Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to
National or Ethnic, Religious or Linguistic Minorities, G.A. res.
47/135, annex, 47 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 49) at 210, U.N. Doc. A/47/49
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 of States.
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 competence.