This year’s UN Forum on Minority Issues focused on “Minorities and Cohesive Societies: Equality, Social Inclusion, and Socio-economic Participation” on 30 November and 1 December 2023 in Geneva. ELEN was strongly represented with the ELEN President, Secretary-General, and Vice-President, and member organisations Plataforma per la Llengua and CIEMEN, all submitting official statements, as well as the European Centre for Minority Issues joining the delegation.
The ELEN delegation also held a separate bilateral meeting with the new UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues Prof. Nicolas Levrat to discuss ELEN’s continuing close cooperation with his office during his mandate and upcoming ELEN events and meetings.
The ELEN statement to the Forum, made by ELEN Secretary-General Davyth Hicks, called on States to ensure clear, unambiguous language rights for minoritised language speakers, and that France, Italy and Greece ratify the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages without delay.
ELEN Vice-President Tangi Louarn (Kevre Breizh) called on France “to change its Constitution to recognize the diversity of its territory, to respect international conventions on human rights, and to cease its policy of ethnocide against territorial languages.”
In her statement ELEN President Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones called on all states to “enable progressive language planning for minoritised languages so that linguistic minorities can develop into the future, within a framework of democracy and human rights.”
Plataforma per la Llengua discussed the right to use Catalan when receiving medical care and CIEMEN called for the recognition of the collective rights of peoples.
Every year the UN Forum features several official side events. This year’s events examined national sign language rights (hosted by Minority Rights Group) as well as a panel hosted by the Coppieters Foundation on the right to self-determination and how this is represented in the new draft Treaty on Minorities that is currently being worked on by ELEN, other NGOs and experts over the past year.