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12 de març 2020

Fernand de Varennes' UN report on Spain and definition of "minority" de (11 MAR 2020)

The UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Fernand de Varennes, has presented his report on his visit to Spain, and also recently offered a comprehensive definition of a minority (be it ethnic, religious or linguistic).
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9 March 2020
Human Rights Council
Forty-third session
24 February–20 March 2020
Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development
Visit to Spain
Report of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues


  • ..."41.The Special Rapporteur was informed that minorities such as Roma, people of African Descent, migrants, and religious minorities such as Muslims report that they sense that they remain the main targets and victims of intolerance expressed in hate speech. In addition, connected to events that took place in Catalonia in 2017, the Special Rapporteur received reports of an apparent increase in hate speech, vilification, vandalism, physical threats and even assaults against members of the Catalan minority and, to a lesser degree, other national minorities..."
  • ... (53.) "[T]he Special Rapporteur was advised in the areas inhabited mainly by linguistic minorities in the Basque Country, Galicia, Navarre, Valencian Community, Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and others that in recent years judicial interpretation and other developments have generally led to increasing obstacles to the use of minority languages in a range of public services..."

Comments by the State
  • "...In that section of the Report, the Rapporteur has the temerity to insinuate, without providing a shred of evidence, that the convicts’ belonging to a supposed “Catalan minority” — or, in any case, their Catalan heritage — influenced the Supreme Court decision of 14 October 2019. Once again, the Rapporteur includes a very serious accusation against the Spanish State in his Report without making even the slightest attempt at backing it up with evidence. Not a single piece of evidence, information, or argument is set forth to support this “suspicion”. On the contrary. The Rapporteur even finds himself forced to twist statements from other Special Procedures to give an air of verisimilitude to the idea that he is suggesting."
(para. 23)


Informe del Relator Especial sobre cuestiones de las minorías acerca de su visita a España - Comentarios formulados por el Estado





Interactive dialogue with Special Rapporteur on minority issues:

Human Rights Council
Forty-third session
24 February–20 March 2020
Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development
Education, language and the human rights of minorities
Report of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues


(En español, debajo)

...3. In his 2019 annual report to the General Assembly (A/74/160), the Special Rapporteur presented a study on the concept of a minority in the United Nations system. As a result of the study, he stated that he would use and promote, as part of his mandate to promote the full and effective realization of the human rights of minorities and in carrying out his activities under the mandate, the following concept of a minority:

  • An ethnic, religious or linguistic minority is any group of persons which constitutes less than half of the population in the entire territory of a State whose members share common characteristics of culture, religion or language, or a combination of any of these. A person can freely belong to an ethnic, religious or linguistic minority without any requirement of citizenship, residence, official recognition or any other status (ibid., para. 53).

4. Consistent with this concept, and as announced at the 2017 Forum on Minority Issues, deaf and hard-of-hearing persons who use sign languages are considered to be members of a linguistic minority. Catalan, Basque and other linguistic groups who may constitute a numerical majority in some regions of the country, but remain numerically less than half of the population in the entirety of the State, are also considered minorities pursuant to this working definition.


15 de julio de 2019
Asamblea General
Septuagésimo cuarto período de sesiones
Tema 72 b) de la lista preliminar
Promoción y protección de los derechos humanos: cuestiones de derechos humanos, incluidos otros medios de mejorar el goce efectivo de los derechos humanos y las libertades fundamentales
Promoción efectiva de la Declaración sobre los Derechos de las Personas Pertenecientes a Minorías Nacionales o Étnicas, Religiosas y Lingüísticas
Nota del Secretario General


... 59. El Relator Especial invita a las entidades de las Naciones Unidas a que tomen nota de la siguiente definición práctica del concepto de minoría con arreglo al artículo 27 del Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos y la jurisprudencia del Comité de Derechos Humanos, y formulen observaciones sobre la definición de pertenencia a una minoría, a fin de adoptar y aplicar de manera más coherente un enfoque y una interpretación comunes y, por ende, garantizar de manera más eficaz el ejercicio pleno y efectivo de los derechos de las personas pertenecientes a minorías:
  • Una minoría étnica, religiosa o lingüística es todo grupo de personas que constituye menos de la mitad de la población de todo el territorio de un Estado y cuyos miembros comparten características comunes de la cultura, la religión o el idioma, o una combinación de estas. Una persona puede pertenecer libremente a una minoría étnica, religiosa o lingüística sin ningún requisito de ciudadanía, residencia, reconocimiento oficial uotra circunstancia.


See also: "Repaso sobre los organismos internacionales, organizaciones y personalidades que han pedido la libertad de los presos políticos catalanes." Beatriz Talegón, 05/06/2020.

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