On November 27 and 28, the Assyrian Universal Alliance participated in the Fifth Session on the Forum on Minority Issues at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
This year’s Forum highlighted the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration on the rights of National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities and focused on identifying positive practices and opportunities in applying the Declaration. In line with this theme, AUA representatives Ms. Jennifer Babaie and Mr. Alen Mirza from the United States each provided interventions focusing on the need of applying the Declaration in post-conflict situations, relying on the experience of Assyrians in Iraq and Syria to guide their recommendations.
Ms. Babaie’s statement stressed the need for enabling minorities and minority youth the ability to implement the rights enshrined in the Declaration. Mr. Mirza’s speech emphasized the necessity of applying the positive obligations of national governments and UN institutions to secure the rights of minorities immediately following periods of conflict.
The Forum was chaired by Ms. Soyata Maiga, Member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and organized under the mandate of the Independent Expert on Minority Issues, Ms. Rita Izsák. President of the Human Rights Council, H.E. Ambassador Laura Dupuy Lasserre along with Ms. Navanethem Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, each of whom provided opening remarks on the first day. Various UN Member States along with prominent non-governmental human rights organizations also provided interventions.
Following the Forum, AUA representatives met personally with individuals from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and discussed the current situation of Assyrians in the Middle East and identified opportunities for increased support from the High Commissioner.
Copies of AUA’s intervention will soon be posted on the website for the Office of the High Commission on Human Rights along with the Final Recommendations adopted by the Independent Expert. The Forum on Minority Issues is one of the several special procedures of UN Human Rights Council aimed at addressing specific country situations and thematic human rights issues.
Assyrian Universal Alliance