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Gay McDougal, the Independent Expert on Minorities is Coming to Bangkok in 2008

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In January, 2008, FORUM-ASIA will be hosting a visit by the Independent Expert on Minorities.
In January, 2008 FORUM-ASIA’s Ethnic Minorities in Southeast Asia Programme (EM-SEAP) will be hosting Gay McDougal, the United Nations Independent Expert on Minorities for a sub-regional consultation. The focus will be on minorities in Southeast Asia and the key challenges that they face. Issues of minority groups, rather than definitions will be the main focus.

Key issues that will be discussed include civil and political rights, self-determination, anti-discrimination, economic, social and cultural rights, land rights and poverty.

The discussion will be open to all those who identify with minority issues. Focus will be on Southeast Asia, but NGOs from other regions in Asia may be invited to share experiences. The event hopes to raise awareness of minority issues and rights in the region as well to raise awareness of international standards for protection of minority rights. Minorities and their representatives will have the opportunity to share their concerns and discuss priorities. The Durban review process will also be a topic for discussion as little is known about it in the region.

The Independent Expert will report her findings on Southeast Asian minority rights issues to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in March 2008.

The EM-SEAP is in the initial planning phases of the consultation, for more information check the FORUM-ASIA website and upcoming EM-SEAP e-newsletters.