Pahor marks 30 years of UN declaration on minority rights

New York – President Borut Pahor addressed on Wednesday a high-level meeting on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly session to mark the 30th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities. He said that 30 years on, the world was once again at a turning point.

The meeting was convened by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. In his address, Pahor said that “we are constantly reminded why these rights must be protected” and that “minorities must indeed play an integral role in national and local political, social, economic and cultural life”.

He said that Slovenia was committed to promoting and implementing the content of the declaration, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, since the country has been building a solid constitutional and legal framework to protect minority rights since its independence.

Slovenia’s constitution guarantees freedom of expression in terms of nationality, culture and language. The Italian and Hungarian minorities have the right to permanent representation in parliament, partly this applies to the Roma as well, and incitement to hatred is a criminal offence, Pahor said.

The Slovenian neighbourhood has never been “a rose garden”, the president pointed out, so he is particularly proud of the productive dialogue his country has with its neighbours. Pahor thanked his counterparts from Italy and Austria for their commitment to efforts to leave the legacy of a much darker period behind.

He called on all countries and individuals to never forget that the survival of this world depends on diversity, both in nature and society.

Pahor delivered an address to the General Debate of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, and he had a bilateral meeting with Guterres. The UN Secretary-General’s office said that they had discussed the impact of the war in Ukraine on Europe and other parts of the world, and the situation in the Western Balkans.

On the sidelines of the session, Pahor has had a number of bilateral meetings so far to promote Slovenia’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2024-2025.

Today, he will hold talks with the president of Burundi, the prime ministers of Tuvalu, Antigua and Barbuda, and Mauritius, and with Csaba Korosi, president of the General Assembly, where he will be joined by Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon.