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SIXTH ANNUAL SESSION OF THE FORUM ON MINORITY ISSUES TO BE HELD AT THE PALAIS DES NATIONS ON 26 AND 27 NOVEMBER
25 November 2013

GENEVA (25 November 2013) – The voices of religious minorities from around the world will be at the forefront of the sixth United Nations Forum on Minority Issues this year, organised and guided by the United Nations Independent Expert on minority issues, Rita Izsák, and chaired by minority rights expert Hedina Sijerèiæ.

“Globally, persons belonging to religious minorities face daily violations of their rights including their minority rights. They experience discrimination, social exclusion, marginalization and in many instances harassment, persecution and violence,” Ms. Izsák said. “The reality is that in all regions the rights of religious minorities continue to be poorly implemented in practice.”

Over 500 participants from all regions will gather in Geneva on 26 and 27 November 2013 to discuss some of the key issues of global concern facing religious minorities: protection of the existence of and prevention of violence against religious minorities; promotion and protection of the identity of religious minorities; and key actors and activities to promote interfaith dialogue, consultation and exchange.

“The Forum on Minority Issues provides a global venue for dialogue on the issues of religious minorities and for the elaboration of practical recommendations for all,” the expert noted. “It also offers a unique opportunity for minorities to help shape tools and guidelines based on their own experiences.”

This year, States, alongside representatives of religious minority communities and religious leaders, experts from UN bodies and specialized agencies, academics and other experts, will highlight challenges that face religious minorities globally as well as showcasing positive practices that exist to protect and promote their rights.

A set of recommendations emanating from the session on guaranteeing the rights of religious minorities will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2014. 

Simultaneous translation in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish will be provided.
 
Meeting times will be 10:00 a.m. to 13:00 p.m. and 15:00 to 18:00 p.m. Side events will take place from 13:00 to 15:00 p.m. on both days and full details will be provided in advance and on the website of the Forum.

Every year, as instructed by the UN Human Rights Council, the Independent Expert on minority issues organises and guides a Forum on minority issues to provide a platform for promoting dialogue and cooperation on issues of national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities. The Forum aims at identifying and analysing 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. Check the Declaration: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/Minorities.aspx

For more information about the Forum on minority issues, visit:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Minority/Pages/Session6.aspx
 
Contact the Forum Secretariat: +41 22 917 9697 / Minorityforum@ohchr.org

For further information and media requests, please contact Ms. Kim Turcotte, (+41 22 917 9697 / kturcotte@ohchr.org), Graham Fox (+41 22 91 79640 / gfox@ohchr.org) or  write to minorityforum@ohchr.org.

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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For use of the information media; not an official record

HR13/346E