A/HRC/16/45 United Nations General Assembly Distr.: General 16 December 2010 Original: English Human Rights Council Sixteenth session Agenda item 3 Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development Report of the independent expert on minority issues, Gay McDougall Summary The present report provides a summary of activities undertaken by the independent expert on minority issues. Since her previous report, the independent expert has undertaken two official country missions, to Colombia and to Viet Nam, to consult on minority issues. The independent expert has continued her work to promote implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities. She has conducted extensive consultations with regard to all elements of her mandate. She has attended expert seminars and conferences, convened consultations, engaged with States, specialized agencies, bodies and mechanisms of the United Nations system and regional intergovernmental organizations. She has consulted widely with civil society and directly with minority communities. She has guided and prepared the annual sessions of the Forum on Minority Issues, which in 2010 considered “Minorities and effective participation in economic life”. The independent expert reported to the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly. In the present report, the independent expert focuses on the role of the protection of minority rights in conflict prevention. She emphasizes that, among the essential elements of a strategy to prevent conflicts involving minorities are respect for minority rights, particularly with regard to equality in access to economic and social opportunities; effective participation of minorities in decision-making; dialogue between minorities and majorities within societies; and the constructive development of practices and institutional arrangements to accommodate diversity within society. Attention to minority rights at an early stage — before grievances lead to tensions and violence — would make an invaluable contribution to the culture of prevention within the United Nations, save countless lives and promote stability and development. Among a series of recommendations is that expertise in minority rights should be strengthened and integrated comprehensively across the United Nations system. GE.10-17814

Select target paragraph3