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Forum on Minority Issues established

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gay_mcdougall.jpgA forum on minority issues has been established according to Human Rights Council resolution 6/15 of 28 September 2007, to provide a platform for promoting dialogue and cooperation on issues pertaining to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.


This forum will also provide thematic contributions and expertise to the work of the independent expert on minority issues.

The Forum shall identify and analyze best practices, challenges, opportunities and initiatives for the further implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities .

The Forum will meet annually for two working days allocated to thematic discussions. The independent expert on minority issues, Ms Gay McDougall, shall guide the work of the Forum and prepare its annual meetings and shall report on the thematic recommendations of the Forum to the Human Rights Council.

The same resolution has requested the President of the Human Rights Council to appoint for each session, on the basis of regional rotation, and in consultation with regional groups, a chairperson of the Forum among experts on minority issues: Ms. Viktória Mohácsi, was appointed in May.

Dates and venue of the 1 st session of the Forum

The inaugural session of the Forum will take place on 15 and 16 December 2008 at the United Nations, Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

Thematic focus of the 1 st session of the Forum

The thematic focus of the 1st session of the Forum will be: "Minorities and the right to education" . 
Substantive contributions and papers addressing issues of access to education for members of minority groups are welcome.

These papers can be made available to the Forum's participants by their authors during the Forum's session in hard copies.

Participation in the Forum on Minority Issues
Human Rights Council resolution 6/15 establishes that:

* the Forum shall be open to the participation of States, United Nations mechanisms, bodies and specialized agencies, funds and programmes, intergovernmental organizations, regional organizations and mechanisms in the field of human rights, national human rights institutions and other relevant national bodies, academics and experts on minority issues and non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council;

* the Forum shall also be open to other non-governmental organizations whose aims and purposes are in conformity with the spirit, purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, based on arrangements, including Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31 of 25 July 1996, and practices observed by the Commission on Human Rights, through an open and transparent accreditation procedure in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the Human Rights Council, which will provide for the timely information on participation and consultations with States concerned.

Further details of how non-governmental organizations are able to participate in the Forum and the accreditation procedure will follow.

Secretariat contact details

The Secretariat for the Forum on Minority Issues can be contacted at the following address: [email protected] or by writing to OHCHR Forum on Minority Issues, c/o Ms Sylvie Saddier-Calame ( Mailing address: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Palais Wilson, United Nations Office at Geneva, Room 3-093, CH-1211, Geneva 10, Switzerland;

Tel: +41 (0)22 917 9331; Fax: +41 (0)22 917 9006 ).