Promoting and Protecting Minority Rights
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Promoting and Protecting Minority Rights

A Guide for Advocates

Minorities make significant contributions to the richness and diversity of society, and States that recognize and promote minority rights are more likely to remain tolerant and stable. The United Nations and other intergovernmental organizations recognize that minority rights are essential to protect those who wish to preserve and develop values and practices which they share with other members of their community. This Guide offers information related to norms and mechanisms developed to protect the rights of persons belonging to national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities. It provides detailed information about procedures and forums in which minority issues may be raised within the United Nations system and in regional systems. It is hoped that this Guide will be useful in assisting minority advocates to make full and effective use of existing international mechanisms and, ultimately, to promote and protect the rights guaranteed under international instruments.
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UN

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The High Commissioner for Human Rights has the lead responsibility within the United Nations system for implementing the United Nations human rights programme. The High Commissioner plays an important role in promoting and protecting human rights through public statements, dialogue with Governments, liaison with United Nations and other bodies, and by ensuring that human rights, including minority rights, remain an integral part of the work of the United Nations. The High Commissioner can give voice to minorities facing discrimination. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner (OHCHR) services the main United Nations human rights bodies and mechanisms, and ensures that minority issues are regularly placed on the international human rights agenda.