26 October 2016, New York – European Union Intervention at the 71st United Nations General Assembly Third Committee Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Ms. Rita Izsàk-Ndiaye
Madam Special Rapporteur, the European Union welcomes your presentation today. We again thank you for your work in the promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to minorities and encourage you to continue addressing urgent situations in accordance with your mandate.
Your latest report highlights a particularly timely and important topic – persons belonging to minorities in situations of humanitarian crises.
[Every day, thousands of innocent people are the victims of natural disasters and conflict. Recent conflicts have been characterized by longer duration, brutality and blatant disregard for norms including international humanitarian law, unprecedented levels of suffering and forced displacement internally or across international borders. Climate change and growing economic inequality have also contributed to increased vulnerabilities of certain populations driving people out of their homes. Over 130 million men, women and children depend on humanitarian assistance across the world, and the needs are constantly growing.]
In this context and in line with your observations in the report, the EU is concerned that persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities can be disproportionately affected directly or indirectly because of their minority status. We are particularly concerned that persons belonging to minorities who are affected by crises and disasters may be specifically targeted and be at risk of facing displacement, different forms of discrimination and violence. We also share your concern that persons belonging to minorities face additional challenges during crises or in their aftermath, including in accessing basic economic, social and cultural rights. In this regard, how can the international community as a whole better address these issues?
You have observed that there are no accurate, disaggregated data on how many persons belonging to minorities are affected by crises and where. In many cases persons belonging to ethnic, national, religious or linguistic minorities do not identify themselves out of fear of further discrimination or violence. In your view, what could be the options for better data collection, keeping this sensitivity in mind?
Madam Special Rapporteur, we look forward to your upcoming elaborate report with a set of concrete recommendations regarding persons belonging to minorities in situations of humanitarian crisis.
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