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Training Workshop for Minorities

The training programme is cancelled for 2006.


Since 2003, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has organized, in cooperation with the non-governmental organization Minority Rights Group International (MRG), joint training workshops for persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities. (Please refer to the UN Declaration on the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities).

The minority representatives participate in the Training Workshop and in the annual session of the Working Group, presenting their situation and engaging in a dialogue with governments. They receive training on international human rights standards and UN human rights monitoring mechanisms. In addition, non-governmental organizations share their experiences of advocacy and networking with grass roots minority organizations with a view to working more effectively with United Nations bodies, in particular the Working Group on Minorities.

With the aim of building the capacity of civil society to promote and protect minority rights and of encouraging the development of worldwide network on minority issues, the OHCHR has decided to organize the fourth training workshop in May 2006, depending on the dates of the 12 th session of the Working Group, in Geneva .

Programme of training

The programme has the following elements:

1. Geneva

A week intensive training, prior to the 12 th session of the Working Group on Minorities, will be provided. The programme will have as an introduction to international human rights instruments with the focus on minority rights and the United Nations human rights monitoring mechanisms. During the workshop, time will be devoted to the preparation of interventions of participants to be presented during the 12 th session of the Working Group.

2. 12 th Session of the Working Group, Palais des Nations, Geneva

The participants will attend the 12 th session of the Working Group for five days. For further information on the Working Group, please visit our website http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/minorities/group/main.htm). During the session of the Working Group, participants will have the possibilities to make statements about the minority situations of their community or country with a view to share information in an international setting and to partake in a dialogue with their government. The Training Workshop also offers opportunities to network and advocate for change with international NGOs. When making statements at the Working Group, they should include a brief assessment of the comparative situation of the minority in question in relation to the rest of population, the main areas of concern and suggestions on how to address them.

It is expected that, at the end of the training, minority representatives will have some basic knowledge about the United Nations system, international human rights mechanisms, in particular those with relevance to minorities. Moreover, on returning to their communities, trainees are expected to use the knowledge and experiences gained in the training to disseminate the information on minority rights and contribute to the strengthening of networking in the field of minority rights.

Fourth training workshop of 2006

15 to 20 trainees will be selected for 2006 to participate in the training and the 12 th session of the Working Group on Minorities, depending on the availability of funds.

The successful candidates will receive the following support:

  • An economic class return air-ticket from the place of residence to Geneva , and
  • A stipend to cover accommodation and meals for the duration of the stay in Geneva .

Selection criteria and process

The final selection of trainees will be made by the Secretariat, in consultation with members of the Working Group on Minorities, UN country offices, non-governmental organizations and other partners. Gender, geographical balance and different minorities’ situations will be taken into account in the selection process.

The successful candidates will be informed by the end of February 2006.

The following conditions should be met for both the candidate and supporting organization or community:

The candidate

Commitments in working on human rights and minority rights in particular at the community level.

  • Applications should be supported and endorsed by the organization/community that recommends the candidates,
  • fluency in English.

The supporting organization/community

The overall aim of the programme is to empower minority organizations/communities by providing training on human rights instruments, it is therefore important that candidates be recommended by their organization/community.

The application form will be available for download on this webpage from the beginning of September 2005. It should be duly completed and signed by the applicant.

In addition, the application should include a letter of recommendation from an organization.

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