At a time when minorities face increased challenges worldwide, the Africa-Middle East Regional Forum, organised with the support and cooperation of the Kingdom of Morocco, will mark the 30th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minoritiesby undertakin g a critical assessment of its problem-solving capacity through a gap analysis focusing on the normative framework, institutions and mechanisms facilitating implementation, and the effectiveness of minority participation in norm-making and norm-adherence. The aim is to formulate concrete recommendations for the improvement of the regional and global minority protection regimes.
In 1992, the UNDM was adopted in response to the reconfiguration of the international order following the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. ‘The fate of minorities’ was at stake, echoing the same calls made by the UN in 1948, when the General Assembly adopted a resolution on this important issue of global concern. The 30th Anniversary of the UNDM represents a key opportunity for all concerned to take stock of the state of minority rights protection, to identify gaps in the minority protection regime, and to assess how such gaps fuel threats to minorities and the protection of their rights, and to make recommendations on the ways forward. It is time to ‘Review, Rethink, Reform’ the global recognition, protection and promotion of the rights of minorities for a secure life in a diverse and just world.
The full concept note for the 2022 Regional Forums is available below.
The Africa-Middle East Regional Forum will provide regional insights, which will feed into the thematic work of the Special Rapporteur for his report to the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in March 2023. Furthermore, discussions will inform the work and recommendations of the 15th session of the Forum on Minority Issues, which will take place in Geneva in December 2022.
Specific objectives include:
- Identify how the existing global and regional minority protection regimes (norms, institutions and mechanisms) can be improved to be more effective at preventing and addressing domestic minority rights violations and at the promotion of minority rights;
- Assess the ways regional forums can bridge the gaps between domestic, regional and global protection regimes;
- Design action plans and platforms for local, regional and global civil society cooperation for the effective implementation of minority rights;
- Based on the presentations and discussions held at the regional forums, develop specific recommendations to address the gaps identified in relation to the improvement and effectiveness of the global and regional minority protection regimes.
- Provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to exchange good practices in promoting the rights of minorities in the region
Areas of Discussion
In light of the main objectives of the regional forum, the discussions will address the following overarching themes. These will be informed by the framework of international human rights law and standards:
1. Normative framework: existing norms and interpretations
2. Implementation: Institutions, Mechanisms, Policies, and Programmes
3. Minority participation as a procedural and substantive right and practice
4. Moving Forward: Reforming the Protection and Implementation of the Minority Rights Framework
Based on the discussions and the contributions of the participants, the main output produced from the regional forum will be a document with practical recommendations reflective of regional contexts and challenges.
The format of the regional forum will consist of an opening plenary session followed by thematic panels, which will address each thematic issue in greater detail. The aim of these discussions will be to develop a set of recommendations.
The Africa-Middle East Regional Forum shall be open to the participation of states; intergovernmental organizations including United Nations agencies and mechanisms; national human rights institutions and other relevant national bodies; academics and experts on minority issues; representatives of minorities as well as civil society organizations specializing in minority issues.
Participation is open to individuals involved in minority issues in the Africa-Middle East region (see list of eligible countries at the bottom of the website) and with a clear focus and expertise on the promotion and protection of the human rights of minorities.
All individual participants must register online here.
Registration will close at 11pm CEST, Monday 31 August 2022.
Simultaneous interpretation is anticipated in Amazigh, Arabic, English, French and International Sign Language