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  • Cara Priestley

RfP submits to UN Forum on Minority Issues: Highlighting Need for an Identity-Lens

From 2-3 December 2021, the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues is convening its 14th session on the theme of Conflict Prevention and the Protection of the Human Rights of Minorities. The Forum can be viewed on UN TV here.

Rights for Peace submitted a statement under Item 2 (Root causes of contemporary conflicts involving minorities), in which we highlighted such root causes as structural discrimination, injustice, human rights abuses and unresolved grievances. Whilst it should be noted that mass atrocities can (and do) occur in ‘peacetime’, it remains that many atrocity crimes are committed within the context, or under the cover of, violent conflict. In times of increased societal stress such as armed conflict, identity-based prejudices, blame, vilification and demonisation of the “other” can lead to dehumanisation, making mass persecution possible.

Very often, “the other” is a minority.

Monitoring and countering identity-based hate narratives and related violence is key to prevention. We recommend that donor funding specifically prioritises this area as (to quote the Secretary General) “so few resources are reserved for prevention of violent conflict”. We are using and recommend an identity lens for monitoring and countering hate narratives and related violence. Monitoring should include:

  • Collection of hate narratives and specific instances of hate speech that amount to incitement to violence or genocide;

  • Monitoring ‘identity-bias’ motives to human rights abuses and escalating violence;

  • Monitoring of structural discrimination against minority groups;

  • Monitoring manipulation of inter-communal grievances by political and other influential actors.

Read our full statement below:

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