Sussex Centre for Human Rights Research

Minority Rights Solidarity Network


We are a group of academics and practitioners working in the field of minority rights (in different ways and in different disciplines), having a variety of different backgrounds and regional experiences. We came together to discuss, review, and reinforce our work in international minority rights through cooperation, support, and reflections on the latest trends on minority rights protection. Our aim is to build on the cooperation by developing and maintaining robust links among a variety of experts concerned with minority rights and by providing support and space for collaboration to our members.

Background and Links to the Sussex Centre for Human Rights Research

The Network was established in January 2023 following discussions at the UN Regional Forums on Minority Issues and at the UN Forum on Minority Issues in Geneva in 2022, where the idea of new minority rights treaty was discussed and subsequently proposed by the then UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Fernand de Varennes. A number of our members were previously involved with the UK Network on Minority Groups and Human Rights and our work builds on those earlier experiences and initiatives.

Stephanie Berry, Co-Director of the SCHRR at the University of Sussex, and Elizabeth Craig (SCHRR member) were founding members of the steering group, with Elizabeth (co-)chairing the steering group in 2023.

2023 Events Highlights

The first official MRSN event was organised in conjunction with the Sussex Centre for Human Rights Research on 11 May 2023, and was focused on REFORM of the UN Minority Rights Regime. This was followed up by the organisation of a panel on Minority Rights Reform at the “UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna 1993 – Strengthening Imperatives 30 Years After” held in Vienna from Wednesday, 27, to Friday, 29 September 2023. 

MRSN Launch Event Participants posing in group smiling Sep 2023

MRSN Launch Event Participants

We held our first public lecture on 14 November 2023 in conjunction with the School of Advanced Study, University of London. Prof. Mohammad Shahabuddin from the University of Birmingham presented his recently published paper on ‘Decolonising Minority Rights’. The event was hosted by Corinne Lennox, with Farah Mihlar also participating as a discussant. A recording of this event is now available. 

The MRSN also co-organised a side-event with the Tom Lantos Institute on ‘The Role of the UN Forum on Minority Issues as a Tool for Cohesive Societies’ at the 16th session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues in December 2023. 

Looking Forward 

To find out more about the network and our future plans, please contact one of the members of the MRSN steering group. The steering group for 2024 consists of Tawhida Ahmed (chair), Lilija Alijeva, Anna-Mária Bíró, Elizabeth CraigStephanie Berry, Corinne Lennox and Isilay Taban-McQuade.

Tawhida Ahmed and Lilija Alijeva have together obtained funding for an event focused on further developing knowledge exchange and outreach/stakeholder engagement initiatives, with a first event planned for Spring 2024. There are also plans to continue our conversations on decolonising minority rights discourse through various events and initiatives, and our conversations with the current UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues.