30th Anniversary UN Declaration on Minority Rights
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the rights of persons belonging to national, ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities on 18 December 1992 by consensus. Thirty years later, it remains the most important UN instrument devoted to minority rights, providing guidance and key standards ranging from non-discrimination to effective participation in decision-making at various levels and in every area of life.
This year-long promotion and celebration of the Declaration will focus on the theme “ALL in 4 Minority Rights”. The anniversary will focus on reinforcing the tenet that “the promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to national, ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities contribute to the political and social stability of States in which they live.”
Key messages for the campaign:
- Too often, minorities face multiple forms of discrimination resulting in marginalization and exclusion. The protection of their rights requires greater attention.
- Most victims of racial discrimination are minorities. Structural racism continues to support systematic injustice and inequality based on identity and are embedded in a complex range of social and economic factors. These discriminatory practices pose major challenges to the promotion and protection of the human rights of minorities, implementation of the Minority Declaration and the SDG commitment to leave no one behind.
- The pandemic and the rise in racial discrimination in its various forms have led to increased disenfranchisement, exploitation, victimisation and a clear disproportionate negative impact on minority communities.
- Examples in many States include rise in hate speech against minorities on social media; increase in violent incidents and atrocities against religious or belief minorities, surge in statelessness, threat to existence, increase in policies of assimilation and overall effort to erase identity and culture.
- Let us work together to make the Declaration a reality for minorities everywhere.
- Since its adoption and in the subsequent decades, the Declaration has provided guidance to States on various steps that could be undertaken to protect minority rights. However, in practice, the visibility and impact of the Declaration remains inadequate, its provisions misunderstood or misinterpreted, at best intermittently implemented and rarely invoked by national, regional and international bodies.
- The anniversary offers an opportunity to address these implementation gaps and serve as a catalyst for stronger, well-entrenched engagement on minority rights protection.
- States must renew their commitment to the Declaration.
- Minorities bring positive contributions to society. States that recognize and promote minority rights are more likely to remain stable and peaceful.
- Minorities’ rights protection contributes to the stability of society
- In countries where minority rights are protected peace prevails
- Minorities contribute to enriching culture in society
- Minorities bring skill complementarities to society toward prosperity.