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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality



7. Rights of Ethnic Minorities


PART I. National Frameworks for the Protection of Rights of Persons with Disabilities
PART II. The International Human Rights System
PART III. The Regional Human Rights System
PART IV. Towards a Rights Based Perspective on Disability
PART V. Rights of Special Groups with Disabilities
1. Rights of the Child
1.1 General International Instruments Pertaining to the Rights of the Child
1.2 General Regional Instruments Pertaining to the Rights of the Child
1.3 International Instruments Specifically Relating to Children with Disabilities
2. Rights of the Youth
3. Rights of the Aged
4. Rights of Women with Disabilities
4.1 The Situation
4.2 International Norms Concerning Women with Disabilities
4.3 Regional Instruments pertaining to Women with Disabilities
5. Rights of Refugees with Disabilities
5.1 Rights of Refugee Children
5.2 Rights of Refugee Women
5.3 Regional Instruments Applicable to Refugees
6. Rights of Indigenous Populations
7. Rights of Ethnic Minorities
8. Rights of the Poor
8.1 Disability and Poverty
8.2 United Nations instruments and measures for the eradication of poverty
9. Rights of Migrant Workers
9.1 United Nations Provisions on the Migrant Worker
9.2 Regional Instruments Pertaining to the Rights of the Migrant Worker

Often, persons belonging to minority groups who are disabled are discriminated on the basis of their race or ethnicity as well as their disability.

In 1992, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, and in 1995, a Working Group on Minorities was established.

Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that persons belonging to any kind of minority in any State shall not be denied any of their specific rights.

The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action provides in section II, paragraph 19 that States are obliged to ensure that persons belonging to minority groups can effectively exercise all of their human rights and fundamental freedoms without any discrimination.

The Commitment 4 of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action provides that States undertake to promote and protect the rights of persons belonging to ethnic minorities.

The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination provides protection for persons with disabilities against discrimination based on their race. Racial discrimination is defined in the Convention as "any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, which has the purpose of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other filed of public life".

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United Nations, 2003-04
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for Social Policy and Development