The COVID-19 pandemic is generating suffering and damage in every region. It poses a far-reaching threat to human rights. As Secretary-General Guterres has warned, it threatens not only development, but also "enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict."

The pandemic is exposing the damaging impact of inequalities, in every society. Several high-risk and vulnerable groups, including minorities require greater attention, and mitigation measures, at this time.When an existential threat faces all of us, there is no place for nationalism or scapegoating – including of migrants and minority communities. There have been growing, and unacceptable, physical and verbal attacks on people of East Asian origin, and members of other minorities, and action should be taken to combat this.

Michele Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
(Statement at  the Human Rights Council briefing on COVID-19, 9 April 2020)

It has become emblematic of the excessive use of disproportionate force by law enforcement – against people of African descent, against people of colour, and against indigenous peoples, and racial and ethnic minorities, in many countries across the globe.

Michele Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
(Statement at the Human Rights Council 17 June 2020)


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)

العربية | 中文 |English | Français | русский | Español  (PDF)

Promoting and Protecting Minority Rights: A Guide for Advocates

Cover: A Guide for AdvocatesLanguage:
العربية | 中文 | English | русский | Español (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