The Minorities Fellowship Programme (MFP) was launched by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in 2005.
Through the MFP, the OHCHR aims to give persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities an opportunity to gain knowledge on the UN system and mechanisms dealing with international human rights in general and minority rights in particular. The MFP is intended to assist organizations and communities in protecting and promoting the rights of minorities the fellows belong to.
The MFP is held annually. The English language programme has been running since 2005 and the Arabic language programme started in 2007 until 2014. The Arabic language component began as a two-week pilot and gradually expanded to five weeks in 2011. The duration of the programmes varied until 2011, when both programmes were decided to last 5 weeks and coincide with the session of the Forum on Minority Issues. In 2014 the Minorities Fellowship Programme acquired a Russian language component, to be fully synchronized with the other two linguistic components.
The Fellows are based at the OHCHR Geneva, Switzerland. The MFP is interactive and consists of briefings on several topics (e.g. the UN system, OHCHR work, human rights mechanisms and instruments), fellows also undertake individual and group assignments.
At the end of the MFP, the fellows should have a general knowledge of the United Nations system, international human rights instruments and mechanisms in general and those relevant to minorities in particular and be capable of further training their communities/organizations. The Programme furthermore serves as an opportunity for human rights activists working towards the protection and promotion of minority rights to expand their partners’ base by building a strategic dialogue with fellow activists from across the globe, the United Nations, relevant Geneva-based NGOs, amongst other partners.
- This year, both the English and Russian language components of the Minorities Fellowship Programme will run from 13 November to 1 December 2017, in Geneva, Switzerland, and fellows will be able to learn more about the UN human right system in general and the promotion and protection of minority rights in particular, as well as participate in the 10th Session of the Forum on Minority Issues.
1. The candidate must belong to a national, ethnic, linguistic or religious minority group (persons who do not belong to a minority group will not be taken into consideration, even if they have close links with minority communities and/or organizations).
If your community identifies as indigenous, please do not apply to this programme but to our Indigenous Fellowship Programme. Please note that the Indigenous Fellowship is a separate programme and has different application forms and deadlines.
2. Formal education should not be a limitation to participation in the Minorities Fellowship Programme, if relevant experience can be demonstrated.
3. Candidates should have ability, willingness and possibility to train other persons belonging to minorities upon return to their respective communities/organizations and should agree to do so.
4. The candidates must have a good working knowledge of the language in which the programme is imparted (English).
5. The candidate should be proposed and his/her candidacy supported by his/her organization and/or community. It is desirable that the sponsoring organization has a firm constituency or membership, is representative, undertakes work on minority issues and is composed of persons belonging to minorities.
6. The overall goal of the Minorities Fellowship Programme is to offer persons belonging to minorities the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in the field of international human rights in order to assist their organizations and communities in protecting and promoting human and minority rights. Therefore, it is important that the candidate proposed and nominated by a minority organization or community be someone who will return to his or her NGO to work in this field.
- Fellows are entitled to the following:
- a return ticket (economy class) from the country of residence to Geneva;
- basic health insurance for the duration of the Programme;
- a stipend to cover modest accommodation and other living expenses for the duration of the Programme.