The links the term minority with “national

The Geneva Convention of 1951 recognizes in its article 1 the right of asylum for all people “persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, belonging to a certain social group or political opinions”; prohibiting discrimination in the application of this provision in Article 3: “The Contracting States shall apply the provisions of this Convention to refugees without discrimination as to race, religion or country of origin”.Discrimination has different versions regardless of belonging to a refugee group. It can be direct or indirect: the direct scope discriminates a particular person or group, (such as not renting apartments to immigrants). The indirect discrimination responds to a disadvantage in the application of seemingly neutral criteria (for example, height requirements for the police service). In this regard, the Council of Europe warns about structural discrimination, maintained through norms, routines and attitudes that block the objective of equal opportunities.Some examples of this discrimination and other intolerances are racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Gypsyism or religious intolerance. The growth of Nazi-reasoning trends is worrying, for example the relation established between these groups and public health or safety issues. These stereotypes, which manipulate the public speech through the simplification of complex problems, promote discrimination based on unfounded beliefs or isolated cases, feeding shameful political actions such as the extradition of Roma people in France (2010), a decision that 65% of French citizens agreed with.There is an extensive legal framework in International and European Law for the protection of minorities. The main legal instrument is the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities that links the term minority with “national or ethical, religious and linguistic minorities”. The reality shows that there is no homogenous term for defining this concept and that brings up the obstacles to implement any protection. The defence of national or ethical, religious and linguistic minorities is unquestionable, but it is also important the aspect of discrimination based on gender, disability or sexual orientation, but the legislation does not develop this particular protection.However, the main and most developed criteria for allowing international protection is nationality. The UN Working Group for Minorities recognizes it; although it points out that there may be minorities historically settled in a territory that may have more rights than the “new” minorities. In this regard, there are several instruments in international law to guarantee equality in the field of international protection regardless of nationality: the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, the Convention relating the status of stateless persons, the Convention relating the status of refugees and the Declaration on the human rights of individuals who are not nationals of the country on which they live.One of the problems for receiving protection is that citizenship is often denied to members of certain ethnic, religious or linguistic groups; this means that the first discrimination comes from the lack of national recognition. This is the explanation of many cases of statelessness1 in the world, which are frequently the consequence of new independent states that do not recognize the nationality of certain groups.In any case, the United Nations has tried to develop a conceptual framework to protect the rights of minorities in three areas: protection of identity, non-discrimination and participation. In international law there are several instruments where the rights of minorities are protected regardless the nationality:-            About ethnic minorities, article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination prohibit discrimination against all persons within any territory for reasons of race, colour, sex, language, religion, politics or other opinion, national or social origin or other status. The Council of Europe recognizes exceptions to discrimination in justified situations and very limited cases.-            Linguistic minorities are included in article 27 of the ICCPR. In addition, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in its article 30, repeats that children have the right to use their mother tongue in a general way. The UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education of 1960, in its article 5.1 c), recognizes the right of national minorities to carry their own educational activities, including the use of their language. The Council of Europe, through the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, defines and protects the languages ??spoken by a large minority of the inhabitants of a state. It protects languages, but not speakers. With this last instrument, the dialects and languages ??of the immigrants are left out of protection; even the naturalized immigrants. Nevertheless, the Venice Commission2 has resolved that the obligations of protection and recognition are competences of each State.-            Regarding religious minorities, article 27 of the ICCPR contains the right to religious practice of ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities. In addition, article 18 prohibits incitement to religious hatred and criminalizes hate speech. The Council of Europe, through the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights3 and the Commission against Racism and Islamophobia4, has developed recommendations for combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims and other rights with relation to religions or beliefs.Non-discrimination on the basis of nationality is also codified in article 3.3 of the Treaty on European Union and in its article 2 recognizes the respect for human rights, including minorities.The European Union also demands, through the Copenhagen Criteria5, the protection of minorities; however, once a State joins the European Union, the Commission loses competence in this area. It is extremely contradictory since there is no monitoring of this protection from behalf of European institutions, undermining its guarantee.The European Union has three directives that develop non-discrimination: the Race Equality Directive, the Equal Treatment Directive and the Citizen’s Rights Directive, apart from the Charter of Fundamental Rights.Notwithstanding these instruments, the European Commission has noticed that there are Member States failing to fulfil their obligations: many of them are not transposing the requirements of the Framework Decision for fighting against racism and xenophobia through the criminal law (2008), since they do not recognize the racial motivation of many crimes; the Equal Treatment Directive leaves the definition of protected characteristics or the nature of the sanctions to the discretion of the States; and regarding third-country nationals, the European Union has developed the 2003 Directive on long-term residents, which has been appealed in the Court of Justice of the European Union, but the jurisprudence focuses the cases on individual rights, not on minorities.All these deficiencies in the protection of minorities come from the lack of monitoring procedures with respect to the rights recognized in International and European Law, but it is also linked to the lack of organizational capacity of minorities, who often suffer from problems of transparency or self-censorship6, blocking their participation in the public scene. United Nations recognises that an optimum level of identity protection can only be achieved through an inclusive and participatory vision of minorities. Its inclusion in the public space, making political decisions and taking part of them through consultative mechanisms, is vital for the development of solutions adapted to their realities. There are some exceptions to these protection deficiencies, as several Member States have developed very useful instruments against discrimination: funds for support of minority national cultures (Slovakia), anti-Gypsyism Commissions (Sweden) or the Council of the official languages ??(Spain), but there is still a long way ahead.The refugees belonging to minorities or indigenous groups face several additional challenges in the host state: the difficult access to information necessary for their participation is one of them. Problems of language or lack of representation reduce self-identification, which is the possibility of defining themselves as minorities, since they are not aware of whether it is safe for them or not to be identified as part of that minority. In this area, the efforts of public authorities guaranteeing the conditions for these refugees to assume their own recognition are crucial: avoiding pressure and preserving their security.The protection must be based on rights and inclusive programs, offering the same opportunities to all refugees without discrimination: access to basic services, for example, is one of the activities in which differences cannot be permitted.The maintenance of identity is another key pillar for minority protection and indigenous refugees, facilitating the possibility to develop their culture, language, religion and customs with freedom. There are numerous normative texts that protect the rights of minorities, however, language and traditions can be at risk during the displacement. It happens with small groups who are separated from those who promote their cultures (religious leaders, teachers…). The authorities must also facilitate the availability of public spaces to practice these cultures, promote integration programs (with bidirectional content, for the majority refugees on minority cultures and vice versa) and guarantee the use of the mother tongue.Minority and indigenous refugees are also exposed to discrimination, poverty, trafficking or exclusion during displacement. These situations usually come from their own communities, where they can be discriminated before the migration movement. To face this circumstance, the groups of migrants must be analysed to know their condition from a gender, age and diversity perspective; promoting their participation. In order to address these problems, the collection of data is crucial: participation or discrimination, are details that must be known to get a real diagnosis about minority and indigenous refugees. Nowadays, this official compilation mechanism does not exist.To sum up, both International and European Law have developed instruments in the field of non-discrimination. The problems arising from its inefficiency come from the lack of monitoring competence of the European Union.International regulations recognize the participation of minorities, the promotion of their cultures and languages ??or the protection of their activities as crucial for their integration. However, the effectiveness of the instruments at the service of these objectives is not ensured, as the public authorities are not working on their implementation.The current reality is that the rights of any refugee are not correctly protected in the Member States of the European Union, regardless of whether they are minorities, stateless, women or minors. There is a massive ineffectiveness in the application of Humanitarian Law, also from a European scope. The development of a coherent, homogeneous and integrated regulation throughout the European Union is vital for the correct application of non-discrimination principle: the official collection of data, training programs based on tolerance, the facilitation of public spaces for the practice of minority cultures, the promotion of cultural identification based on institutional respect, bidirectional education, the homogenous application of codes of sanctions for hate crimes, etc. These are some of the challenges for the European Union.The development of standards in areas where the European Union cannot monitor the results generates a citizen feeling