Spindelegger: Important sign for the protection of minorities and their rights
UN Human Rights Council holds public debate on protection of minorities
Vienna, 13 March 2012 – A public discussion about the worldwide protection of minorities was held today on the initiative of Austria within the framework of the current session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Chairman of the debate was Austria’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Christian Strohal. The debate was held to mark the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Minorities and intended to bring about a better implementation of this important declaration. “Everywhere in the world, members of minorities are still discriminated, persecuted and killed. It is the task of the international community to counteract these violations. I am proud that Austria is playing a leading role in this task”, Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said.
Participants from all continents took part in the debate, discussing strategies for improving the protection of minorities within the UN mechanisms. Another topic of discussion was the difficult situation of religious minorities worldwide, with the main focus on securing the rights and ensuring the safety of religious minorities. Spindelegger underlined that the public discussion was only a first step. “Intolerance, discrimination, exclusion and violence against religious minorities have no place in our societies. Austria will continue to fight for the protection of religious and other minorities.”
The protection of minorities is a traditional focal area of Austrian human rights work and is also a priority for Austria during its membership in the UN Human Rights Council. “We are going to use our membership in the UN Human Rights Council to make sure that minority protection will again enjoy greater political importance”, the Vice Chancellor concluded.
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