Minorities in the Criminal Justice System



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Minorities in the Criminal Justice System
Contribution of the United Nations Network on Racial Discrimination and Protection of Minorities to the Eighth session of the Forum on Minority Issues
24-25 November 2015

Palais des Nations, Geneva





  1. Introduction

The United Nations Network on Racial Discrimination and Protection of Minorities (hereinafter “Network”) was established in 20121 by the Secretary-General in order to enhance dialogue and facilitate coordination of the work of the UN system in the field of racial discrimination and protection of minorities in both the headquarters and field offices. The Network is a group of over 20 UN Departments, Agencies, Programmes and Funds.2

As one of its first undertakings, the Network developed a Guidance Note, endorsed in 2013 by the Secretary-General, to guide UN entities in its work in combating racial discrimination and advancing rights of persons belonging to minority groups in their respective fields and mandates. It highlights the key principles in combating racial discrimination and protection of minorities and contains 19 recommendations on its implementation. The Network has also adopted a four-year Action Plan with concrete action points and time frame for their implementation.

One such action point is to increase system-wide interaction with mechanisms such as the Forum on Minority Issues. Continuing from the Network’s first-ever intervention made at the Forum in 2014, this intervention contributes to this action point. The theme of this year’s Forum on Minority Issues, “Minorities in the Criminal Justice System”, is an integral part of the Network’s work in combating racial discrimination and protecting rights of persons belonging to minorities. The importance of this year’s theme of the Forum is also reflected in the Secretary-General’s Guidance Note, which calls for addressing “institutional racism and systemic discrimination” by making “consolidated and integrated efforts to support and empower reforms of the relevant institutions with a view to advancing minority participation and full equality before the law without any discrimination.”3 In view of its mandates and expertise, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has coordinated the development of the following contribution with inputs from members of the Network.







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