The General Assembly,
Reaffirming that one of the basic aims of the United Nations, as proclaimed
in the Charter, is to promote and encourage respect for human rights and
for fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex,
language or religion,
Reaffirming faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth
of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations
large and small,
Desiring to promote the realization of the principles contained in the
Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the
Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the International Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights, the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms
of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, and the
Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as other relevant international
instruments that have been adopted at the universal or regional level and
those concluded between individual States Members of the United Nations,
Inspired by the provisions of article 27 of the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights concerning the rights of persons belonging
to ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities,
Considering that the promotion and protection of the rights of persons
belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities contribute
to the political and social stability of States in which they live,
Emphasizing that the constant promotion and realization of the rights
of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities,
as an integral part of the development of society as a whole and within
a democratic framework based on the rule of law, would contribute to the
strengthening of friendship and cooperation among peoples and States,
Considering that the United Nations has an important role to play regarding
the protection of minorities,
Bearing in mind the work done so far within the United Nations system,
in particular by the Commission on Human Rights, the Subcommission on Prevention
of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities and the bodies established
pursuant to the International Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant
international human rights instruments in promoting and protecting the
rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic
Taking into account the important work which is done by intergovernmental
and non-governmental organizations in protecting minorities and in promoting
and protecting the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious
and linguistic minorities,
Recognizing the need to ensure even more effective implementation of
international human rights instruments with regard to the rights of persons
belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities,
Proclaims this Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National
or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities:
1. States shall protect the existence and the national or ethnic, cultural,
religious and linguistic identity of minorities within their respective
territories and shall encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity.
2. States shall adopt appropriate legislative and other measures to
achieve those ends.
1. Persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic
minorities (hereinafter referred to as persons belonging to minorities)
have the right to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their
own religion, and to use their own language, in private and in public,
freely and without interference or any form of discrimination.
2. Persons belonging to minorities have the right to participate effectively
in cultural, religious, social, economic and public life.
3. Persons belonging to minorities have the right to participate effectively
in decisions on the national and, where appropriate, regional level concerning
the minority to which they belong or the regions in which they live, in
a manner not incompatible with national legislation.
4. Persons belonging to minorities have the right to establish and maintain
their own associations.
5. Persons belonging to minorities have the right to establish and maintain,
without any discrimination, free and peaceful contacts with other members
of their group and with persons belonging to other minorities, as well
as contacts across frontiers with citizens of other States to whom they
are related by national or ethnic, religious or linguistic ties.
1. Persons belonging to minorities may exercise their rights, including
those set forth in the present Declaration, individually as well as in
community with other members of their group, without any discrimination.
2. No disadvantage shall result for any person belonging to a minority
as the consequence of the exercise or non-exercise of the rights set forth
in the present Declaration.
1. States shall take measures where required to ensure that persons
belonging to minorities may exercise fully and effectively all their human
rights and fundamental freedoms without any discrimination and in full
equality before the law.
2. States shall take measures to create favourable conditions to enable
persons belonging to minorities to express their characteristics and to
develop their culture, language, religion, traditions and customs, except
where specific practices are in violation of national law and contrary
to international standards.
3. States should take appropriate measures so that, wherever possible,
persons belonging to minorities may have adequate opportunities to learn
their mother tongue or to have instruction in their mother tongue.
4. States should, where appropriate, take measures in the field of education,
in order to encourage knowledge of the history, traditions, language and
culture of the minorities existing within their territory. Persons belonging
to minorities should have adequate opportunities to gain knowledge of the
society as a whole.
5. States should consider appropriate measures so that persons belonging
to minorities may participate fully in the economic progress and development
in their country.
1. National policies and programmes shall be planned and implemented
with due regard for the legitimate interests of persons belonging to minorities.
2. Programmes of cooperation and assistance among States should be planned
and implemented with due regard for the legitimate interests of persons
belonging to minorities.
States should cooperate on questions relating to persons belonging to
minorities, inter alia, exchanging information and experiences, in order
to promote mutual understanding and confidence.
States should cooperate in order to promote respect for the rights set
forth in the present Declaration.
1. Nothing in the present Declaration shall prevent the fulfilment of
international obligations of States in relation to persons belonging to
minorities. In particular, States shall fulfil in good faith the obligations
and commitments they have assumed under international treaties and agreements
to which they are parties.
2. The exercise of the rights set forth in the present Declaration shall
not prejudice the enjoyment by all persons of universally recognized human
rights and fundamental freedoms.
3. Measures taken by States to ensure the effective enjoyment of the
rights set forth in the present Declaration shall not prima facie be considered
contrary to the principle of equality contained in the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights.
4. Nothing in the present Declaration may be construed as permitting
any activity contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations,
including sovereign equality, territorial integrity and political independence
The specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations
system shall contribute to the full realization of the rights and principles
set forth in the present Declaration, within their respective fields of