Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious
and Linguistic Minorities
Adopted in New York 18 December 1992
(GA resolution 47/135)
The General Assembly,
Reaffirming that one of the main purposes of
the United Nations, as proclaimed in the
Charter of the United Nations, is to achieve
international cooperation in promoting and
encouraging respect for human rights and
for fundamental freedoms for all without
distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,
Noting the importance of the 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,
Welcoming the increased attention given by
human rights treaty bodies to the nondiscrimination
and protection of minorities,
Aware of the provisions of article 27 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights 1 concerning the rights of persons
belonging to ethnic, religious or linguistic
minorities,
Considering that the United Nations has an
increasingly important role to play regarding
the protection of minorities,
Bearing in mind the work done so far within
the United Nations system, in particular
through the relevant mechanisms of the
Commission on Human Rights and the Subcommission
on Prevention of Discrimination
and Protection of Minorities, in promoting
and protecting the rights of persons
belonging to national or ethnic, religious and
linguistic minorities,
Recognizing the important achievements in
this regard in regional, subregional and bilateral
frameworks, which can provide a useful
source of inspiration for future United Nations
activities,
Stressing the need to ensure for all, without
discrimination of any kind, full enjoyment
1 See resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.
and exercise of human rights and fundamental
freedoms, and emphasizing the importance
of the draft Declaration on the Rights
of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic,
Religious and Linguistic Minorities in that
regard,
Recalling its resolution 46/115 of 17 December
1991 and taking note of Commission
on Human Rights resolution 1992/16
of 21 February 1992,2 by which the Commission
approved the text of the draft declaration
on the rights of persons belonging to
national or ethnic, religious and linguistic
minorities, and Economic and Social Council
resolution 1992/4 of 20 July 1992, in
which the Council recommended it to the
General Assembly for adoption and further
action,
Having considered the note by the Secretary-
General,3
1. Adopts the Declaration on the Rights of
Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic,
Religious and Linguistic Minorities, the
text of which is annexed to the present
resolution;
2. Requests the Secretary-General to ensure
the distribution of the Declaration as
widely as possible and to include the text
of the Declaration in the next edition of
Human Rights: A Compilation o f International
Instruments;
3. Invites United Nations agencies and organizations
and intergovernmental and
non-governmental organizations to intensify
their efforts with a view to disseminating
information on the Declaration
and to promoting understanding thereof;
4. Invites the relevant organs and bodies of
the United Nations, including treaty bodies,
as well as representatives of the
2 See Official Records of the Economic and Social Council,
1992. Supplement No. 2 (E/1992/22), chap. II, sect. A.
3 A/47/501.
DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS BELONGING TO NATIONAL OR ETHNIC, RELIGIOUS
AND LINGUISTIC MINORITIES
2
Commission on Human Rights and the
Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination
and Protection of Minorities,
to give due regard to the Declaration
within their mandates;
5. Requests the Secretary-General to consider
appropriate ways for the effective promotion
of the Declaration and to make proposals
thereon;
6. Also requests the Secretary-General to report
to the General Assembly at its fortyeighth
session on the implementation of
the present resolution under the item entitled
»Human rights questions».
92nd plenary meeting
18 December 1992
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, 4 the
convention on the Prevention and Punishment
of the Crime of Genocide,5 the International
Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 6 the
International Covenant on Civil and political
Rights,7 the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights,8 the Declaration
on the Elimination of All Forms of
Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on
Religion or Belief,9 and the Convention on
the Rights of the Child,10 as well as other
4 Resolution 217 A (III).
5 Resolution 260 A (III), annex.
6 Resolution 2106 A (XX), annex.
7 See resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.
8 See resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.
9 Resolution 36/55.
10 Resolution 44/25, annex.
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 11 and
other relevant international human rights
instruments in promoting and protecting the
rights of persons belonging to national or
ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities,
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,
11 See resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.
DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS BELONGING TO NATIONAL OR ETHNIC, RELIGIOUS
AND LINGUISTIC MINORITIES
3
Proclaims this Declaration on the Rights of
Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic,
Religious and Linguistic Minorities:
Article 1
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.
Article 2
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 life.
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 be long 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.
Article 3
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 any discrimination.
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.
Article 4
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
mother tongue.
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 whole.
5. States should consider appropriate measures
so that persons belonging to minorities
may participate fully in the economic
progress and development in their country.
Article 5
1. National policies and programmes shall be
planned and implemented with due regard
for the legitimate interests of persons
belonging to minorities.
2. Programmes of cooperation and assistance
among States should be planned
DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS BELONGING TO NATIONAL OR ETHNIC, RELIGIOUS
AND LINGUISTIC MINORITIES
4
and implemented with due regard for the
legitimate interests of persons belonging
to minorities.
Article 6
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.
Article 7
States should cooperate in order to promote
respect for the rights set forth in the present
Declaration.
Article 8
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 parties.
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.
Article 9
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.