MINELRES: UNHCHR Minority Newsletter: July 2007

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Tue Sep 25 19:38:36 2007

Original sender: Rita Izsak <RIzsak@ohchr.org>

Minority Update N5 - July 2007

OHCHR Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Unit
Email: fblyth-kubota@ohchr.org   

Table of contents
 Staffing at OHCHR
 Tools for understanding minority rights and issues
 Preparations for 60th Anniversary of UDHR - December 2008
 Independent Expert on Minority Issues
 Former Working Group on Minorities
 Future workshop with Roma representatives in Latin America 

Staffing at OHCHR 

Rita Izsak, a former OHCHR Minority Fellow has returned to work at OHCHR
for several months. She is working with the civil society unit on the
OHCHR NGO database.  

Rita's contact email is rizsak@ohchr.org

A further new staff member has joined the unit dealing with indigenous
peoples, minorities and funds. 
Having passed the National Competitive Examinations (NCE), Ilona
Klimova-Alexander has joined the minorities team at the Indigenous and
Minorities Unit. Ilona's PhD research (published as a book by Ashgate in
2005) at the University of Cambridge concentrated on the interaction
between Romani activists and the United Nations system. She has
previously worked as a consultant on minority issues for a number of
intergovernmental organisations. Ilona's email is ialexander@ohchr.org. 

Tools for understanding minority rights and issues 

Various documents for a better understanding of the UN Minorities
Declaration and good experiences in implementing its principles and
provisions have been prepared and considered, especially in the former
UN Working Group on Minorities. 

Attached to this update is a copy of the list of papers of the former UN
Working Group on Minorities and the present Independent Expert on
minority issues, and the pamphlets in the UN Guide for Minorities, by
theme and by country/region as well as the major studies or reports of
the Sub-Commission. These documents will be available on the web site in
the future at

60th Anniversary of UDHR preparations 
The 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in
2008 is fast approaching. The commemorative year will kick off on 10
December 2007, Human Rights Day, and will extend through 2008.  

The commemoration is intended to be as inclusive as possible,
highlighting the role of people everywhere as the custodians and
beneficiaries of the UDHR.  The message is that the UDHR is a living
document that can continue to inform and inspire the struggle for rights
and freedoms around the world if people reclaim it and make it our own. 
It is an articulation of two core principles of the UDHR:  Universality
and Justice.

The commemoration will encompass the UN family, the public and private
sectors, media, artists and other representatives of civil society.  

OHCHR will provide substantive guidance and supporting materials,
including background info, key messages and a symbol/logo.

A monthly update is being prepared on preparations for the 60th
Anniversary is being prepared. The first issue will come out in August. 
See web site home page for latest information: www.ohchr.org  

Background information to 10 December 1948 - Minority representatives
may wish to recall that GA res. 217 (III) adopted on 10 December,
contained several parts. Part A of that resolution was the adoption by
the General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In
Part C of that same resolution (GA res. 217 (III), the General Assembly
laid down that the UN can not remain indifferent to minorities. 

Independent Expert on Minority Issues

Ms Gay McDougall, Independent Expert on minority issues was invited to
be part of the jury for the Max van der Stoel Award.  Max van der Stoel
was the first High Commissioner on National Minorities of the OSCE from
1993-2001.  The Max van der Stoel Award is a prize of 50,000 Euro
presented biannually to an individual or institution in recognition of
extraordinary and outstanding achievements aimed at improving the
position of national minorities. 

Former UN Working Group on Minorities and the future

The UN Working Group on Minorities of the Sub-Commission no longer

The Human Rights Council will meet in September and during its 6th
session may discuss the question of any future forum or body on or for

NGOs have indicated their interest in preparing a campaign for retaining
an international forum for the participation of persons belonging to
minorities. Please contact or visit the websites of MRG and IMADR for
further information. 

Inter-agency meeting on minorities 

An inter-agency meeting on minorities is being organized for 3
September. A short Question and Answer document about minority rights
and issues is under preparation for consideration at this meeting. The
discussion is also likely to touch upon the question of a future UN
forum for minorities.  

Future Roma workshop in Latin America 

OHCHR is planning to organize a workshop in Argentina with Roma
representatives from South America during the month of September. 

Treaty bodies

The Human Rights Committee held its 90th Session from 9 to 27 July 2007
in Geneva. It considered the following reports of States parties to
Zambia, Sudan and the Czech Republic.  

No reference to minorities and article 27 of the ICCPR is contained in
the concluding observations of Zambia and Sudan. However, in the
concluding observations of Sudan it is recommended that the State party
"ensure that no financial support or materiel is channeled to militias
that engage in ethnic cleansing or the deliberate targeting of
civilians;".  Numerous references are made to Article 27 of ICCPR and
the rights and situation of the Roma in the concluding observations on
the Czech Republic. 

More information at http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/hrcs90.htm

Rita Izsak
Consultant, Civil Society Unit
Executive Direction and Management
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
UNOG-OHCHR, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 22 917 9106
Fax: +41 22 917 9004
E-mail: rizsak@ohchr.org

>From MINELRES moderator: the list of papers mentioned in the newsletter
is available online at

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