“Minorities in all regions of the world continue to face serious threats, discrimination and racism, and are frequently excluded from taking part fully in the economic, political, social and cultural life available to the majorities in the countries or societies where they live.”

Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (
Statement on Human Rights Day, 10 December 2009)


All countries in the world include persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, enriching the diversity of their societies. Although a great variety of minority situations exist, common to all is the fact that, too often, minorities face multiple forms of discrimination resulting in marginalisation and exclusion. Achieving effective participation of minorities and ending their exclusion requires that we embrace diversity through the promotion and implementation of international human rights standards.

The protection of the rights of minorities is provided for under article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and article 30 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities is the document which sets essential standards and offers guidance to States in adopting appropriate legislative and other measures to secure  the rights of persons belonging to minorities.  Overall, States through their commitments under treaty law, and minorities themselves, or their representatives can influence the human rights monitoring and implementation procedures and work toward securing effective participation and inclusion.
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Selected Publications

Minority Rights: International Standards and Guidance for Implementation

Minority Rights: International Standards and Guidance for ImplementationMinority Rights: International Standards and Guidance for Implementation (HR/PUB/10/3)

Arabic | Chinese |English | French | Russian | Spanish  (PDF)

Promoting and Protecting Minority Rights: A Guide for Advocates

Cover: A Guide for AdvocatesLanguage:
Arabic | Chinese | English | Russian | Spanish (PDF)

Guidance tool on descent-based discrimination

Cover: Guidance tool on descent-based discriminationLaunched in March 2017
English (PDF)

Guidance Note of the Secretary-General on Racial Discrimination and Protection of Minorities

Cover: Guidance Note of the Secretary-General on Minorities English (PDF)

Logo Minority Rights 2012