A/HRC/13/23 United Nations General Assembly Distr.: General 7 January 2010 Original: English Human Rights Council Thirteenth 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 the submission of her previous annual report. Over the last 12 months, the independent expert has undertaken two official country missions, to Kazakhstan and to Canada, to consult on minority issues and consider national legislation, policy and practice relating to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities. The independent expert has conducted extensive consultations in regard to all elements of her mandate. She has attended expert seminars and conferences, convened consultations, held bilateral and multilateral discussions, including with Member States of the United Nations, engaged with agencies of the United Nations system and regional intergovernmental organizations, and consulted widely with civil society and directly with minority communities. She has prioritized gender issues related to her mandate and has held dedicated forums for minority women during her country missions. She has conducted focused consultations and research on the topic of “Minorities and Effective Political Participation”, which formed the thematic focus of the second session of the Forum on Minority Issues, held on 12 and 13 November 2009. The right to effective participation is a fundamental human right affirmed in a number of key international legal instruments. Effective participation underpins the realization of all human rights of women and men belonging to ethnic or national, religious and linguistic minorities. It is through effective participation that a person expresses and protects her or his identity, ensuring the survival and dignity of the minority. The right to effective participation recognizes the fact that the participation of minorities in various areas of life is essential for the development of a truly inclusive and just society. Effective participation should give minorities a stake in society. Measures taken with a view to ensuring the effective participation of minorities contribute to the alleviation * Late submission. GE.10-10198 (E) 030210

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