to the protection of minorities in the State party's
Law on the State Language (2002) and the absence of consultative
structures for representatives of minorities in the State party (art.
27). The Committee urged the State to ensure that members of minorities
enjoy their rights in full compliance with article 27 of the Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights and recommended the State party create a
national consultative organ including representatives of minorities, and
translate the report and the concluding observations into the main
minority languages spoken in Azerbaijan.

More information can be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/hrcs96.htm


20 July to 7 August 2009 - CEDAW

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women held
its 44th session from 20 July to 7 August 2009, during which it
considered State reports of Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Denmark, Guinea Bissau,
Lao People's Democratic Republic, Japan, Liberia, Spain, Switzerland,
Timor Leste, and Tuvalu. 

The Committee expressed regret at the lack of information and statistics
concerning minority women in Japan, as well as the lack of any proactive
measures, such as policy framework, to promote their rights. The
Committee recommended the Japanese state take effective measures,
including the adoption of a policy framework and temporary special
measures, such as appointing minority women representatives to
decision-making bodies, to combat discrimination against minority women.
The Committee further reiterated its request that the Japanese State
includes in its next periodic State party report information on minority
women, particularly with regard to education, employment, health, social
welfare and exposure to violence. The Committee also called for a
comprehensive study on the situation of minority women in Japan,
particularly from the Ainu, Buraku, Zainichi Korean and Okinawa
communities. 

The Committee further expressed concern on persistent media stereotyping
and negative portrayals of ethnic minority women in Switzerland. The
Committee recommended targeted measures for the media and educational
system to promote more positive images of ethnic minority women and
women from migrant backgrounds. The Committee called on the State party
to review these measures and include information on this matter in its
next State party periodic report. The Committee also expressed concern
about employment discrimination against women from non-Western ethnic
minority and migrant backgrounds, particularly as compared to the
treatment of European Union, US and Canadian women in Switzerland, and
about new provisions for married women required by the Foreign National
Act, which might pose difficulties for victims of violence to acquire or
renew Swiss residency permits. The Committee called upon the State to
take effective measures to end discrimination against minority and
migrant-background women, and to monitor the effects of its laws on
migrant communities. 

In relation to the report submitted by Spain, the Committee expressed
concern about the lack of positive media portrayals of minority women,
including Romani women and women of migrant backgrounds. The Committee
called upon Spain to strengthen its anti-discrimination efforts,
particularly through the adoption of targeted measures to promote
positive images of ethnic minority women in the media and educational
system.  The Committee also expressed regret about a general lack of
comprehensive data and information on the situation of ethnic minority
women with respect to education, heath, employment and social and
political participation. The Committee recommended the Spanish
government collect data on this issue and present it in its next State
party periodic report. 

More information can be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/cedaws44.htm


3 August to 28 August 2009 - CERD

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination held its 75th
session from 3 to 28 August 2009, during which it considered State
reports from Azerbaijan, Chad, Chile, China, Columbia, Ethiopia, Greece,
Peru, Philippines, Poland and the United Arab Emirates. 

It is observations on the State party report by Azerbaijan, the
Committee commended the government's National Plan of Action for the
Protection of Human Rights, including its provisions for strengthening
dialogue between cultures and protecting the cultural heritage of
national minorities. However, the Committee also expressed regret about
the lack of current statistical data on the employment of members of
ethnic minorities, and recommended Azerbaijan include such information
in its next periodic report. The Committee further expressed concern
about the absence of consultative structures for representatives of
minorities that would give them a voice in the legislative process, and
recommended the Azerbaijani government create a national consultative
organ, which would include representatives of minorities, to encourage
their participation in the decision-making process on policies that
interest and affect them.  Finally, the Committee expressed concern
about a lack of information as to whether the government is providing
education and instruction in Armenian for the 30,000 ethnic Armenians
living in Azerbaijan. The Committee encouraged the Azerbaijani
government to further examine this issue, and provide information in its
next State party report. 
 
In relation to the report submitted by China, the Committee welcomed the
adoption of a National Human Rights Action Plan for 2009-2010 and its
provisions for ethnic minorities. However, the Committee also expressed
concern about the lack of statistical data available on the
socio-economic status of ethnic minorities, and urged the Chinese
government to include such information in their next State party report.
The Committee further noted that the Chinese State has not adopted a
comprehensive law against racial discrimination, and recommended the
State adopt such a law at the national level to combat discrimination on
the grounds of race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin. The
Committee additionally expressed concern at reports of incentive systems
for workers to settle in minority regions, which could substantially
alter the demographics of these regions and negatively affect local
traditions and cultures. The issue of household registration was also
noted by the Committee, which expressed concern that it is being used
for de-facto discrimination against ethnic minorities. The Committee
suggested the Chinese government review these policies. In addition, the
Committee expressed concern that policies on administrative detention
and re-education through labour are being applied disproportionably in
relation to members of ethnic minorities, and requested further
information on this topic. The Committee also recommended the Chinese
government intensify its efforts to increase participation of all
minority groups in public service, political life and economic growth,
and whilst taking into account the intersectionality between ethnicity
and religion, ensure the respect for the right of all ethnic groups to
enjoy freedom of religion. To this end, the Committee also requested the
Chinese government strengthen its measures to reduce the high illiteracy
rates amongst certain ethnic minorities, provide free and open access to
health care services, and improve employment rates among ethnic
minorities. 
 
The Committee further commended the allotment of seats in the parliament
to ethnic minority groups and the recognition of these groups under the
Ethiopian Constitution. However, the Committee also registered its
concern at reports of continuing caste-like racial discrimination
against ethnic minorities. The Committee recommended the State undertake
a study about the spread and causes of this pattern of discrimination,
and take steps to combat it, providing further information on this issue
in its next State party report. 

In its concluding observations on the report submitted by Greece, the
Committee took note of the Greek State's definition of minority being
exclusively applied to the Muslim minority in Thrace, and called upon
the Greek government to conduct research to assess and evaluate the
incidences of racial discrimination affecting all groups based on
national or ethnic origin, and take steps to eliminate such
discrimination. In particular, the Committee requested more information
about the Turkish, Pomak and Romani groups that form the Muslim minority
in Thrace, and about the measures the government has taken to protect
the identity and human rights of these groups. The Committee also
expressed concern about reports of forced dissolution and refusal to
register some associations having words such as "minority", "Turkish" or
"Macedonian" in their titles. The Committee thus recommended that the
State party adopt measures to ensure the effective enjoyment by persons
belonging to every community or group of their right to freedom of
association and of their cultural rights, including the use of mother
languages. The Committee was also concerned with obstacles encountered
by Roma and Turkish-speaking persons, particularly in access to
employment, housing, health care and education, and recommended the
Greek government adopt adequate measures to improve the living
conditions and educational standards of these groups. 
 
In relation to a report submitted by Poland, the Committee noted with
appreciation the enactment of a Law on National Ethnic Minorities and
Regional Language, aimed at protecting minority languages. However, the
Committee remained concerned that the Romani population in Poland
continues to suffer social marginalisation and high poverty levels. The
Committee recommended the Polish State enhance its efforts towards the
full integration of the Roma into Polish society through improvement of
their living standards and poverty reduction. The Committee also
requested statistical data on the life expectancy and poverty levels in
Poland, disaggregated by region and ethnic group. 
 
The Committee further expressed regret over the lack of statistical data
on the rights enjoyed by ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples in the
Philippines. The Committee recommended the State use the 2010 census to
include indicators, disaggregated by ethnicity and gender on the basis
of voluntary self-identification, and provide the information in their
next State party report.

More information can be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/cerds75.htm 


14 September to 2 October 2009 - CRC

The Committee on the Rights of the Child will hold its 52nd session from
14 September to 2 October 2009, during which it will consider State
reports from Bolivia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Philippines and Qatar. The
Committee will also review State party reports from Poland and Yemen
under the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child
prostitution and child pornography and State party reports from Poland
and Turkey under the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the involvement of
children in armed conflict. 
More information can be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/crcs52.htm


12 October to 16 October 2009 - CMW

The Committee on Migrant Workers will hold its 11th session from 12 to
16 October 2009, during which it will consider State reports from Sri
Lanka. 
More information can be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cmw/cmws11.htm 


12 October to 30 October 2009 - HRC

The Human Rights Committee will hold its 97th session from 12 to 30
October 2009, during which it will consider State reports from
Switzerland, Moldova, Croatia, Russian Federation and Ecuador. In
addition, Country Report Task Forces will consider and adopt list of
issues on reports submitted by Cameroon, Columbia, El Salvador, Estonia,
and Israel.

More information can be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/hrcs97.htm


19 October to 23 October 2009 - CRPD

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will hold its
2nd session from 19 to 23 October. Within the framework of this session,
the Committee will hold on 21 October 2009 a day of general discussion
on Article 12 of the CRPD - The right to equal recognition before the
law.

More information can be found at:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/Session2.aspx 


2 November to 20 November 2009 - CESCR

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will hold its
43rdth session from 2 to 20 November 2009, during which it will consider
State reports from the Republic of Korea, Poland, Chad, Madagascar, and
the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
More information can be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/cescrs43.htm


23 November to 26 November 2009 - CESCR

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will hold a
pre-sessional working group from 2 to 20 November 2009, during which it
will consider State reports from Uruguay, Afghanistan, The Netherlands,
Switzerland, The Dominican Republic and Tanzania. 

More information can be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/cescrwg43.htm


2 November to 20 November 2009 - CAT

The Committee against Torture will hold its 43rdth session from 2 to 20
November 2009, during which it will consider State reports from
Azerbaijan, Columbia, El Salvador, Moldova, Slovakia, Spain and Yemen. 

More information can be found at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/cats43.htm

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