Side-event to the 16th edition of the Forum of Minority Issues

Exercising the Right of Self-Determination - Opportunities and Limits of a New Treaty on Minority Rights

Events / Thu 30 Nov 2023 09:00

Last year, on the 30th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, the Special Rapporteur on Minority Rights, Fernand de Varennes, called for a new treaty to better recognize and protect the rights of minorities.

To inform such a new treaty, this panel will reflect on the current UN minority rights framework from the perspective of national communities within a larger state that claim a right to decide for themselves how they are governed. The panel will present the Coppieters Foundation’s latest report which explores the opportunities and limitations presented by a new UN treaty on minority rights, for the exercise of a right to self-determination.

The panel will explore:

  • the ways in which the current UN minority rights framework defines ‘minorities’, the challenges they face, and the rights granted to them;
  • the extent to which claims to recognition, self-government, devolution, autonomy, or self-determination can be accommodated within a new treaty on minority rights.



09:00 - 10:00
  • Iñaki Irazabalbeitia – Bureau Member of Coppieters Foundation.
  • Anwen Elias – Reader in Politics at the Department of International Politics of Aberystwyth University and author of Coppieters Foundation’s paper “Exercising the Right of Self-Determination – Opportunities and Limits of a New Treaty on Minority Rights”.
  • Jordi Garrell – Director of Centre International Escarré per a les Minories Ètniques i les Nacions (CIEMEN).


When: Thursday 30 November 2023 at 09:00

Where: Room XXIII, Palais des Nations, Geneva


The conference will be in English.


Media inquiries can be addressed to

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This event is financially supported by the European Parliament. The European Parliament is not liable for the content of the event nor the opinions of the speakers.

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This is an event organised by the Coppieters Foundation.

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