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First Regional Forum on Minority Issues to take place in Belgium

European Regional Forum on Education, Language and the Human Rights of Minorities
Brussels, 6-7 May 2019

GENEVA (2 May 2019) – The voices of minorities from around Europe will be at the forefront of the First Regional Forum on Minority Issues organised by the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Fernand de Varennes with the assistance of the Tom Lantos Institute.

About 150 participants from governments, United Nations mechanisms, bodies and specialised agencies, European intergovernmental organisations and mechanisms in the field of human rights, civil society representatives, including representatives of minorities will gather at the European Parliament in Brussels on 6 and 7 May to discuss the rights of linguistic minorities in the area of education, which is one of the thematic priorities of the Special Rapporteur.

The Forum will focus on:

  • Human Rights and minority language education
  • Public policy objectives and practices for education in minority languages
  • Effective practices in teaching of and education in minority languages
  • Resources and management for the effective implementation of human rights obligations

The discussions will provide regional insights and recommendations in relation to the topic ahead of the annual Forum on Minority Issues in Geneva scheduled to take place on 28 and 29 November at the United Nations.

The Forum is open to media, and interviews can be arranged with the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Fernand de Varennes, as well as Forum participants, who will be able to share their personal stories and perspectives.

About the European Regional Forum

ENDS

Background:

Pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 6/15 of 28 September 2007 renewed by resolution 19/23 of 23 March 2012, a forum on minority issues has been established to provide a platform for promoting dialogue and cooperation on issues pertaining to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, as well as thematic contributions and expertise to the work of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues. The Forum shall identify and analyze 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. The Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Mr Fernand de Varennes, is tasked to guide the work of the Forum, prepare its annual meetings and report on the thematic recommendations of the Forum to the Human Rights Council.

For additional information and media requests please contact:The Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues at: +41 22 917 9181 / minorityissues@ohchr.org).