Preventing violence and atrocity crimes against minorities

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Flickr: Digital Democracy /  2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

24 November 2014 – Today, over 500 participants, including international specialists on minority issues and representatives from States and minority communities from all regions, will gather in Geneva to seek new initiatives to prevent and respond to violence and atrocity crimes targeted against minorities worldwide.

“This is not a matter of history but a present day reality that requires national and international action to prevent or end violence, which is often perpetrated with complete impunity,” warned United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák.

UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré “Minorities continue to face violence or mass atrocities, as numerous situations show globally,” she said, announcing the seventh UN Forum on Minority Issues which continues its session until 26 November.

The Forum will focus on some of the key issues of global concern facing minorities: understanding the root causes of violence and atrocity crimes against minorities; improving the prevention of violence and atrocities; measures for resolution, protection and security after the violence has broken out; and key actors and activities to promote reconciliation, peacebuilding and managing of diversity in post-violence situations.

“The voices of minorities will once again be at the forefront of our discussions,” Ms. Izsák said. “Their personal experiences will help the Forum to consider initiatives to better prevent and respond to violence, and identify specific post-violence reconciliation measures to ensure lasting peace.”

The Forum provides a unique and inclusive venue for dialogue and for the elaboration of practical recommendations from all participants: UN Member States from all regions, minority communities, experts from UN bodies and specialized agencies, international organizations, academics and other experts.

A set of recommendations stemming from the session on preventing and addressing violence and atrocity crimes targeted against minorities will be presented to the Human Rights Council in March 2015.  

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The Forum on Minority Issues was established in 2007 by the Human Rights Council to provide a platform for promoting dialogue and cooperation on issues relating to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities. It identifies and analyses 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, under the guidance of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák.