HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL HOLDS PANEL DISCUSSION TO COMMEMORATE THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF MINORITIES

13 March 2012

The Human Rights Council at a midday meeting today held a panel discussion to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.

Kyung-wha Kang, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, opening the panel discussion, said that the violation of minority rights constituted a wide-scale problem, which affected all regions of the world with multiple manifestations ranging from attacks on religious minorities to the systematic exclusion of minorities from decision making in economic and public life. It had contributed to statelessness and other serious human rights challenges around the world. The protection of minority rights was a key factor in the prevention of conflicts and atrocities as well as in peace-building.  More

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OHCHR Indigenous Fellowships Programme 2013 – CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has announced call for applications for its Indigenous Fellowships Programme for 2013.

The Indigenous Fellowship Programme was launched in 1997 by the  OHCHR in the context of the first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People. The aim of the programme is to give indigenous persons the opportunity to gain knowledge on the UN system and mechanisms dealing with human rights issues in general and indigenous issues in particular. Trained participants are better equipped to assist their organisations and communities in protecting and promoting their rights. This training programme is available in 4 languages: English, Spanish, French and Russian. More

LAO PDR: Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination discusses Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Italy with NGOs

Committee on the Elimination
of Racial Discrimination

27 February 2012

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination this morning held an interactive dialogue with non-governmental organizations from Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Italy. The reports of those two countries will be reviewed by the Committee this week.

Representatives of non-governmental organizations in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic raised a number of issues concerning the situation of indigenous minorities, saying that the Hmong population faced systematic violence and discrimination by the Lao Government. Deforestation was affecting the rights of indigenous people. Ethnic minorities were often subjected to forced displacement. Young girls and women faced a high risk of sexual trafficking. More

VIETNAM: Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination discusses situation in Viet Nam and Canada with non-governmental organizations

20 February 2012

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination this morning held an interactive dialogue with non-governmental organizations from Viet Nam and Canada. The reports of those two countries will be reviewed by the Committee this week.

Representatives of non-governmental organizations in Viet Nam raised a number of issues concerning discrimination against the Montagnard Degar people in Viet Nam including arbitrary detention for men, forced sterilization among women, land confiscation without compensation and the unlawful imprisonment of 400 individuals for their Christian faith and exercising their right to peaceful assembly. Speakers also noted the racial discrimination against the Khmer Krom indigenous people in the Mekong Delta of Viet Nam whose ancestral lands were confiscated by the Government and whose religious freedom was denied on the grounds that these minorities were a threat to society. More

BANGLADESH: Open-pit coal mine project in Bangladesh threatens human rights – UN experts

Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

28 February 2012 –

The construction of an open-pit coal mine in Bangladeshcould displace hundreds of thousands of people and jeopardize their access to basic needs, a group of United Nations independent human rights experts warned today.“The Government of Bangladesh must ensure that any policy concerning open-pit coal mining includes robust safeguards to protect human rights. In the interim, the Phulbari coal mine should not be allowed to proceed because of the massive disruptions it is expected to cause,” the experts said in a statement.The group noted that if opened, the proposed mine would immediately displace an estimated 50,000 to 130,000 people, with up to 220,000 potentially being affected over time as irrigation channels and wells dry up.In addition, the project would reportedly extract 572 million tons of coal over the next 36 years from a site covering nearly 6,000 hectares, and destroy some 12,000 hectares of productive agricultural land. More

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