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At a time when minorities face increased challenges worldwide, the Europe-Central Asia Regional Forum will mark the 30th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities  by undertaking 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 Fora is available at the bottom of the website.   
 
Objectives
The Europe-Central Asia 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.
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 process
4.    Moving Forward: Reforming the Protection and Implementation of the Minority Rights Framework
 

Outputs 

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.

Format
The meeting will be held in a hybrid format:
  • at the Diplomatic Academy, Vienna School of International Studies
  • Virtually.  Details on joining the meeting will be provided by email to participants a few days before the event.  
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.
 
Participation 
The Europe-Central Asia 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 Europe-Central Asia region (see list of eligible countries in the document below), and with a clear focus and expertise on minority rights. 

All participants are encouraged to submit any proposed recommendations in advance of the Europe-Central Asia Regional Forum to marcus.oda@tomlantosinstitute.hu by Friday 29th April 2022.  All written recommendations submitted in writing are collated and considered as part of the final set of recommendations developed during the regional forum.
 
All individual participants must register online.   Registration will close 11pm CEST, Monday 25th April 2022.
 
For those wishing to participate physically, all travel related-expenses, visas, accommodation and insurances are the responsibility of the participants.  Due to current Covid rules in place, physical attendance will be limited to 100 people at this time.

There is limited funding for a very small number of individual participants, covering their travel and accommodation costs. The funds are prioritised for members of minorities to enable greater and diverse participation considering gender and geographic distribution. Priority will be given to minorities outside of the European Union in the first instance.  If you require funding, please download the Funding Application Form available here and submit it to regionalforum@tomlantosinstitute.hu. All requests for funding must be received by Monday 18th April 2022.

For online participants, details for joining the meeting will be sent following confirmation of registration, a few days before the event.
 

Simultaneous interpretation is anticipated in English, French, Russian and Romani

Details

Start: 2 May 2022
11:00
End: 3 May 2022
18:30
UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Tom Lantos Institute

Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, Favoritenstraße, Vienna, Austria

Favoritenstraße 15A
1040 Wien Wien
Austria

Related files

  • List of Eligible States_EUROPE РУС-1.pdf
  • List of Eligible States_EUROPE-1.pdf
  • List of Eligible States_EUROPE_fra-1.pdf
  • CONCEPT NOTE_FINAL.pdf

Sponsors

Partners

ELEN

European Centre for Minority Issues

EURAC Research

Global Campus of Human Rights

Ludwig Boltzmann Institute

Minority Dailies' Association

FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Below you will find answers to the questions we get asked the most.

 

  1. Venue of the meeting

The meeting will be held in a hybrid format:

  • at the Diplomatic Academy, Vienna School of International Studies, Favoritenstraße 15a, 1040, Vienna, Austria. https://www.da-vienna.ac.at/en/Contact   
  • Virtually using the Interactio platform. Details on joining the meeting will be provided by email to participants in advance of the event.
  1. Do I need a visa?

Each participant is responsible for making the necessary arrangements for travel and for obtaining a visa, if required. Information can be found here: https://www.bmeia.gv.at/en/travel-stay/entry-and-residence-in-austria/entrance-and-residence/visa/

It is recommended that participants contact the competent Austrian Embassy or Consulate to determine whether a visa is required https://www.bmeia.gv.at/en/embassies-consulates/search-for-austrian-representations/  

Please note that visa application procedures need to be started well ahead of time. Registered participants requiring a visa may contact minorityrights@bmeia.gv.at well in advance of the forum to obtain a letter of invitation.

  1. Are travel, accommodation and subsistence costs covered by the organizers?

For most participants, no.  All travel related-expenses, accommodation and insurances are the responsibility of the participant.  Participants are encouraged to check the cancellation policies and take out appropriate insurances.  If the event is cancelled and/or moved to an online event only, the Organizers will not be able to reimburse any travel expenses incurred.

There is limited funding for a very small number of individual participants. The funds are prioritised for members of minorities to enable greater and diverse participation considering gender and geographic distribution. Priority will be given to minorities outside of the European Union, in the first instance.  If you require funding, please download the Funding Application Form at the bottom of the website and submit it to regionalforum@tomlantosinstitute.hu. All requests for funding must be received by Tuesday 12th April 2022. Successful applicants will be notified by Friday 15th April 2022

  1. Are Covid 19 Regulations still in place?

Some regulations remain in place and can frequently change.  More information on the rules for entering Austria and when in Austria, can be found here.

  1. My organization cannot provide me with an authorisation letter, can I still apply on behalf of the organization?

No, an authorization letter is required if attending on behalf of an organization.  If a letter is not provided, a participant will be registered as attending as an individual.

  1. I have problems with attaching an authorization letter, what should I do?

The letter should be sent to regionalforum@tomlantosinstitute.hu.

  1. I am interested in attending the Regional Forum but I cannot attend all the sessions. Can I still apply?

Yes, there is no requirement to attend all sessions.

  1. I want to make an oral intervention during the event. Will that be possible and for how long?

Yes, interventions are possible in the 4 thematic sessions and are limited to 2 minutes.  Participants must follow the process set out in the Practical Information, which is emailed in advance of the event.

  1. Will there be an interpretation during the event?

Simultaneous interpretation is anticipated in English, French, Russian and Romani

  1. How and when will I find out whether my registration to the event is approved?

The organizers review every registration and aim to approve them within 5 days of registration.  A confirmation email will be sent once approved.

  1. I don’t live in the Europe-Central Asia region but my work is connected with the region. Can I still apply?

Yes.  Please make it clear in your registration how your work is connected to the region.

  1. I want to participate in the Regional Forum but I have security concerns. What should I do?

In the registration form respond "Yes" to the question: "Do you have security concerns regarding your attendance to the event?".  The organizers will then contact you by email.

13. Where can I see the results of the previous Regional Forum?

All documents of previous regional forums can be found here. 

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