Human Rights Council holds interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on minority issues


The Council has before it **Conclusions and recommendations of special procedures – Report of the Secretary-General **(A/HRC/43/65).

The Council has before it **Communications report of Special Procedures **(A/HRC/43/77).

Presentation of Reports under the Agenda Item on Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms

FERNAND DE VARENNES, Special Rapporteur on minority issues, presented a report on the recommendations of the twelfth session of the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues, held on 28 and 29 November 2019, which saw the involvement of over 1,000 participants from governments, United Nations bodies and non-governmental organizations. Three regional forums additionally provided expert input, establishing that linguistic education was central to the maintenance of minority ethnic cultures. The Forum had discussed human rights and minority language education, the public policy objectives for the teaching of such languages, effective practices for the education of these languages, and issues contributing to the empowerment of minority women and girls. The Forum had provided over 50 recommendations on these broad topics. The recommendations recognized the important role that the United Nations, civil society organizations and representatives of minority groups could play in ensuring the right to education for all.

KADRA AHMED HASSAN, Permanent Representative of Djibouti to the United Nations Office at Geneva and Chair-Rapporteur of the 2019 Social Forum, recalled that the Social Forum had taken place on 1 and 2 October 2019, had focused on the promotion and protection of the rights of children and youth through education. The Social Forum had assembled more than 650 participants and it had provided a platform for a strong multi-stakeholder dialogue, involving representatives from Governments, the United Nations and other inter-governmental organizations, civil society, youth representatives and leaders, children and academics. Ms. Ahmed Hassan presented some of the main recommendations that had emerged from the Forum. The Social Forum had recommended that all stakeholders respect, protect and fulfill all human rights of children and youth, especially education, in line with international human rights law and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The right to education must be enshrined in national laws, policies and strategies, and implemented concretely at the national and local levels. Furthermore, participants had emphasized that States should invest in universal, quality, inclusive education at all levels, particularly during conflict and emergencies. All stakeholders should strengthen child and youth participation by giving them a voice and engaging with them, Ms. Ahmed Hassan concluded.

JAVAID REHMAN, Member of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures, presented the report of the Coordination Committee’s twenty-sixth annual meeting on behalf of its Chair Anita Ramasastry. The purpose of the report was to explain how the Special Procedures system contributed to the United Nations’ human rights mandate. The level of cooperation with States had been broadly positive, with an increase in the number of States issuing standing invitations to Special Procedures. However, variance existed and some States did not respond to communications. An enhanced system of monitoring the status of country visits had been launched in 2020, and a webpage had been launched compiling examples of how the implementation of recommendations of mandate holders could lead to positive results. Despite these positive developments, 2019 had been a challenging year for the Special Procedures, with a global retrenchment against the values of international human rights law. Financial constraints, as well as threats to the work of mandate holders hampered their work and should be condemned. The upcoming meeting of the Committee in May offered another opportunity for States to engage with it.

YVETTE STEVENS, Chair-Rapporteur, presenting the report on the contribution of the Human Rights Council to the prevention of human rights violations pursuant to Council resolution 38/18, noted that prevention was indeed at the heart of the mandate and activities of the Human Rights Council. The report had focused on actions to prevent human rights violations occurring in the first place, as well as early action to address violations before that escalated into conflict situations, while recognizing that prevention could also occur both during and after conflicts. Ms. Stevens reminded that by identifying structural gaps existing in Member States and providing advice and recommendations to Governments, the Council and its various mechanisms contributed to long-term prevention. They also served as alert mechanisms. It was critical that Council mechanisms rethought the way in which they operated and reflected on the preventive impact they had had in the past, in order to assess which actions to replicate and what should be improved, Ms. Stevens explained. For its part, the Council should require all its mechanisms to adopt a long-term approach to prevention, which would entail the development of incremental responses adapted to each context, with set objectives and more tailored, results-based and time-bound advice and recommendations.

Source: UN Human Rights Council