Guidance note of the UN Secretary-General: On racial discrimination and protection of minorities

This UN Note provides guidance for the UN system on how to address racial discrimination and protection of minorities. It presents 19 recommendations to ensure comprehensive and coherent action. These include integrating “anti-discrimination and minority rights into the work of the UN system at global, regional and country level” and securing a focus “on the minorities that are economically, politically and/or socially most marginalized and whose rights are particularly at risk.”

In the process of elaboration IDSN made recommendations to the UN Network to include and recognise caste-based discrimination as a key human rights challenge within the UN Development Framework. The issue of descent and caste-based discrimination was included in the guidance note with reference to the particularly vulnerable situation of persons targeted for this form of discrimination. The reference to caste-based discrimination can be found under the heading ‘Focus on the most marginalized’ (pages 6-7):

“Furthermore, UN action and policies should reflect the fact that persons targeted for discrimination based on descent, in particular caste-based discrimination and related practices, are in a number of contexts in a particularly marginalized position and in need of focused attention.”