United Nations

A/51/536


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

22 October 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                        A/51/536
                                                              

General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 110 (b)


            HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS:  HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS, INCLUDING
            ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES FOR IMPROVING THE EFFECTIVE ENJOYMENT
                   OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS

              Effective promotion of the Declaration on the Rights of
              Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and
                             Linguistic Minorities

                        Report of the Secretary-General


                                   CONTENTS

                                                              Paragraphs Page


 I.   INTRODUCTION .........................................    1 - 11     4

II.   PROMOTION AND PROTECTION BY STATES OF THE RIGHTS OF
      PERSONS BELONGING TO NATIONAL OR ETHNIC, RELIGIOUS AND
      LINGUISTIC MINORITIES ................................   12 - 44     5

      A. Protection of the existence of persons belonging
         to minorities ....................................    13 - 14     5

      B. The right to enjoy their own culture .............    15 - 18     5

      C. The right to practise and profess their own
         religion .........................................    19 - 20     7

      D. The right to use their own language ..............    21 - 25     7

      E. The right to participate effectively in decisions
         at the national level ............................    26 - 27     8

      F. The right to establish and maintain their own
         associations .....................................       28       9

      G. The right to establish and maintain, without any
         discrimination, free and peaceful contacts with
         other members of their group and with persons 
         belonging to other minorities, as well as contacts
         across frontiers with citizens of other States to
         whom they are related by national or ethnic, 
         religious or linguistic ties .....................       29      9
                                                                             
      H. Equality before the law ..........................       30      9
                                                                             
      I. The right to learn their mother tongue, have
         instruction in their mother tongue and, through
         education, to have opportunities to gain knowledge
         of the society as a whole ........................    31 - 38    9

      J. Mechanisms, procedures and other measures to 
         promote and protect the rights of persons 
         belonging to minorities ..........................    39 - 41   11

      K. Commitments under international treaties and
         agreements .......................................    42 - 44   12

III.  ACTIVITIES OF THE RELEVANT ORGANS AND BODIES OF THE
      UNITED NATIONS GIVING DUE REGARD TO THE DECLARATION
      WITHIN THEIR MANDATES ................................   45 - 69   12

      A. Commission on Human Rights .......................    45 - 46   12

      B. Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and
         Protection of Minorities .........................    47 - 55   13

      C. High Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights ........    56 - 69   16

IV.   SPECIALIZED AGENCIES AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS OF THE
      UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM ................................   70 - 79   20

      A. United Nations Children's Fund ...................    71 - 73   20

      B. United Nations Centre for Human Settlements
         (Habitat) ........................................       74     20

      C. International Labour Organization ................       75     21

      D. United Nations Educational, Scientific and
         Cultural Organization ............................    76 - 79   21

 V.   TREATY BODIES ........................................   80 - 112  22

      A. Human Rights Committee ...........................    80 - 85   22

      B. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights     86 - 90   23

      C. Committee on the Elimination of Racial
         Discrimination ...................................    91 - 102  24

      D. Committee on the Rights of the Child .............   103 - 112  26

VI.   SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS AND SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVES ......  113 - 132  28

VII.  INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS ......................  133 - 139  34

VIII. NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS .......................  140 - 145  36

IX.   CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ......................  146 - 151  37



                               I.  INTRODUCTION


1.   The General Assembly, at its fiftieth session, adopted resolution 50/180
of 22 December 1995 on effective promotion of the Declaration on the Rights of
Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities,
by which the Assembly urged States and the international community to promote
and protect the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious
and linguistic minorities, as set out in the Declaration; called upon the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to promote, within his
mandate, the implementation of the Declaration and to continue to engage in
dialogue with Governments concerned for that purpose; and urged all treaty
bodies and special representatives, special rapporteurs and working groups of
the Commission on Human Rights and the Subcommission on Prevention of
Discrimination and Protection of Minorities to give due regard, within their
respective mandates, to the promotion and protection of the rights of persons
belonging to minorities.

2.   The Assembly also requested the Secretary-General to report to it at its
fifty-first session on the implementation of the resolution under the item
entitled "Human rights questions".

3.   Pursuant to that resolution, the Secretary-General, by communications
dated 22 and 31 May 1996, invited States, and interested intergovernmental and
non-governmental organizations, to submit their contributions to the Centre
for Human Rights by 1 August 1996.

4.   As of 30 August 1996, replies had been received from the Governments of
Angola, Austria, 1/ Estonia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Kuwait, Lithuania,
Mauritius, San Marino, Switzerland and Ukraine.

5.   The League of Arab States also sent a reply.

6.   Information was also provided by the relevant special rapporteurs,
special representatives, the working groups of the Commission on Human Rights
and the Subcommission, giving due regard to the Declaration, and to the
promotion and protection of persons belonging to minorities within their
mandates.

7.   The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights submitted
information on his activities in the field.

8.   Replies were also received from the Department of Humanitarian Affairs,
the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Centre for
Human Settlements (Habitat), the United Nations University (UNU), the
International Labour Organization (ILO), and the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

9.   The Council of Europe sent a document on the work it is currently
undertaking in the field of minority protection.

10.  Replies were also received from two non-governmental organizations: 
Liberal International and the Minority Rights Group.

11.  The present report is submitted to the General Assembly in pursuance of
resolution 50/180.


               II.  PROMOTION AND PROTECTION BY STATES OF THE RIGHTS
                    OF PERSONS BELONGING TO NATIONAL OR ETHNIC,
                    RELIGIOUS AND LINGUISTIC MINORITIES

12.  The information received from Austria, Estonia, Germany, Greece,
Iceland, Lithuania, Mauritius, San Marino, Switzerland and Ukraine is
summarized below, in accordance with the principles contained in the
Declaration.


        A.  Protection of the existence of persons belonging to minorities
            (articles 1.1 and 1.2)

13.  The Government of Austria stated that it guaranteed constitutional
protection for ethnic groups in Austria to maintain and develop their own
identity, with particular reference to their language and culture.  Such
legislative protection was provided for at federal and La"nder levels. 
Germany guaranteed the rights of persons belonging to minorities under its
constitution, the Basic Law.  Under that Law, minorities were entitled,
without discrimination, to foster their own culture, to profess and practise
their own religion and to use their own language both in private and in
public.  Furthermore, the constitutions of five La"nder of Germany contained
provisions relating to national minorities and ethnic groups and/or national
and ethnic minorities which were given substance through statutes, ordinances,
laws and administrative practice.

14.  The Government of Lithuania stated that it provided protection of the
existence of persons belonging to minorities through the Constitution and the
Law on National Minorities.  The Government of Mauritius stated that the
rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic
minorities were guaranteed through a combination of constitutional provisions,
which were fully compatible with the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, statutory legislation and common law.  The Government of
Ukraine reported that the existence, identity and characteristics of
minorities were protected by the new Constitution, the Declaration on the
Rights of Nationalities, the Citizenship Act, the National Minorities Act, the
Education Act, the Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations Act, and
the Fundamentals of Ukrainian Legislation on Culture.


            B.  The right to enjoy their own culture (article 2.1)

15.  The Government of Austria stated that some La"nder provided television
and radio programmes in minority languages such as in Slovene.  Ka"rnten
organized, for example, an annual international congress for ethnic groups,
and a cultural week for members belonging to the Slovene ethnic group. 
Cultural and language programmes on Austrian radio and television were
broadcast in seven languages other than German.  Germany promotes the culture
and language of minorities and specific programmes run by the La"nder, and
municipal authorities target foreigners residing in Germany.

16.  The Law on National Minorities of Lithuania provided for the freedom of
persons belonging to minorities to form and establish ethnic cultural
organizations at their own expense.  The historical and cultural monuments of
ethnic minorities were considered a part of the cultural heritage of Lithuania
and were thus under the protection of the State.  With reference to the media,
Lithuania guaranteed press and information in the languages spoken by ethnic
minorities - newspapers and magazines were published in Russian, Polish,
Belarusian Ukrainian, German and Yiddish.  In 1994, 93 magazines and
newspapers had been published in languages other than Lithuanian, with some
publications in the Hebrew, Karait and Tatar languages.  State radio and
television programmes were broadcast in the Russian, Polish, Tatar, German,
Belarusian and Ukrainian languages.  Ethnic minorities had State and private
radio stations and publishing houses, and the Russian and Polish television
programmes were retransmitted on the territory of Lithuania.

17.  Several trust funds had been set up in Mauritius to protect the culture
of minorities, namely, the African Culture Trust Fund, to preserve and promote
African culture and disseminate information pertaining thereto, the Ilois
Trust Fund Act, to promote the social and economic welfare of the Ilois and
the Ilois community in Mauritius, the Islamic Cultural Centre Trust Fund Act,
to preserve and promote Islamic art and culture and disseminate valuable
information pertaining to Islamic art and culture, and the Mahatma Gandhi
Institute Act 1982, to establish a centre of studies of Indian culture and
traditions and to promote education and culture generally.

18.  The Government of Ukraine stated that it was taking steps to preserve
and revive the distinctive national and cultural character of the ethnic
groups that lived on its territory.  The Fundamentals of Ukrainian Legislation
on Culture guaranteed Ukrainian citizens, inter alia, equal cultural rights,
the freedom to develop the languages and cultures of all ethnic groups and
respect and support for their ethnic revival.  The State offered
organizational and financial assistance to almost 270 national cultural
societies belonging to national minorities.  On their initiative and with
State support, national minority cultural centres, schools, theatres, museums
and libraries had been established along with clubs and optional courses where
minorities could be taught by speakers of their native languages.  The
cultural and informational needs of national minorities were met by the 48
newspapers published in their languages.  Programmes in minority languages
were broadcast on television and aired on the radio.  The draft State
programme for the development of culture among minorities up to the year 2000
provided for the fuller satisfaction and promotion of a wide range of general
cultural needs among the country's ethnic groups.


             C.  The right to practise and profess their own religion
                 (article 2.1)

19.  The Government of Iceland stated that the freedom of belief and religion
was protected by the Constitution, according to which people had a right to
establish associations and each person was free to practise his or her
religion by himself or herself or in association with others, in accordance
with his or her convictions.  Religious association outside the National
Church of Iceland might be founded without an obligation to give notice to
government authorities of its establishment or operation.

20.  The Government of Lithuania provided constitutional guarantees of the
freedom of religion enabling every person to freely choose any religion or
faith and, either individually or with others, in public or in private, to
manifest his or her religion or faith in worship, observance, in practice or
teaching. The State recognized traditional Lithuanian churches and religious
organizations provided that they had a basis in society and their teaching and
rituals did not contradict morality and law.  Those included the Roman
Catholic, Greek Catholic, Evangelic Lutheran, Evangelic Reformer, Orthodox,
Old Faith, Jewish, Muslim Sunnites and Karait confessions.  More specifically,
article 2 of the Law on National Minorities of Lithuania guaranteed ethnic
minorities the right to profess any or no religion, and to perform religious
or folk observances in their native language.  Church services were conducted
in the Lithuanian, Russian, Polish, German, Ukrainian, Hebrew, Arabic and
Latvian languages, and the Lithuanian Russians, Poles, Ukrainians, Germans,
Latvians, Muslim Sunnites, Jews and Karaits had their own houses of prayer.


             D.  The right to use their own language (article 2.1)

21.  The Government of Austria stated that in addition to German, the
languages of ethnic groups could be used as official languages.  In some
areas, Croat and Slovene could be used officially in addition to German, on
condition that the members of ethnic groups had Austrian citizenship.

22.  The Government of Lithuania reported that it respected every ethnic
minority language.  Nevertheless, article 14 of the Constitution stipulated
that the Lithuanian language was the State language.  The requirement to know
the State language, however, could not be applied to employees who, according
to the nature of their work, did not have to communicate with other persons
officially or conduct office work in Lithuanian.  In 1995, the State programme
on the use and training of the State language for the period 1996-2005 had
been adopted which provided, inter alia, for means for teaching Lithuanian to
persons belonging to other nationalities.

23.  In addition, the Constitution of Lithuania provided that court
proceedings were conducted in the State language but that persons who did not
speak Lithuanian had to be guaranteed the right to participate in
investigation and court proceedings through an interpreter.  The Law on
National Minorities stipulated that in offices and organizations located in
areas serving a substantial number of minorities with a different language,
the language spoken by that minority might be used in addition to Lithuanian. 
The Law on the State Language specifically provided that it should not
regulate unofficial communication of the population and the language of events
of religious communities.

24.  The Government of Switzerland reported that on 10 March 1996, the Swiss
people had voted, by 76 per cent in favour, for the adoption of a new
constitutional article on the Latin languages.  That provision aimed at
reinforcing the protection of the Latin languages, Italian and Romanche.  More
specifically, the Romanche language thus became an official fourth language of
Switzerland but only in respect of relations between Romanche-speaking
citizens and the Confederation, who could now use Romanche in their contacts
with the Federal Administration and Federal Tribunal.  Furthermore, every
person could use Romanche in public and in private, in writing or orally;
newspapers and periodicals could be published in Romanche without restriction;
and it could be used in primary, secondary and vocational schools.  In
addition, the new article 116 of the Constitution also obliged the
Confederation and the cantons to encourage understanding and exchange between
the linguistic communities and obliged the Federal Administration to grant
support to the measures taken by the cantons in respect of the safeguard and
promotion of the Romanche and Italian language.  The article ensured the
continuing use of Romanche, strengthened the identity of the various
linguistic groups, and reflected the solidarity of the Swiss in respect of
minorities on their territory.

25.  The Government of Ukraine stated that under article 7 of the National
Minorities Act, the language of a national minority might be used in State
bodies, public associations, businesses, institutions and organizations on a
par with Ukrainian, anywhere where the majority of the population belonged to
that national minority.


               E.  The right to participate effectively in decisions
                   at the national level (article 2.3)

26.  The Government of Austria reported that ethnic groups were represented
at the national level by ethnic councils whose aim it was to further the
collective cultural, social and economic interests of the various ethnic
groups in Austria. The councils could suggest improvements to the situation of
the groups they represented, and could make proposals to the La"nder
Governments if so requested. Those included the Croat, Hungarian and Roma
ethnic councils in the "Burgenland", and the Croat, Czech, Roma and Slovak
ethnic councils in Vienna.

27.  The Government of Greece stated that 12 Muslim prefectural Councillors
had been elected in the prefectures of Xanthi and Rhodopi in October 1994. 
The Government of Ukraine mentioned that Ukrainian legislation gave public
organizations belonging to ethnic minorities the right to put forward
candidates for election to national and local office and the opportunity to
exert an active influence on the shaping and execution of State policy in
spheres that affected minority interests.  Representatives of 12 nationalities
were members of the Ukrainian parliament and the Council of Representatives of
Public Associations of National Minorities of Ukraine operated as a
deliberative body under the Ministry of Nationalities and Migration, the
central executive organ dealing with inter-ethnic relations.  The local
authorities in areas inhabited by national minorities had similar deliberative
bodies.


          F.  The right to establish and maintain their own associations
              (article 2.4)

28.  The Government of Austria stated that many associations of ethnic groups
sought to develop their own language and culture, and collectively represent
the interests of their members, and the Government of Lithuania stated that
ethnic communities might administer independently the affairs of their ethnic
culture, education and organizations.


              G.  The right to establish and maintain, without any
                  discrimination, free and peaceful contacts with
                  other members of their group and with persons
                  belonging to other minorities, as well as
                  contacts across frontiers with citizens of other
                  States to whom they are related by national or
                  ethnic, religious or linguistic ties (article 2.5)

29.  The Law on National Minorities of Lithuania guaranteed persons belonging
to minorities the freedom to establish contacts with persons of the same
ethnic background abroad.


                   H.  Equality before the law (article 4.1)

30.  The Government of Iceland stated that the Constitution stipulated that
everybody should be equal before the law and enjoy human rights without regard
to, inter alia, national origin, race, colour or other status.


           I.  The right to learn their mother tongue, have instruction
               in their mother tongue and, through education, to have
               opportunities to gain knowledge of the society as a whole
               (articles 4.3 and 4.4)

31.  The Government of Austria stated that in Ka"rnten, members of the Croat,
Slovene and Hungarian ethnic groups had an individual right to receive
instruction in their mother tongue, on condition that they had Austrian
citizenship.  In the "Burgenland", instruction was available in Croat,
Hungarian or Romany.  In minority schools, education could be provided for in
two languages, namely, the minority language and German, or in only the
minority language.  Teachers who taught in both the minority language and
German were granted additional income benefits.  Instruction to learn the
mother tongue of a minority was available to children of ethnic groups, and
included Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Kurdish, Polish, Croat, Serb,
Serbo-Croat, Slovak, Slovene and Turkish, as was instruction of a minority
language as a foreign language.

32.  Estonia stated that the new 1993 Law on Cultural Autonomy for Ethnic
Minorities granted all national minorities the right to establish private but
State-financed schools, in which a minority's own language served as the
language of instruction.  In addition to numerous Russian language schools, a
Swedish and Jewish minority language school had been established. 
Belarusians, Finns, Ukrainians and Armenians had some primary school classes
where their languages were used in the classroom.  In addition, several other
ethnic minority groups arranged lessons in their native languages and culture
at Sunday schools, as a first step towards opening full-fledged schools in
their native languages.

33.  In Germany, La"nder legislation on school education took into account
the interest of persons belonging to national minorities and ethnic groups in
using and being educated in the minority language.  State assistance was
provided for the preservation of the language of minorities and ethnic groups
in school education, wherever feasible and justified in terms of the number of
students. Depending on the student's linguistic background, the language in
question was either used as a medium of instruction or was taught as a
language.  Such education was available at all school levels, starting with
municipal and private kindergartens and including both public and private
schools maintained by the national minority, which received the same financial
support from the State as public schools.

34.  In October 1995, the Government of Greece passed a new law regulating
matters pertaining to the education of the minority in Thrace.  The law aimed
at upgrading the quality of the education afforded to Muslim Greek citizens
and at facilitating their educational development.  In order to increase the
quality and continuity of teaching in minority schools, the law required that
teacher training graduate studies, foreign language skills, and familiarity
with other cultures, civilizations, and religious practices be taken into
account during the appointment of teachers to minority schools.  Furthermore,
the law established special financial and retirement incentives for teachers
who chose to teach at minority schools.  Finally, the law established an
affirmative action programme for the admission of Muslim minority students to
Greek higher educational institutions (universities and technical institutes).

The law provided for a minimum quota for minority students, thus offsetting
the disadvantages faced by many Muslim students during the national university
entrance examinations, owing mostly to Greek language difficulties, and
facilitating their integration into the social fabric of the country.  The
Greek State also provided substantial financial support for the operational
expenses of minority schools and new minority primary and secondary schools
were currently being constructed.

35.  The Government of Iceland stated that primary schools were open to all
children without discrimination on the basis of, inter alia, residence, social
class or religion.  Although priority was granted to teaching Icelandic, care
was taken to respect the rights of immigrants to maintain their mother tongue
and culture.  The Ministry of Education had financed an experiment in
mother-tongue instruction, in which a group of pupils from Viet Nam received
teaching and training in their mother tongue concurrently with teaching in
Icelandic.  That experiment was intended to provide information on whether
mother-tongue instruction had a direct influence on how rapidly and how well
pupils gained fluency in Icelandic.  In addition, the Ministry of Education
was to organize and finance the publication of practical information on
schooling in the languages of the most numerous immigrant groups in Iceland.

36.  The Law on National Minorities of Lithuania provided for the right to
schooling in the minority language, with provision for pre-school, elementary
and secondary school education as well as provision for groups, faculties and
departments at institutions of higher education to train teachers and other
specialists needed by ethnic minorities.  Pre-school institutions had
Lithuanian, Russian, Polish, Jewish and Belarusian language groups and
instruction in secondary schools was available in Lithuanian, Russian, Polish,
Belarusian, German and Hebrew.  In addition, an elementary class with
instruction in Ukrainian had been opened at one of the schools in Vilnius in
September 1995.  Furthermore, the Constitution provided for young people
seeking admission to the technical schools and universities of Lithuania to
take entrance examinations in the language in which they were taught in
elementary schools, namely, Lithuanian, Russian or Polish.  Technical and
higher educational institutions had groups and specialities in which education
was provided in the Lithuanian, Russian, Polish and Belarusian languages.

37.  In Mauritius, no religious denomination and no religious, social, ethnic
or cultural association or group were to be prevented from establishing and
maintaining schools at its own expense.  Denominational schools might be
established and the school was not entitled to discriminate as to who might
attend it.

38.  The Government of Ukraine stated that, given the educational needs of
ethnic groups, a network of general schools offering instruction in a variety
of minority languages was being set up.  Language of instruction was provided
in Russian, Romanian, Hungarian, Moldovan, Hebrew, Polish and Crimean Tatar. 
Over 60 Sunday schools allowed pupils to study their native languages and
students from national minorities could also study their native languages in
optional courses or in clubs.


                 J.  Mechanisms, procedures and other measures to
                     promote and protect the rights of persons      
                     belonging to minorities                        

39.  Germany, together with Denmark, had agreed to set up a European Centre
for Minority Issues in Flensburg, Germany, to undertake research,
documentation, information and counselling on issues concerning national
minorities and traditional ethnic groups in Europe, to contribute towards the
efforts to alleviate the tensions involving minorities arising in many areas
of Europe. 

40.  The Law on National Minorities of Lithuania provided for a Committee on
Ethnic Minorities to address the cultural and social needs and interests of
ethnic minorities, and solve the problems of ethnic minorities and Lithuanian
emigrants.  In addition, a Department of Ethnic Minorities was functioning
under the Ministry of Education, public committees of ethnic minorities might
be established by local government Councils, and a Council of Ethnic
Communities coordinated the activities of public organizations of ethnic
minorities.  With reference to the issue of citizenship, the Government of
Lithuania stated that it could be acquired by every person permanently
residing on the territory of the Republic.  However, persons who were citizens
of another State, as well as stateless persons, were qualified as foreigners. 

41.  The Government of Ukraine stated that it had endorsed an ad hoc
programme of priority action to settle and re-establish Crimean Tatars and
members of other nationalities who had returned to the Crimea, after having
been deported on account of their nationality during the years of totalitarian
rule.  In addition, a special State programme had been drawn up to address the
cultural, spiritual, educational and socio-economic problems of the 12 million
ethnic Ukrainians living abroad.


          K.  Commitments under international treaties and agreements

42.  Germany had signed the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the
Protection of National Minorities in May 1995.  With respect to the scope of
application of the Framework Convention after ratification, Germany stated
that it would apply only to the Danes of German citizenship, the members of
the Sorbian people with German citizenship and members of ethnic groups
traditionally resident in Germany, namely, the Frisians of German citizenship
and the Sinti and Roma of German citizenship.  Germany had also signed the
Council of Europe European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and was
currently considering its obligations to protect minority languages
traditionally spoken in Germany, namely, Danish, High Sorbian, Low Sorbian,
North Frisian, Saterfrisian and Romany of the German Sinti and Roma as well as
the regional language, Lower German, with a view to initiating the legislative
procedures to prepare ratification of the Charter. 

43.  San Marino mentioned that the Government had signed the Council of
Europe Framework Convention.

44.  The Government of Lithuania stated that the rights of persons belonging
to national, linguistic or religious minorities were protected by bilateral
and multilateral treaties.  It had signed bilateral treaties with Belarus,
Poland, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, in which the rights, freedoms and
duties of national minorities residing in those countries were set out in
detail.  


           III.  ACTIVITIES OF THE RELEVANT ORGANS AND BODIES OF THE
                 UNITED NATIONS GIVING DUE REGARD TO THE DECLARATION
                 WITHIN THEIR MANDATES                              

                        A.  Commission on Human Rights

45.  The Commission on Human Rights, at its fifty-second session held in
1996, considered the reports prepared by the Secretary-General on the subject
(A/50/514 and E/CN.4/1996/88).  It adopted two resolutions relevant to the
rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic
minorities.  In resolution 1996/20 of 11 April 1996, the Commission urged
States and the international community to promote and protect the rights of
persons belonging to minorities, as set out in the Declaration, including
through the facilitation of their full participation in all aspects of the
political, economic, social, religious and cultural life of their society and
in the economic progress and development of their country; called upon the
Secretary-General to make available, at the request of Governments concerned,
qualified expertise on minority issues, including the prevention and
resolution of disputes, to assist in existing or potential situations
involving minorities; called upon States and the Secretary-General to give due
regard to the Declaration in their respective training programmes for
officials; called upon the High Commissioner for Human Rights to promote,
within his mandate, the implementation of the Declaration and to continue to
engage in a dialogue with Governments concerned for that purpose; urged all
treaty bodies and special representatives, special rapporteurs and working
groups of the Commission on Human Rights to continue to give due regard,
within their respective mandates, to the promotion and protection of the
rights of persons belonging to minorities; and invited States, interested
governmental and non-governmental organizations, special representatives,
special rapporteurs and working groups of the Commission on Human Rights to
continue to submit, as appropriate, contributions as to how they promote and
give effect to the Declaration. 
 
46.  In resolution 1996/19 of 11 April 1996 on tolerance and pluralism as
indivisible elements in the promotion and protection of human rights, the
Commission called upon States to promote and enhance tolerance, coexistence
and harmonious relations between ethnic, religious, linguistic and other
groups and to ensure that the values of pluralism, respect for diversity and
non-discrimination are promoted effectively; called upon the Commission to
attach the highest priority to the effective promotion of the values of
democracy, pluralism and tolerance; and invited the High Commissioner for
Human Rights and the Centre for Human Rights, through its programme of
advisory services and technical cooperation, to advise or assist countries,
upon request, to put in place effective safeguards, including appropriate
legislation, to guarantee the full enjoyment of all human rights by all
segments of their population, without discrimination of any kind. 


               B.  Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and
                   Protection of Minorities                                   

  
Working Group on Minorities

47.  The Subcommission, at its forty-eighth session in 1996, considered the
reports of the Working Group on Minorities at its first and second sessions. 
The details of the first session are contained in document
E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/2. 

48.  The second session of the Working Group was held at Geneva from 30 April
to 3 May 1996.  The members of the Subcommission and the Working Group met in
informal session on 29 April, when the role, procedures and possible outcome
of the Working Group were discussed, the agenda adopted and the annotations to
the agenda considered. 

49.  The Working Group was attended by the following independent experts,
members of the Working Group:  Mr. Mohammed Sardar Ali Khan (India),
Mr. Jose' Bengoa (Chile), Mr. Stanislav Chernichenko (Russian Federation),
Mr. Asbjorn Eide (Norway) and Mr. Ahmed Khalil (Egypt).  A number of observer
States participated, as well as representatives of specialized agencies and
intergovernmental organizations.  The Working Group was well attended by
representatives of non-governmental organizations, and scholars versed in the
subject.  The High Commissioner addressed the Working Group at the opening
session. 

50.  The deliberations at the second session centred on the agenda and its
annotations, contained in documents E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.5/1996/1 and Add.1
respectively, in accordance with the mandate of the Working Group as set out
by the Commission on Human Rights in its resolution 1995/24, namely, to review
the promotion and practical realization of the Declaration on the Rights of
Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities;
examine possible solutions to problems involving minorities, including the
promotion of mutual understanding between and among minorities and
Governments; and recommend further measures, as appropriate, for the promotion
and protection of the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic,
religious and linguistic minorities.

51.  The following essential recommendations were adopted by the Working
Group: 

     (1) In order to better review the promotion and practical realization of
         the Declaration, the Working Group decided to collect information on
         the constitutions and legislation of States in respect of the
         protection and promotion of the rights of minorities, and to
         commission the preparation of short studies on the content and scope
         of the core principles contained in the Declaration, including the
         formulation of specific and concrete recommendations for their
         application in different countries and regions of the world.

     (2) The Working Group decided to explore ways in which national,
         regional and international monitoring mechanisms could be
         established and strengthened, as a means to record the progress made
         in promoting and protecting the rights of persons belonging to
         minorities and identify the problems encountered. 

     (3) The Working Group decided to focus on particular themes, such as
         multicultural education, the use of language, the enjoyment of
         culture, the role of the media, and the issue of minorities and
         territorial integrity; to that end, the Working Group decided to
         hold seminars to discuss some of those issues in greater depth and
         decided that more substantive information on the existence of
         national recourse and conciliation machineries be submitted, in
         particular on how such mechanisms have been established, how they
         function, and how successful they are.

     (4) The Working Group decided to increase its cooperation with the High
         Commissioner for Human Rights in the implementation of his programme
         on minorities, more specifically, to strengthen his preventive
         activities and enhance his responses to minority situations
         warranting urgent action.  Furthermore, the relationship between the
         Working Group and the treaty bodies, the thematic rapporteurs and
         special representatives will be developed, allowing for the Working
         Group to act as a focal point on their respective activities in the
         field of minority protection. 

     (5) The Working Group recommended that collaboration and cooperation
         with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
         (UNHCR) and the specialized agencies, in particular the
         International Labour Organization (ILO), and the United Nations
         Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), be
         strengthened, and new avenues of cooperation sought with, inter
         alia, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development
         (UNRISD), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 
 
     (6) The Working Group decided that Governments be encouraged to
         establish mechanisms which could facilitate dialogue and
         conciliation between minorities and Governments.  Particular
         reference was made to the situation of minorities which was brought
         to the attention of the Working Group.  Information on the
         activities undertaken in that field should be submitted to the
         Working Group. 

52.  The report of the Working Group at its second session is contained in
document E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/28. 

Comprehensive programme for the prevention of discrimination and protection of
minorities

53.  In compliance with Subcommission decision 1995/110, Mr. Eide,
Subcommission expert, was requested to prepare a second working paper
containing further suggestions for a comprehensive programme for the
prevention of discrimination and protection of minorities, including proposals
for the examination of thematic issues relating to racism, xenophobia,
minorities and migrant workers. It contains comprehensive information on the
past achievements of the Subcommission in this field, requirements for the
development of a broader strategy focusing in particular on the activities and
mandate of the Subcommission, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination, the Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination
and the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism,
racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.  In his
conclusions, Mr. Eide recommended, inter alia, that greater attention be paid
to the role of the mass media in promoting and protecting the rights of
persons belonging to minorities, the strengthening of human rights education
to combat prejudice and racial discrimination, further monitoring of the
principles contained in the Declaration, and the issue of citizenship and the
rights of stateless persons. The report, submitted to the Subcommission at its
forty-eighth session, is contained in document E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/30.

Joint study on article 7 of the International Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Racial Discrimination

54.  At its forty-eighth session, the Subcommission adopted decision
1996/120, in which the Subcommission requested that two members of the
Subcommission and two members of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination prepare a joint working paper on article 7 of the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.  Article
7 calls on States Parties to adopt immediate and effective measures,
particularly in the fields of teaching, education, culture and information,
with a view to combating prejudices which lead to racial discrimination and to
promoting understanding, tolerance and friendship among nations and racial or
ethnic groups.  The working paper is to be submitted to the two bodies at
their respective sessions in August 1997. 

Resolution on the protection of minorities

55.  The Subcommission adopted resolution 1996/17 on the protection of
minorities in which, inter alia, it endorsed the recommendations of the
Working Group on Minorities at its first and second sessions; urged the
Working Group to continue to act as the main forum for consideration and
possible resolution of problems between minorities and Governments, as well as
among minorities themselves, drawing on the expertise of scholars, among
others, including those present at its sessions; invited the Working Group to
elaborate on the content and scope of the rights contained in the Declaration;
invited the Working Group to increase its cooperation with the High
Commissioner for Human Rights with a view to strengthening his preventive
activities and enhancing his responses to minority situations warranting
urgent action; and encouraged States to facilitate dialogue and cooperation
between and among minorities and majorities, and to provide information to the
Working Group on mechanisms established for that purpose. 


                 C.  High Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights

56.  The High Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights has been continuing to
assist the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the Commission
and the Subcommission in the effective promotion of the Declaration. 

57.  Promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to
minorities constitute an integral and significant part of the High
Commissioner's mandate as set out in General Assembly resolution 48/141 of 20
December 1993.  More specifically, in its resolution 49/192 of 23 December
1994, the General Assembly entrusted him with the responsibility to promoting
the implementation of the principles contained in the Declaration and
continuing to engage in a dialogue with Governments concerned for that
purpose.  Protecting the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic,
religious and linguistic minorities is also an imperative deriving from the
Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on
Human Rights on 25 June 1993. 2/  The World Conference reaffirmed the
obligation of States to ensure that persons belonging to minorities might
exercise fully and effectively all human rights and fundamental freedoms
without any discrimination and in full equality before the law in accordance
with the Declaration.

58.  The High Commissioner has adopted a programme of activities on the
protection of persons belonging to minorities.  The framework for this
programme has been defined by the mandate of the High Commissioner, which can
be divided into three major interrelated and overlapping activities in respect
of which he can, inter alia, act as a facilitator, with preventive functions
as the common element.  The programme is thus composed of the three following
major activities:  promotion and implementation of the principles of the
Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic,
Religious and Linguistic Minorities, and rights contained in other relevant
international instruments; cooperation and coordination with other bodies and
organs of the United Nations, including with the international human rights
community, and the programme of technical assistance and advisory services;
and, dialogue with Governments and all other parties concerned with minority
issues.  The activities which the High Commissioner has undertaken in the
field of minority protection have focused on the implementation of the
above-mentioned programme. 

59.  The High Commissioner has given his full support to the activities of
the Subcommission Working Group on Minorities and the implementation of its
recommendations.  In his introductory statement to the Working Group at its
second session, the High Commissioner reaffirmed the commitment of the
international community in the field of minority protection and recalled the
resolutions of the various legislative bodies of the United Nations relating
to the promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to
minorities. He expressed his willingness to facilitate the coordination among
the various organs and bodies of the United Nations to strengthen the
protection of minorities.  His office was in the process of establishing a
programme of international activities regarding minorities focusing on the
relevant international standards, education campaigns, and the establishment
of commissions for the improvement of community relations as a possible
conflict resolution mechanism.  The preventive activities of his Office were
highlighted, as well as the provision of expert advice concerning capacity-
building at the national and local levels. 

60.  The High Commissioner has continued to develop cooperation with
international organizations, including regional ones, aimed at the promotion
and protection of rights of persons belonging to minorities and resolution of
problems related thereto.  He strongly believes that the coordination of
efforts should enable these organs and bodies to work as an integrated human
rights system. 

61.  In his endeavour to facilitate inter-agency cooperation and catalyse the
efforts of all relevant United Nations agencies and programmes in this area,
the High Commissioner organized an inter-agency meeting on minorities on
21 August 1996 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.  The aim of the consultation
was to exchange information on minority-related activities, share ideas and
experiences, and discuss future collaboration in the field of minority
protection. 

62.  The representatives of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, the
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Centre for Human
Settlements (Habitat) (UNCHS), the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR), ILO, UNESCO, the World Health Organization (WHO), the International
Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC) provided information about their activities related to the
promotion and protection of persons belonging to minorities.  With reference
to future collaboration, it was stressed that effective channels of
communication were crucial in establishing a collaborative relationship and
that it was important to identify the type of information to be shared.  The
following areas in which cooperation could be strengthened were suggested: 
collection of legislation protecting the identity and characteristics of
minorities, education for and about minorities, discrimination in the area of
labour, and housing rights, the right to a nationality, the incorporation of
minority concerns into the mainstream activities of the agencies and the
relevant training and other programmes, and minority-related issues to be
raised at the Commission on Human Rights.  In conclusion, it was suggested
that the next meeting, to be held in early 1997, focus on one or two subjects
of mutual concern to the agencies.

63.  The High Commissioner has continued to engage in a constructive dialogue
with Governments, in particular on the occasion of his visits to Austria,
Bhutan, Burundi, Estonia, India, Latvia, Lithuania, Rwanda, the former
Yugoslavia and the United States of America.  In some of his country visits,
the High Commissioner has referred to issues relating to minorities as complex
human problems.  He has appealed for full respect for human rights of persons
belonging to minorities as expressed in the United Nations Declaration, the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international
instruments.  During his country visits, the High Commissioner, in addition to
government officials, has met with representatives of minority groups.

64.  The High Commissioner has sent observers to Burundi who will participate
in efforts aimed at preventing and limiting human rights violations and
inter-ethnic violence.  With reference to the war-torn societies of the former
Yugoslavia, the High Commissioner mentioned that the priorities of the human
rights programme should, inter alia, include the establishment of a programme
for the protection of minorities for the former Yugoslavia.  

65.  The General Assembly, in its resolution 49/184 of 23 December 1994,
proclaimed the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education, 1995-2004,
and requested the High Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights to coordinate the
implementation of the Plan of Action for the Decade, which stressed that
special emphasis should be given to, inter alia, the human rights of
minorities.  The activities of the High Commissioner have centred on carrying
out a survey on human rights education, including the collection of
information on education for and about persons belonging to minorities, the
establishment of advisory boards at the national level and the translation of
the Universal Declaration on Human Rights into local languages, including
minority languages. 

66.  On 30 and 31 May 1996, staff of the High Commissioner/Centre for Human
Rights participated in a regional Conference to address the problems of
refugees, displaced persons, other forms of involuntary displacement and
returnees in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and
relevant neighbouring States.  The objectives of the conference process are to
provide a reliable forum for the countries of the region to discuss population
displacement and refugee problems; to review the population movements taking
place in the CIS countries, clarifying the categories of concern; and to
elaborate a non-binding programme of action for the CIS countries.  A set of
principles were adopted which contain various provisions of relevance to the
protection of persons belonging to minorities, including the right to a
nationality, the right to enjoy or be granted citizenship, and protection
against statelessness (principle 15 (a), (b) and (c), and the rights of
persons belonging to minorities to enjoy their own culture, to profess and
practise their own religion, and to use their own language and to develop
their ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious identity in conformity with
international law, in particular the Declaration on the Rights of Persons
Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities
(principle 16 (a) and (b)). 

67.  The participants in the Conference also laid down the institutional and
operational frameworks for the achievement of durable solutions for population
displacement problems of the CIS countries, including preventive measures
which stressed the need to promote and protect the rights of persons belonging
to minorities.  Reference was made to the promotion and the use of minority
languages in the areas of education and culture, in legal procedures before
courts and in relations with administrative authorities, by the media, as well
as in the economic and social fields.  It was emphasized that the
establishment and maintenance of unimpeded contacts among persons belonging to
a national minority, as well as contacts across frontiers by persons belonging
to a national minority with persons with whom they share a common ethnic or
national origin, cultural heritage or religious belief, contributes to mutual
understanding and promotes good neighbourly relations.  The report of the
Conference is contained in document CISCONF/1996/6.  

68.  In the area of technical cooperation in the field of human rights, a
number of meetings have been held in Turin, Italy over the course of 1996 as
part of a wider training programme in human rights for members of the armed
forces. Training seminars have been undertaken for senior military instructors
from the Balkan and Central Asian States, for senior military instructors from
Lusophone African States, and for United Nations peacekeeping military
instructors.  In addition, an expert consultation meeting was held in Geneva
on human rights training for military officers from 21 countries of Africa,
Asia, Europe, North America, and Central and Latin America.  The topics
discussed during the seminars included human rights and humanitarian law
principles, the military and the rule of law, the military in civilian
policing duties, and the democratic process and the rule of law. 

69.  At these training seminars, the participants discussed the respect for
the rights of persons belonging to minorities within the framework of national
interest and international peace and security.  Reference was made to the
minority-related provisions in international human rights instruments,
including the Declaration, such as the rights to use their own language, to
run their own schools, and to take part in the political, economic and
cultural life of their country.  The Armed Forces High Command was urged to
take concrete measures aimed at protecting and promoting the rights of persons
belonging to minorities by eliminating discrimination against the members of
minority groups and taking positive administrative steps to ensure that the
armed forces were genuinely representative of the national community in their
ethnic, linguistic, religious, regional and national composition. 


             IV.  SPECIALIZED AGENCIES AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS OF THE
                  UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM                                       

  
70.  The substantive information submitted by UNICEF, UNCHS, ILO and UNESCO
is summarized below. 


                      A.  United Nations Children's Fund

71.  On 22 January 1996, the Executive Board of UNICEF had adopted a new
Mission Statement which stated that UNICEF was guided by the Convention on the
Rights of the Child and strove to establish children's rights as enduring
ethnical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children.

In view of the virtual universal ratification of the Convention, UNICEF
supported the efforts of its main partners, the Governments, in implementing
the principles contained therein, including article 30, which referred to the
protection and promotion of the rights of children belonging to minorities. 
For example, it cooperated with Governments in their preparation of State
party reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and provided
technical assistance for the review and reform of national legislation and for
the establishment of national mechanisms to monitor the implementation of
children's rights.

72.  In addition, UNICEF either organized or supported activities that aimed
to examine discrimination against minorities, racism and intolerance in order
to facilitate better understanding of those issues.  Those included activities
using the education for development approach in the areas of advocacy and
training; research studies by the International Child Development Centre in
Florence, Italy; workshops that addressed issues of religious, ethnic and
cultural discrimination; and dissemination of the Convention on the Rights of
the Child to the public in numerous local languages.  UNICEF was also involved
in prevention and education for peace campaigns, based on combating racism,
intolerance and xenophobia.  More specifically, it was concerned about
protecting the rights of children of minority groups who were often victims of
discrimination and made up a disproportionate number of children who were
commonly categorized as "children in especially difficult circumstances".  

73.  Overall, UNICEF had expanded its scope of analysis, updated strategies
and generally increased its activities worldwide to protect the rights of
children.  It was developing appropriate programme guidelines that took into
account the need for special protection measures for children who were the
most disadvantaged as a result of the difficult circumstances in which they
lived, and was increasingly addressing issues of discrimination and
intolerance that affected the well-being of many children belonging to
minorities and vulnerable groups throughout the world. 


           B.  United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)

74.  Information was provided by the Centre on the references to minorities
included in the Habitat Agenda and the Global Plan of Action adopted by the
Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements.  With reference to a
participatory approach to sustainable human settlements through the
development and support of strategies and mechanisms that encouraged open and
inclusive dialogue among all interested parties, it was stressed that special
attention needed to be paid to minorities.  As for research on the extent to
which population groups were exposed to environmental degradation and hazards,
reference was made to particularly vulnerable groups such as minorities.  It
was mentioned that the Centre was also committed to protecting and maintaining
the historic, cultural and natural heritage of indigenous and other people,
and that Governments, as enabling partners, should create and strengthen
effective partnerships with vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, indigenous
people and communities.  The Habitat Agenda placed a great deal of emphasis on
the particular problems of minorities, although not always using that
particular term.    


                     C.  International Labour Organization

75.  The Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or
Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities was relevant to the work that ILO
carried out within its mandate, in particular its programmes linked to the
promotion of ILO Convention No. 111 of 1958, the Convention concerning
Discrimination in respect of Employment and Occupation, and certain other
international labour standards.  In that respect, the Special Survey on
Convention No. 111 had recently been examined by the Conference Committee on
the Application of Standards.  ILO had also made significant contributions on
the subject of minority protection on the occasion of the Working Group on
Minorities, the Working Group on the Right to Development and the
Subcommission at its forty-eighth session.  Further details about those
activities would be provided in the report to the Commission on Human Rights
at its fifty-third session. 

 
            D.  United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
                Organization                                       

76.  One of the mandates of UNESCO was to contribute to the struggle against
discrimination in all its fields of competence, including discrimination
against persons belonging to minorities.

77.  UNESCO was preparing a book on all forms of discrimination which was
addressed to a very large audience and could be used as a teaching aid for
education at various levels.  Another UNESCO publication, entitled Access to
Human Rights Documentation contained reference to documentation,
bibliographies and databases on human rights and had a special chapter devoted
to minorities and indigenous peoples; the 1996 updated version of the
publication also referred to the Declaration on the Rights of Persons
Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.  In
cooperation with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, UNESCO
was preparing a fact book on "Peace, Security and Conflict Prevention" which
would include an analysis of different forms of discrimination which led to
conflicts. 

78.  UNESCO Chairs on Human Rights Democracy and Peace now existed in 18
countries and included courses on discrimination and its different forms. 
Furthermore, the issue of discrimination was discussed regularly at UNESCO
meetings on human rights, and recommendations concerning ways to combat
different forms of discrimination were formulated at those meetings and
included in their final documents.  In June 1996, a conference entitled "Ideas
of Tolerance in Central Asia and Early Prevention of Conflicts", had been held
at Bishkek.  It had adopted a decision to establish an Institute of Culture,
Peace and Tolerance in the newly created scientific research laboratory on
early warning of conflicts, and urged the parliaments and Governments of
Central Asian countries to undertake efforts at the creation of a climate of
tolerance, civil and inter-ethnic understanding, trust and cooperation.  

79.  UNESCO was also addressing the protection of the cultural rights of
persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities. 
In that respect, the Working Group on Cultural Rights, during its meeting in
May 1996, had elaborated a new (tenth) version of the draft Declaration
Relating to Cultural Rights which would be discussed at the next meeting of
the Working Group in September 1996 at the Council of Europe.  The text of the
draft Declaration might then be published and widely disseminated. 


                               V.  TREATY BODIES

                          A.  Human Rights Committee

80.  The Human Rights Committee continued to monitor the observance of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  It considered and
commented on a number of reports submitted by States parties to the Covenant,
with specific reference to the implementation of article 27 on the protection
and promotion of the rights of persons belonging to minorities. 3/  

Fifty-sixth session

81.  At its fifty-sixth session, the Committee on Human Rights had before it
the following reports:  Nigeria (CCPR/C/92/Add.1), Zambia (CCPR/C/63/Add.3 and
HRI/CORE/1/Add.22/Rev.1), Guatemala (CCPR/C/81/Add.7 and HRI/CORE/1/Add.47),
Spain (CCPR/C/79/Add.61) and Mauritius (CCPR/C/79/Add.60).

82.  In its concluding observations on Guatemala (CCPR/C/79/Add.63), the
Committee recommended that further measures be taken to ensure that members of
indigenous groups be protected against the prevailing violence within the
country and enjoy fully their rights under article 27 of the Covenant,
particularly in respect of the preservation of their cultural identity,
language and religion.  

Fifty-seventh session

83.  At its fifty-seventh session, the Committee on Human Rights had before
it the following reports:  Nigeria (CCPR/C/79/Add.64), Brazil
(CCPR/C/81/Add.6), and Peru (CCPR/C/79/Add.67). 

84.  In its concluding observations on Brazil (CCPR/C/79/Add.66), the
Committee recommended that the State party take immediate steps to guarantee
the rights of individuals belonging to racial minorities and indigenous
communities, especially with regard to their access to education.  Such steps
should ensure greater school enrolment and reduce the incidence of school
drop-out.

85.  In its concluding observations on Peru (CCPR/C/79/Add.67), with respect
to article 27 of the Covenant, the Committee welcomed action taken to protect
the rights of indigenous communities, including efforts to provide education
in national and native languages, promote economic development and establish
other mechanisms for their protection.   


             B.  Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

86.  The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights had continued to
consider State party reports on the implementation of the rights contained in
the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  Of
particular relevance to the promotion and protection of the rights of persons
belonging to minorities were articles 13 and 14 on the right to education, and
article 15 on the right to culture. 

Thirteenth session

87.  At its thirteenth session,  the Committee had before it the following
State party reports:  Colombia (E/1994/104/Add.2), Norway (E/1994/104/Add.3),
Mauritius (E/1990/5/Add.21), Ukraine (E/1994/104/Add.4) and Algeria
(E/1990/5/Add.22).  The concluding observations of the Committee at its
thirteenth session are contained in document E/1996/22-E/C.12/1995/18.  

88.  In its concluding observations on Norway, the Committee commended the
devolution of responsibility to the Sami Assembly with regard to matters
relating to the preservation and development of the culture of the members of
the Sami community, and noted with appreciation that the Sami language might
be used in contacts with public bodies and before the courts. 

89.  In its concluding observations on Ukraine, the Committee noted the
progress achieved towards securing representation for the Crimean Tatars in
the Parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and expressed
satisfaction with the efforts made to ensure enjoyment of cultural rights.  It
expressed concern, however, at the difficulties experienced by members of
minority groups, including the Crimean Tatars, who had been deported decades
ago and who were now returning to resettle in Ukraine.  In that respect, the
Committee recommended that the civil status of repatriated members of
minorities, especially the Crimean Tatars, be regularized as soon as possible.


90.  In its concluding observations on Algeria, the Committee welcomed the
establishment of the Office of the High Commissioner for Amazighite' (Berbers)
in May 1995, and took note with interest of the introduction of instruction in
the Amazigh (Berber) language since the beginning of the 1995-1996 school
year.   


           C.  Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

91.  While the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Racial Discrimination does not contain any specific articles aimed at the
promotion and protection of the rights of minorities, article 2 (2) is of
relevance to ethnic or racial groups as it imposes an obligation on States
parties to undertake affirmative action in respect of groups which have
suffered from discriminatory practices.  According to article 2 (2), States
must take affirmative action "when the circumstances so warrant".  In respect
of the applicability of this article in situations where the Government
concerned denies the identity or existence of a particular group, it seems
that the practice of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
tends towards the applicability of broad criteria of assessment. 

Forty-eighth session

92.  At its forty-eighth session, the Committee had before it the following
reports:  Colombia (CERD/C/257/Add.1), Denmark (CERD/C/280/Add.1), Zimbabwe
(CERD/C/217/Add.1), Russian Federation (CERD/C/263/Add.9), Madagascar
(CERD/C/149/Add.19), Finland (CERD/C/240/Add.2), Spain (CERD/C/263/Add.5) and
the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (CERD/C/263/Add.7).  

93.  In its concluding observations on Colombia (CERD/C/304/Add.1), the
Committee noted the persistence of structural discriminatory attitudes towards
the indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities, relating inter alia to the
rights to political participation, and educational and occupational
possibilities. 

94.  In its concluding observations on Denmark (CERD/C/304/Add.2), the
Committee welcomed the establishment of the Board for Ethnic Equality, but
expressed concern that the attempts of municipalities to prevent undue
concentrations of ethnic minority families in "socially burdened" urban
neighbourhoods should not be discriminatory in effect.   

95.  In its concluding observations on Hungary (CERD/C/304/Add.4), the
Committee commended the State party for its new policy regarding minorities,
based on the principles of preservation of their self-identity, special
preference treatment and cultural autonomy; and for the creation in 1990 of
the Office for National and Ethnic Minorities; the establishment of the post
of Ombudsman for National and Ethnic Minority Rights, effective from mid-1995;
and the signing of agreements with neighbouring countries in connection with
minority rights issues.  The Committee, however, expressed grave concern at
the persistence of expressions of racial hatred and acts of violence towards
persons belonging to minorities, especially Gypsies, Jews and people of
African or Asian origin; at apparent harassment and use of excessive force by
the police against Gypsies; and at the fact that, according to the Act of
1993, for an ethnic group to be recognized as a minority, it must have lived
on Hungarian soil for at least a century.  

96.  In its concluding observations on the Russian Federation
(CERD/C/304/Add.5), the Committee noted with satisfaction that a parliamentary
group had been mandated to investigate human rights and international
humanitarian law violations in the Chechen conflict.  Concern was expressed,
however, about the fact that several minority groups had no access to
education in their own language and, when dealing with administrative and
judicial matters, they were frequently precluded from using their own
language.  The increase in racist attitudes among the population, or of local
authorities directed against Caucasians, especially Chechens, also gave cause
for concern, as did indications of anti-Semitism among part of the population.

The Committee recommended that appropriate measures be taken to ensure the
promotion of minority languages as well as education programmes in the
appropriate languages, and that special attention be paid to the minority
groups living in the Northern Territories by taking effective measures to
promote and protect their rights.

97.  In its concluding observations on Finland (CERD/C/304/Add.7), the
Committee expressed concern that the Romany minority continued to experience
difficulties in exercising its rights, in particular in the educational field.

It also noted that educational programmes contained insufficient information
on minority rights issues.  The Committee recommended that the State party do
all in its power to enable Sami children to pursue their studies at the
primary and secondary levels in their mother tongue.  

98.  In its concluding observations on Spain (CERD/C/304/Add.8), the
Committee noted with satisfaction that the Gypsy development programme had
been set up to improve the situation of Gypsies, in particular in the field of
education and the promotion of the Gypsy culture.  The Committee noted with
concern, however, that in Catalonia and in the Basque Country, it might be
difficult for the children of the Castilian-speaking minority to receive
education in their mother tongue, and in that respect recommended that
measures be taken by the authorities to ensure that Castilian-speaking
children had the possibility of receiving education in Castilian in Catalonia
and in the Basque Country. 
 
99.  In its concluding observations on the United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland (CERD/C/304/Add.9), the Committee welcomed the new grants
for education support and training, which were intended to increase the
English skills of students from ethnic minority groups, thus raising the
standards of academic achievement of these students.  The Committee noted with
serious concern that persons belonging to ethnic minority groups were
under-represented in political and public life, as reflected in their
representation among the voting public, the police and armed forces and
holders of public office.  The Committee recommended that the question of the
citizenship status of Hong Kong residents belonging to ethnic minorities of
Asian origin be reviewed to ensure that their human rights were protected. 

Forty-ninth session

100. At its forty-ninth session, the Committee had before it the following
reports:  Bolivia (CERD/C/281/Add.1), Brazil (CERD/C/263/Add.10), China
(CERD/C/275/Add.2), Republic of Korea (CERD/C/258/Add.2), India
(CERD/C/299/Add.3), Malta (CERD/C/262/Add.4), Mauritius (CERD/C/280/Add.2),
Namibia (CERD/C/275/Add.1), Venezuela (CERD/C/263/Add.8/Rev.1) and Zaire
(CERD/C/237/Add.2 and CERD/C/273/Add.1). 

101. In its concluding observations on India (CERD/C/304/Add.13), the
Committee affirmed that the situation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled
Tribes fell within the scope of the Convention as the term "descent" was
referred to in article 1 of the Convention, on the definition of racial
discrimination.  The Committee added that it was seriously concerned that the
Kashmiris, as well as other groups, were frequently treated in ways contrary
to the basic provisions of the Convention, on account of their ethnic, or
national origin.

102. In its concluding observations on China (CERD/C/304/Add.15), the
Committee expressed satisfaction at the efforts to preserve the linguistic
heritage of the minority nationalities.  Such efforts included the provision
of textbooks, development of school curricula and the publication of
newspapers and other literary works in the minority languages.  With respect
to the autonomous areas, it noted with appreciation that the law on regional
autonomy for minority nationalities guaranteed that a proportion of the local
government officials be drawn from local nationalities.  The Committee however
expressed concern with regard to the actual enjoyment of the right to freedom
of religion in the State, particularly in the Muslim parts of Xinjiang and in
Tibet Autonomous Region, including the preservation of places of worship and
the exercise of religious rights by members of all ethnic groups.  The
Committee also expressed concern that in secondary school and university,
children from minority nationalities were under-represented.  In addition,
efforts with respect to economic development and national modernization should
not deprive members of such ethnic groups of their right to their own culture,
in particular their traditional ways of life.  The Committee recommended that
more members of minority nationalities be included in positions of leadership,
that the State party ensure access by members of minority nationalities to
education at all levels, and that, in autonomous areas, instruction on the
history and culture of the relevant minority nationalities be included in the
school curricula.
   

                   D.  Committee on the Rights of the Child

103. The Committee on the Rights of the Child has continued to monitor the
State party treaty obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the
Child, in particular article 30, on the rights of children belonging to
ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities to enjoy his or her own culture, to
profess and practise his or her own religion, or to use his or her own
language.  

Eleventh session

104. At its eleventh session, the Committee on the rights of the child had
before it the following State party reports:  Yugoslavia (CRC/C/8/Add.16),
Croatia (CRC/C/8/Add.19 and annex), Yemen (CRC/C/8/Add.20), Republic of Korea
(CRC/C/8/Add.21), Iceland (CRC/C/11/Add.6), Finland (CRC/C/8/Add.22) and
Mongolia (CRC/C/3/Add.32).  The concluding observations of its eleventh and
twelfth sessions are contained in documents CRC/C/50 and CRC/C/54
respectively. 

105. In its concluding observations on the report of the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia, the Committee raised various points of concern with reference to
the implementation of article 2 of the Convention, relating to
non-discrimination. It expressed grave concern about the situation of
Albanian-speaking children in Kosovo, especially with regard to their health
and education.  It also expressed concern over reports of the treatment of
persons, including children, belonging to a religious minority (Muslims), in
Sandjak,  the incidents of discrimination against the Roma (Gypsy) population,
and the reports of the progressive exclusion of teaching in languages other
than Serbian, such as Bulgarian.  The Committee recommended that a solution be
found to its concerns for the situation of Albanian-speaking children in
Kosovo, that the State-controlled mass media contribute to the efforts to
foster tolerance and understanding between different groups and that the
broadcasting of programmes that ran counter to that objective should end. 

106. In its concluding observations on the report of Iceland, the Committee
welcomed the report that education for immigrants was available, that the
requirement that a person seeking Icelandic citizenship had to add an
Icelandic name to his or her original name had been abolished, and that the
issue of the status of stateless children was being addressed. 

107. In its concluding observations on the report of Croatia, the Committee
noted with appreciation the establishment of the special parliamentary
Committee for Human Rights and the Rights of Ethnic and National Communities
or Minorities, and the progress made in modifying the Law on Citizenship so as
to eliminate risks of discrimination.  The Committee recommended that the
Government devote its efforts to encouraging a culture of tolerance through
all possible channels, including schools, the media and the law, that the
State-controlled mass media should play an active role in the efforts to
secure tolerance and understanding between different ethnic groups, and that
the protection of the rights of children belonging to minority groups should
be encouraged.

108. In its concluding observations on the report of Finland, the Committee
expressed concern at the absence of an integrated monitoring mechanism
capable, inter alia, of supervising the effectiveness of decentralized and
sometimes privatized social (health, education and social care) municipal
policies and services for the most vulnerable groups of society, including
minority children.  In the light of article 30 of the Convention, the
Committee expressed concern about the insufficient number of teachers capable
of working with minority children.  It recommended that the Convention be
translated into all languages spoken by minorities living in Finland.

Twelfth session

109. At its twelfth session, the Committee had before it the reports of: 
Lebanon (CRC/C/8/Add.23), Cyprus (CRC/C/8/Add.24), Guatemala (CRC/C/3/Add.33),
China (CRC/C/11/Add.7), Nepal (CRC/C/3/Add.34) and Zimbabwe (CRC/C/3/Add.35). 


110. In its concluding observations on the report of Lebanon, the Committee
expressed its concern at the apparent discrimination in the gaining of
nationality by a child of parents of mixed nationality, as the nationality
might only be obtained by a child from her/his Lebanese father but not from
the mother and, in the case of unmarried parents, only if the Lebanese father
acknowledged the child.  The Committee recommended that the teaching of values
such as tolerance, and friendship among all peoples, including ethnic and
religious groups, be incorporated in school curricula. 

111. In its concluding observations on China, the Committee expressed concern
at the insufficient efforts that had been made to develop a bilingual
education system in minority areas which would include adequate teaching in
Chinese, including the Tibet Autonomous Region.  Those shortcomings might
disadvantage Tibetan and other minority pupils applying to secondary and
higher level schools.  In the framework of the exercise of the right to
freedom of religion by children belonging to minorities, in the light of
article 30 of the Convention, the Committee expressed its deep concern in
connection with the violations of human rights of the Tibetan religious
minority.  In its recommendations, the Committee suggested that a review be
undertaken of measures to ensure that children in the Tibet Autonomous Region
and other minority areas be guaranteed full opportunities to develop knowledge
about their own language and culture as well as to learn the Chinese language.


112. In its concluding observations on the report of Nepal, the Committee
expressed its concern at the insufficient data collection on children
belonging to minorities and to lower castes.  It recommended that an effective
monitoring mechanism of progress achieved would shape appropriate policies and
combat prevailing social disparities and traditional prejudices.  The
Government should, in particular, take concrete measures, including awareness
campaigns, to change negative attitudes, and to protect children belonging to
the lowest castes from any form of exploitation. 


             VI.  SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS AND SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVES

113. In a number of cases, Special Rapporteurs, appointed by United Nations
human rights organs to investigate human rights situations in specific regions
and countries, and on thematic issues, have addressed the rights of persons
belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities within
their mandates or have been confronted with violations of the rights of
persons belonging to minorities. 

Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Burundi 

114. In his report (E/CN.4/1996/16), the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Paulo
Se'rgio Pinheiro, provided an overview of the political and institutional
crisis.  He referred in particular to the concept of "ethnic" racism and the
policies deriving from it.  He stated that none of the criteria used to define
ethnic groups or national minorities were applicable to Burundi, since for
centuries Hutus and Tutsis had occupied the same geographical area, shared the
same religious beliefs and spoken the same language.  It was only with the
advent of colonialism that a privileged Tutsi minority had emerged.  Over the
years, politicians had grasped the political and ideological implications of
being a Hutu and Tutsi and manipulated them for their own ends.  Some
developed a racist ideology, supported by propaganda and incitement to hatred,
passed on by radio, television and the press, thus contributing to the
polarization of attitudes, language and mentalities within the Tutsi and Hutu
communities.  In his report, the Special Rapporteur mentioned acts of
aggression against members of religious faiths and the disturbing signs of
religious intolerance and xenophobia.  He also mentioned the right to freedom
of expression and the press and described the role the media had played in
fanning the flames of hatred among Burundis.  In his recommendations, the
Special Rapporteur stressed the need for the consolidation of democratic
institutions in order to eradicate impunity, the strengthening of civil
society and the promotion and enjoyment of human rights.  Additional details
about the situation in Burundi are contained in the addendum to his report
(E/CN.4/1996/16/Add.1). 

Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Equatorial Guinea

115. In his report on the situation in Equatorial Guinea (E/CN.4/1996/67),
the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Alejandro Artucio, referred in particular to the
situation of the Bubi ethnic group of the island of Bioko and the inhabitants
of the island of Annobon.  He noted the reports of discrimination against
those minority groups on the occasion of his visit.  In his recommendations,
the Special Rapporteur stressed the need to combat any form of discrimination
based on ethnic origin and to respect the right to form associations and
guarantee the right to participate in political, social and cultural life. 
Ethnic diversity, he concluded, must be considered an additional richness to
society. 

Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the territory of the
former Yugoslavia

116. The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the territory
of the former Yugoslavia, Ms. Elisabeth Rehn, in her report (E/CN.4/1996/63),
continued to provide information on the promotion and protection of the rights
of persons belonging to minorities.  

117. The Special Rapporteur reported that in Bosnia and Herzegovina, local
authorities appeared to have failed to create conditions which might have
persuaded citizens of one nationality to remain in areas to be controlled by
authorities of another, and there were many reports of discrimination against
persons of different nationalities, especially non-Bosnians, in access to
housing, employment, education and medical services.  In addition, the
proportion of members of local minority groups with high positions in both
Bosnian and Bosnian Croat-controlled institutions was far lower than might be
expected considering the size of local population groups.  Of particular
concern to the Rapporteur had been the use of the media by all three sides to
advocate perspectives exclusively favouring one nationality at the expense of
others.  The Special Rapporteur recommended that the sharing of communities
between Bosnians of different nationalities must be encouraged.

118. In respect of the situation in Croatia, the Special Rapporteur expressed
concern regarding the treatment of Serbs remaining in Croatia, especially with
reference to the suspension of articles of the Constitutional Law on Human
Rights and Freedoms and the Rights of National and Ethnic Communities or
Minorities.  Although the Government had taken the position that article 15 of
the Croatian Constitution guaranteed the protection of minorities in Croatia,
the suspended special constitutional provisions contained many more specific
provisions for the protection of minority Serbs. 

119. With regard to the region of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western
Sirmium, the Special Rapporteur recommended that the Croatian authorities
should cease forcible and illegal evictions and take appropriate measures to
combat nationality and religion-based hatred through education and public
information programmes.  In her report, the Special Rapporteur expressed a
number of concerns regarding widespread discrimination against particular
ethnic and religious groups in the areas of Kosovo, Vojvodina and Sandjak. 
More specifically, she mentioned that the educational system for ethnic
Albanian children in Kosovo was far from adequate, and in Vojvodina, the
Hungarian and Croat minorities in that region had expressed concern about the
effective implementation of their rights to use their own language, and
establish their own cultural organizations and educational institutions.  As
far as cultural rights were concerned, fears had been expressed that Hungarian
historical names and denomination of places might be permanently lost.  The
Special Rapporteur recommended that legislation regarding citizenship should
take into account the provisions contained in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and
other relevant international legislation, dialogue must be established between
the leaders of the ethnic Albanian population in Kosovo and the Government of
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and the freedom of culture, religion,
education, language and other expressions of ethnicity must be protected and
defended by the Constitutions of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. 

120. In regard to the situation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
the educational situation of national minorities, in particular the Albanian
community, remained one of the most pressing concerns in the country.  The
shortage of primary and secondary school teachers for minorities was serious,
and the number of minority students who continued their education at
institutions of higher education remained disproportionally low.  Furthermore,
the Special Rapporteur noted the disproportionately low number of Albanian
employees and other persons with a minority background in public office and
the difficulties the Serb Orthodox community was having in registering with
the relevant authorities.  She welcomed, however, the new Law on Local
Self-government, which had been passed in October 1995, which included
important provisions concerning the official use of minority languages on a
municipal level.  According to the new law, the language and alphabet of a
national minority would be used, together with Macedonian, on signs and
inscriptions in public places in municipalities in which the minority group
constituted the majority of the population and if the local municipal council
so decided.  Both languages would also be in use in the local administration
in municipalities where there was a majority or a considerable number of
persons belonging to the minority.  The Special Rapporteur recommended that
the Government continue its efforts to ensure equal access by the national
minorities to education and employment at all levels and, in particular, to
explore alternative ways of enabling those groups to enjoy higher education in
their own language. 

Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

121. The Special Rapporteur, Mr. Yozo Yokota, in his report (E/CN.4/1996/65)
has continued to provide reports on the human rights violations perpetrated
against members of ethnic minorities in Myanmar, in particular the Karen, Mon,
Shan and Muslims of Rakhine (Arakan) State.  Most of the violations were
reported to occur in the context of the Myanmar Army's counter-insurgency
activities against armed opposition groups operating in areas of large ethnic
minority populations.  The Special Rapporteur received reports that the
central Government had denied the Kachin population its basic social, human
and economic rights and that the profits extracted from the natural resources
available were benefiting the central Government.  He also reported that most
of the Muslim population of Rakhine State were not entitled to citizenship
under the existing naturalization regulations and most of them were not even
registered as so-called foreign residents, as was the case with
foreigners/stateless persons living in other parts of Myanmar.  In his
conclusions, the Special Rapporteur stated that practices of forced labour,
forced portering, torture and arbitrary killings were still widespread,
especially in the context of the counter-insurgency operations in ethnic
minority regions.  On the matter of internal deportations and forced
relocations, the Special Rapporteur concluded that government policies
violated the freedoms of movement and residence and, in some cases, constitute
discriminatory practices based on ethnic or religious affiliations. 
Specifically, the Special Rapporteur recommended that the Citizenship Law
should not apply its categories of second-class citizenship, which had
discriminatory effects on racial or ethnic minorities, particularly the
Rakhine Muslim population. 

Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of
opinion and expression

122. The Special Rapporteur, Mr. Abid Hussain, in his report
(E/CN.4/1996/39), provided information on the allegations received concerning
cases of violation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.  He
referred to communications concerning Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh,
Brazil, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of
Korea, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Georgia, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of),
Ireland, Israel, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nigeria,
Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka,
Sudan, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkey,
United States of America, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zaire and Zambia.  (Although the
reports of violations which occur were not disaggregated according to persons
belonging to minorities, inroads into the right to freedom of opinion and
expression were inevitably coupled with the erosion of the rights of persons
belonging to minorities either because the journalists, writers and press
professionals belonged to minorities, because factual information on
situations involving minorities was hampered or the press and the media were
being used to propagate ethnic or religious-based hatred against certain
groups in society.) 

123. In the annex to his report, the Special Rapporteur reproduced the
Johannesburg Principles on National Security, Freedom of Expression and Access
to Information, adopted on 1 October 1995 by a group of experts in
international law, national security and human rights.  With particular
reference to the protection of the rights of persons belonging to minorities,
the following principles applied:  principle 4, which stipulated that in no
case might a restriction on freedom of expression or information, including on
the ground of national security, involve discrimination based on, inter alia,
race, language, religion, national or social origin, nationality, birth or
other status; principle 6, which stated that expression might be punished as a
threat to national security only if a Government could demonstrate that the
expression was intended to incite imminent violence; and principle 9, which
provided that expression, whether written or oral, could never be prohibited
on the ground that it was in a particular language, especially the language of
a national minority. 

124. In the report on his mission to the Islamic Republic of Iran
(E/CN.4/1996/39/Add.2), the Special Rapporteur noted that article 14 of the
Constitution stipulated that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran
and all Muslims were duty-bound to treat non-Muslims in conformity with
ethical norms and the principles of Islamic justice and equality, that in
accordance with article 23 of the Constitution, the investigation of
individuals' beliefs was forbidden and that article 26 of the Constitution
protected religious societies.  In his concluding observations, the Special
Rapporteur noted that the freedom to manifest one's religion or religious or
non-religious beliefs had political connotations which linked it directly to
the freedom of opinion and expression.  He was of the opinion that tolerance
begot tolerance and that a mutual respect for beliefs, opinions and values was
a prerequisite for harmonious relations between individuals, groups, peoples
and States.  He noted that nurturing such respect required a spirit of open
debates and a genuine willingness on all sides to accept the validity of norms
derived from cultures other than one's own. 

125. The report of the Special Rapporteur on his mission to the Republic of
Korea is contained in document E/CN.4/1996/39/Add.1. 

Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions

126. The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
executions, Mr. Bacre Waly Ndiaye, in his report (E/CN.4/1996/4) referred to a
number of cases that had come before him in 1995, in which it was alleged that
the victims subjected to death threats or extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
executions belonged to national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities. 

127. The Special Rapporteur had received allegations of extrajudicial,
summary or arbitrary executions from the following countries carried out
against the following members of minority groups:  Bangladesh, against persons
of Chakma origin; Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, against persons belonging
to the Roma minority; Myanmar, against persons of Kayin (Karen) origin;
Nigeria, against persons belonging to the Ogoni; Pakistan, against the
Mohajirs, an Urdu-speaking ethnic minority; the Russian Federation, against
the Chechens; Tajikistan, against the Pamiri ethnic group; and Turkey, against
persons of Kurdish ethnic origin.  The Special Rapporteur sent an urgent
appeal concerning the civilian Arab population in Cameroon, and transmitted
cases to the Government of India concerning the death in custody of persons of
Naga ethnic origin.  In his observations on the situation in the Islamic
Republic of Iran, the Special Rapporteur continued to express dismay at
attacks against religious minorities.  Further information is provided in his
report on his mission to Burundi (E/CN.4/1996/16 and Add.1). 

Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons

128. The report of the Representative of the Secretary-General on internally
displaced persons, Mr. Francis Deng (E/CN.4/1996/52/Add.2), contained a very
comprehensive compilation and analysis of legal norms relevant to the status
of internationally displaced persons.  It aimed at restating obligations
within the framework of existing norms as well as identifying areas where
existing international law did not respond adequately to the protection and
assistance needs of internally displaced persons.  Its conclusions showed that
there was still a need to proceed further and to elaborate an appropriate
international instrument. 

129. With reference to the protection of the rights of persons belonging to
minorities, the Representative noted that during flight and temporary
relocation, the internally displaced might be restricted in their ability to
speak and use their own language and practise their own religion.  The Special
Representative reported that an internally displaced population might include
persons from minority groups who spoke only their own language(s) and could
not communicate in or understand the official and majority language(s).  The
Special Representative noted that there was a particularly strong need to
respect the linguistic heritage of such persons, and to ensure that they could
continue to use their own language without interference or discrimination and
be understood by those providing them protective and relief services. 
Reference was made to the protection afforded by article 27 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and article 2 of the
Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic,
Religious and Linguistic Minorities.  He concluded by stating that protection
was inadequate with respect to the specific language-related needs of
internationally displaced persons who were in areas where another language was
dominant.  Given the essential role of religion and belief in defining
personal and cultural identity, a future international instrument should take
into account the specific religion-related needs of internally displaced
persons.  Reference was also made to the opportunity of internally displaced
persons to participate in government on a local or national basis, with
particular reference to articles 2 (2) and (3) of the Declaration, relating to
the rights of persons belonging to minorities.  In that respect, a future
international instrument should stress that internally displaced persons did
not lose their right to political participation because they had to leave
their home, and the means for their participation, including access to voter
registration procedures, must be safeguarded.

Human rights and mass exoduses

130. The Secretary-General, in his report on mass exoduses (E/CN.4/1996/42),
referred to the problems resulting in mass exoduses and noted in particular
that in Vojvodina, considerable pressure was reportedly being exercised by
Serb refugees from Krajina on the ethnic minorities (including Hungarians,
Croats and others) to leave those areas.  Expulsions of Muslims had also
occurred in Srebenica, and expulsions of the Serb minority were also reported
to have occurred in central and western Bosnia, following the take-over of the
region by the forces of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Forced
evictions had also taken place in Burundi of members of the Hutu communities
from their residences in Bujumbura.  In Israel, it was noted that the Jahalin
bedouin tribe was facing forced eviction because of the expansion of a nearby
Israeli settlement.  Further details are contained in document E/CN.4/1996/42.

Special Rapporteur on the question of religious intolerance

131. In the report on his mission to the Islamic Republic of Iran
(E/CN.4/1996/95/Add.2), the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Abdelfattah Amor, reported
that according to article 13 of the Constitution, the Zoroastrian, Jewish and
Christian Iranians were the only religious minorities who, within the limits
of the law, were free to perform their religious rites and ceremonies. 
Furthermore, the authorities confirmed that the rights of minorities provided
for in article 13 of the Constitution, especially the right to worship,
religious education and family traditions, as well as the right to
representation in parliament and the free exercise of their cultural, social
and religious activities, were recognized within the framework defined by the
State.  As far as socio-cultural activities were concerned, minorities had
community centres and cultural, social and charitable associations which they
financed themselves.  However, minorities had no professional access to the
army and the judiciary and were limited in their career development; at the
lower levels of public courts, minority plaintiffs were usually discriminated
against by judges, who treated them as members of a minority and not as
Iranian citizens. 

132. During his visit, the Special Rapporteur received reports that the right
to profess and practise the Bahai'i faith had been denied and that the Bahai'i
had been denied the right to meet and to elect and operate administrative
institutions.  Furthermore, the Bahai'i could not obtain political
representation and the application of their religious law in their personal
affairs and in those of their community was prohibited.  In the educational
field, young Bahai'is had been systematically excluded from higher educational
institutions.  As for other religious minority groups, the protestant
representatives stated that their religious activities were subject to
restrictions and the Muslim converts were subjected to pressure and close
surveillance with a view to inducing them to abandon their religious
activities.  In his conclusions and recommendations, the Special Rapporteur
mentioned that the situation of the recognized non-Muslim religious
minorities, namely, the Zoroastrian, Jewish, Assyro-Chaldean and Armenian
minorities, was satisfactory.  However, with reference to the Bahai'i
community, the Special Rapporteur believed that there should not be any
controls that might, through prohibition, restrictions or discrimination,
jeopardize the right to freedom of belief or the right to manifest one's
belief.


                     VII.  INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Council of Europe

133. In accordance with the declaration of the Heads of State and Government
of the Member States of the Council of Europe adopted at the Summit Conference
held on 8 and 9 October 1993, a framework convention specifying the principles
which the contracting States commit themselves to respect, in order to assure
the protection of national minorities had been drafted and adopted by the
Committee of Ministers on 10 November 1994.  It was the first legally binding
multilateral instrument protecting national minorities in general.  The
Convention contained provisions covering a wide range of areas: 
non-discrimination, promotion of effective equality, promotion of the
conditions regarding the preservation and development of the culture and
preservation of religion, language and traditions, freedoms of assembly,
association, expression, thought, conscience and religion, access to and use
of the media, linguistic freedoms, education, transfrontier contacts,
international and transfrontier cooperation, participation in economic,
cultural and social life, participation in public life, and the prohibition of
forced assimilation.  The adequacy of the measures taken by the parties to
give effect to the principles had been evaluated by the Committee of
Ministers, assisted by an advisory committee of persons with recognized
expertise in the field of the protection of national minorities, on the basis
of periodic reports by the States parties.  

134. Entry into force of the Framework Convention for the Protection of
National Minorities required ratification by 12 member States.  As of 1 July
1996, the following States had signed:  Albania, Austria, Czech Republic,
Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia,
Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Russian
Federation, San Marino, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, while the Convention has also been
ratified by Cyprus, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Spain. 

135. On 12 March 1996, the Committee of Ministers' Deputies, expecting that
the number of ratifications required to bring the Convention into force would
be achieved later in the year and might in fact be accelerated by giving
member States a clearer idea of how the Convention would be monitored, had
decided to undertake the work regarding the implementation mechanism provided
for in articles 24-26.  In that respect, they decided to instruct an ad hoc
committee of experts to clarify pertinent questions and to identify possible
options; to establish an ad hoc committee of Deputies open to all and with the
assistance and participation of experts in order to identify and agree on the
broad lines of the implementation mechanism; to instruct the ad hoc committee
of experts to draft, on the basis of the decisions taken by the ad hoc
committee of Deputies, the necessary regulations and procedures, within an
agreed period; and to take a final decision on the implementation mechanism of
the Framework Convention.  The aim was to complete the first two stages by the
time the Convention entered into force. 

136. Those instruments were a valuable supplement to the Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Council of Europe
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which had been opened for
signature by member States on 5 November 1992.  The Charter lay down
objectives and principles to be respected by States and proposed concrete
measures to put them into effect in the fields of education, courts of law,
administrative authorities and public services, the media, cultural facilities
and economic and social life.  Parties needed to select a minimum number of
those for implementation.  The Charter would enter into force upon
ratification by five member States.  As at 1 July 1996, the following States
had signed:  Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg,
Malta, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and Ukraine, and the following States had
ratified it:  Finland, Hungary, the Netherlands and Norway.  Entry into force
was expected by the end of 1996.

137. The Summit Conference had also entrusted the Committee of Ministers to
begin work on drafting an additional protocol to the Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the cultural field by
provisions guaranteeing individual rights, in particular for persons belonging
to national minorities.  The work on that subject showed, however, that the
existing provisions of the Convention, as they had been interpreted by the
supervisory organs, already potentially covered many rights in the cultural
field.  The Committee of Ministers, considering that it would currently not be
possible to add substantially to the Convention, had decided in January 1996
to suspend the work on the protocol.  The Committee however, had agreed to
continue reflection on the feasibility of further standard-setting in the
cultural field and in the field of the protection of national minorities. 

138. The programme of confidence-building measures of the Council of Europe
was intended to mobilize various preventive initiatives, aimed at defusing
tensions capable of generating serious conflicts.  Those activities were all
of a practical nature and sought to contribute to the dismantling of barriers
which divided communities, through providing opportunities to speak, learn and
work together on specific projects.  The projects were conducted in
partnership with non-governmental organizations.  The Council of Europe also
regularly provided expertise upon request to member States on issues such as
human rights, language and education, and organized information meetings for
parliamentarians, government officials, representatives of minorities and
non-governmental organizations on the Framework Convention for the Protection
of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority
Languages, in order to make their provisions better known. 

139. In June 1996, a joint programme between the European Commission in
Brussels and the Council of Europe had been signed which would entail
intensive cooperation with government offices for national minorities,
representatives and professional groups in 17 Central and Eastern European
countries, through seminars, workshops, study visits and specific follow-up
action. 


                     VIII.  NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Liberal International 

140. Liberal International stated that it supported the rights of minorities
by establishing formal or informal relations with minority organizations and
their political parties, providing education and training, a platform for
exchange as well as links to the Council of Europe, the United Nations and
other international bodies, and assisting in raising awareness of minority
issues at the international level.  More specifically, Liberal International
had organized a seminar in Opatija, Croatia, in October 1995, on the subject
of national minorities, individual and collective rights of minorities and the
international mechanisms to protect those rights.  Participants represented
minority groups such as the Hungarians from the Slovak Republic and the
Swedish-speaking people from Finland.  The seminar had proved successful in
arriving at ideas and solutions in respect of situations involving minorities.



Minority Rights Group

141. The Minority Rights Group had recently embarked on a new venture which
it hoped would have a significant impact on the participation of minority
groups in the United Nations Working Group on Minorities.

142. The Minority Rights Group had run a training workshop in Geneva, from
27 April to 4 May 1996, just prior to the Working Group.  Those who
participated in the training had come from organizations working for minority
rights in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, the Baltic countries, Africa
and Eastern Europe. 
143. In addition to the training workshop, brief meetings had been held
during the Working Group session allowing participants to learn about specific
international instruments and the mechanisms of the United Nations in the
field of minority protection before they attended the Working Group session. 
The contributions made by the participants at the Working Group were
particularly welcome because they submitted first-hand information on
situations involving minorities, and engaged governmental and non-governmental
representatives in discussion, which had led to the adoption of useful
recommendations by the Working Group. 

144. Through that training initiative, the Minority Rights Group had offered
representatives of minority groups the opportunity to participate in the
Working Group, and to learn about the procedures and mechanisms in the field
of minority protection at the regional and international levels, thereby
allowing them to better focus some of their activities in the future.  The
training had also provided an opportunity for the representatives of different
minority groups to get to know each other, to exchange information, to
identify similar problems, to learn from other groups' experience, and to work
together.  The Group hoped that further to that initiative, a larger number of
minority groups would be able to participate in the future sessions of the
working group.

145. The Group was currently looking at ways of developing that work so that
minorities could work towards identifying their own training needs and develop
their own networks.  Further projects of that kind would, it was hoped,
involve closer links with other non-governmental organizations, interested
Governments and international organizations.


                     IX.  CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

146. The contributions made in the Commission on Human Rights and the
Subcommission, on the promotion and protection of the rights of persons
belonging to minorities by States, agencies, and intergovernmental and
non-governmental organizations about situations involving minorities, proved
most valuable.  The submission of information about concrete situations should
be further encouraged, and it is recommended that the Commission and
Subcommission continue, at their future sessions, to discuss the rights of
persons belonging to minorities as well as the measures taken to reduce ethnic
and religious tensions between various groups. 

147. The fruitful debates and the constructive recommendations made by the
Working Group on Minorities at its second session are highly appreciated.  It
is hoped that the Working Group will continue to act as a genuine forum for
dialogue and mutual understanding between Governments and minorities, and
among minorities themselves.  This will undoubtedly contribute to the
provision of further information on ways and means of realizing the
implementation of the Declaration.  The recommendations of the Working Group
that short studies be commissioned on the content and scope of the core
principles contained in the Declaration, including the formulation of specific
and concrete recommendations for their application in different countries and
regions of the world, are particularly commendable.  It is hoped that the
recommendations will be implemented effectively.  

148. It is appreciated that the High Commissioner for Human Rights is taking
an active role in promoting and protecting the rights of persons belonging to
minorities.  His programme on minority protection and the support he has
provided to better collaboration and cooperation with the various organs and
bodies of the United Nations, particularly with the specialized agencies, is
very welcome.  His ongoing dialogue with Governments on issues pertaining to
minorities, as well as the provision of qualified expertise on minority
issues, should be further encouraged.  The combination of these activities
would no doubt strengthen the human rights programme in the field of minority
protection and pave the way towards a more integrated system of
minority-related human rights protection.

149. The human rights treaty-based bodies have paid attention to the
promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to minorities in
their concluding observations.  Of particular relevance were the concluding
observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination as
data seemed to have clearly been disaggregated on the basis of minority
groups.  In the discussions with government representatives during the
consideration of State party reports, greater attention could be paid, in
particular, to their obligations under article 27 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in respect of which more substantial
information could be provided in future reports.  It is important that States
parties continue to disaggregate data along ethnic, cultural, religious and
linguistic lines, an element which may provide further useful information
about situations involving minorities.    

150. It is appreciated that the Special Rapporteurs and Special
Representatives continue to pay attention to the situations involving
minorities and to report on violations perpetrated against persons belonging
to minority groups.  It is clear from the reports that ethnic and religious
tensions too often degenerate into open conflict, threatening not only the
territorial integrity of States but also international stability and peace. 
The information contained in the reports can contribute to the effective
responses to situations warranting particular attention. 

151. The information submitted on the activities of the Council of Europe in
respect of standard-setting and confidence-building measures in particular is
most valuable.  It would be interesting to receive similar information from
other regional mechanisms and institutions as they ideally complement, on a
regional basis, those of the United Nations in the field of minority
protection.  Ongoing cooperation between the United Nations and regional
organizations can only reinforce minority protection. 


                                     Notes

     1/  The substantial report on the protection and promotion of the rights
of persons belonging to minorities submitted by the Government of Austria will
be reflected in greater detail in the report to the Commission on Human Rights
at its fifty-third session.

     2/  A/CONF.157/24 (Part I), chap. III.

     3/  With reference to some countries where indigenous populations,
rather than minority groups, are affected by human rights violations, the
Committee has invoked article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights.


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