Forum on Minority Issues

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Forum on Minority Issues

Most countries in the world have minorities within their populations. Approaches on minority issues vary from country to country depending on specific historical, economic, social, political, geographic and other factors. Despite this reality, common problems affecting minority communities are identifiable. Often these are related to the existence of structures or systems that have the effect of either perpetuating the marginalisation of minority communities from decision-making or of unfairly benefiting majority populations or dominant groups in the economic, social and political life of the country.

In recent years, a well defined interest in tackling issues affecting minorities has emerged. Awareness is growing that by meeting the legitimate interests of national or ethnic, religious and linguistic groups the principles of the United Nations Charter may be furthered. Thus, minority rights are being increasingly recognized as an integral part of the United Nation's work for the promotion and protection of human rights, sustainable human development, peace and security.

In order to ensure that difficulties faced by minorities worldwide are brought to the attention of UN member States, in 2007, the Forum on Minority Issues was established by the Human Rights Council (resolution 6/15). The Forum replaces the former Working Group on Minorities which had been established in 1995 by the Economic and Social Council (resolution 1995/31). It provides a platform for promoting dialogue and cooperation on issues pertaining to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, with a view to provide thematic contributions and expertise to the work of the Independent Expert on Minority Issues. It identifies and analyzes 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 meets annually for two working days allocated to thematic discussions.

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