The IFLA - OHCHR input - Minority Rights and Sustainable Developmentkey theme of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is “Leaving No-one Behind”; the pandemic has highlighted the urgency of addressing disproportionate barriers and disparities that various minority groups are experiencing. An IFLA input to a United Nations Human Rights Council consultation examines the role of access to information in facilitating minority rights within the sustainable development context, and ways that libraries support it.

A recent call for inputs by the UN Human Rights Council centred on the persistent issues of discrimination, exclusion and marginalisation experienced by various national, linguistic, ethnic and religious minorities. From outsized negative impacts of nascent technology trends on specific groups to more severe health outcomes and disproportionate economic impacts from COVID-19 pandemic response measures, it is now as crucial as ever to accelerate efforts to address these disparities.

The consultation aims to look at these inequalities through the lens of sustainable social and economic development. Drawing on the library field’s experiences with leveraging access to information as a key driver of development, this submission discusses:

Inequalities in access to information experienced by ethnic religious, linguistic and national minorities:

  • Unequal access to ICT and connectivity
  • A lack of access to relevant content, particularly for linguistic minorities; and disparities in access amnd representation in media
  • Inequalities in access to information which enables use of key services, the realisation of fundamental rights, and overall wellbeing

Good practices from the library field which seek to address these disparities:

  • Tailored initiatives to meet the information needs of specific minority groups
  • Access to educational and cultural materials
  • Initiatives that facilitate access to learning opportunities, inclusion and empowerment.

You can access the submission on the publications page.