Minorities' rights

Many states contain ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities whose fundamental freedoms and human rights are abused. Generally, these minority communities are poorer, face discrimination, have less power and influence, and have less access to remedies to tackle their problems.

Minorities struggle to realise all types of human rights, whether civil and political, economic, social or cultural, whether as individuals or as groups. Entrenched discrimination on ethnic or religious grounds is also a common precursor to conflict. Where disaggregated data exists minorities almost always score lower on every measure; they have lower incomes, a poorer health, are less likely to complete school. Poverty is closely linked to political exclusion and minorities are much less likely to be elected as representatives, or to be consulted in decision making.

Supporting minorities to raise the problems they face in peaceful ways and persuading states to act to address them helps to prevent conflict in the long term. Where states ignore the rights of certain groups within their borders, a possible effective strategy for those groups is to speak out at international forums. Where governments are sensitive to their international reputation, this can lead to changes in policy and practice to attempt to preserve their “good name” and influence in diplomatic circles.

Protection of Indigenous peoples rights are part of the broader EU support to minorities.



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