Background on the UN Minorities Network
The United Nations recognizes that effort to promote and protect the rights of minorities must be multidimensional and engage the entire System. With this in mind, the Secretary General established in 2012 the United Nations Network on Racial Discrimination and Protection of Minorities (UN Minorities Network), which aims to stimulate cooperation and to enhance the impact and coordination of the work of the UN system in the field of racial discrimination and protection of minorities, both at headquarters and in the field. The Network brings together over 20 UN entities, ranging from those dealing with development and humanitarian issues to entities focusing on peace and security issues. Although principles of equality and non-discrimination are firmly rooted in binding international standards, racial discrimination and lack of adequate protection of minorities remain a widespread challenge in all regions of the world. The protection of minorities and combating racial discrimination thus affect all three pillars of the UN – security, development and human rights – and require system-wide, coordinated engagement.
In April 2014, the Network adopted a four-year action plan to follow up on the recommendations contained in the Guidance Note of the Secretary-General and launched first activities envisaged in the action plan. The action plan recognizes that UN Country Teams (UNCTs) are key to strengthening the work on anti-discrimination and protection of minorities at the country level. Therefore, the Network has sought to facilitate exchanges of experience on practical measures between and within UNCTs and to support training to develop their capacity to address minority issues.
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