30th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Minorities

Monday 3 October 2022


Dr Corinne Lennox, Senior Lecturer in Human Rights, was invited to speak at a UN General Assembly side event on 22 September on ‘The situation of minorities belonging to descent-based communities’ to mark the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Minorities. The panel was organised jointly by the Inclusivity Project (TIP), the Global Forum of Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent (GFoD) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva (OHCHR). It is estimated that globally, more than 260 million people are victims of descent-based discrimination. Dalits are the largest and most commonly known population, but the movement has also united communities including the Roma, Haratin, Osu, Quilombola, Oru, Barakumin, and Baraku, stretching across five continents.

The aim of the meeting was to assess the Declaration’s implementation as regards descent-based communities and identify legal and institutional gaps for the protection of minorities from descent-based communities. The panel also discussed finding ways to fill these gaps through the creation of new human rights instruments or the expansion and incorporation of descent-based communities within existing mechanism and definitions. Panellists included the Dr. Fernand de Varennes, UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issue, Dr Agnès Callamard, Secretary General, Amnesty International, and representatives from Minority Rights Group International, Civicus and the Open Society Foundation. Testimonies from communities in India, Mali, Brazil and Europe also featured. Dr Lennox has been working with this social movement on strategies for UN advocacy and also drew on findings from her book on Transnational Social Mobilisation and Minority Rights (Routledge 2020).