3-4 June - Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants Under the Spotlight

- At a time when language tests are being used as a tool to reduce immigration, the Council of Europe is offering unique guidance to its governments on language policies and evaluation tools which help migrants integrate successfully.
The 3rd Intergovernmental Conference on Quality in the Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants (LIAM): from values to policy and practice is being held this week, 3-4 June, in Strasbourg. The conference will present new resources developed by the Council of Europe and will look at the results of its latest survey across 36 European countries on language requirements for entry, residence and citizenship.
Presentations will also be made on initiatives based on Council of Europe tools to improve the integration of migrants in Italy and Slovenia, local initiatives in Hamburg (Germany), Strasbourg (France), Torres Vedras (Portugal) and Wels (Austria) and work undertaken by the EU and OECD.

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16 May: Statement by the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) on the situation of Ukraine

The Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, meeting in Strasbourg from 13-16 May 2014 for its 47th plenary session, adopted a statement on the situation in Ukraine, particularly expressing its concern for the minority languages in Crimea.
The Charter is the European convention for the protection and promotion of traditionally used languages. The above-mentioned committee of independent experts monitors its application by the states parties.

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Statement
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29/04/2014, Strasbourg - 96th meeting of the Senior Officials of the CEMAT

The 96th meeting of the Senior Officials of the CEMAT will take place on 29 April 2014 in Strasbourg at the Council of Europe Headquarters (Agora Building Room G6).
The meeting is organised in view of the preparation of the 16th Ministerial Conference of the CEMAT to be held in Napflion, Greece, on 17 June 2014.
The topics to be discussed will be the role of public participation in the process of sustainable development of the European continent and the role of CEMAT in the Council of Europe.
Participants in the meeting are invited to confirm their participation by email at: infocemat@coe.int before the 23 April.

Agenda and meeting's documents

23 April 2014 : Europe takes major step forward to protect women’s rights

Strasbourg, 23 April 2014 - As Andorra became the 10th country to ratify the Council of Europe's Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, the treaty – which required 10 ratifications to enter into force – will become applicable on 1 August this year. In a statement today, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland praises its application, stressing how the convention pulls together judicial reform, victim support and monitoring to eradicate violence against women. The convention’s entry into force is set for 1 August this year, because governments that have ratified need time to take necessary administrative steps to apply it. So far the following countries have ratified the treaty: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Spain and Turkey. Denmark is expected to ratify this week as well.

Statement by the Secretary General

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23 April 2014 : Europe takes major step forward to protect women's rights

Strasbourg, 23 April 2014 - As Andorra became the 10th country to ratify the Council of Europe's Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, the treaty – which required 10 ratifications to enter into force – will become applicable on 1 August this year. In a statement today, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland praises its application, stressing how the convention pulls together judicial reform, victim support and monitoring to eradicate violence against women. The convention’s entry into force is set for 1 August this year, because governments that have ratified need time to take necessary administrative steps to apply it. So far the following countries have ratified the treaty: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Spain and Turkey. Denmark is expected to ratify this week as well.

Statement by the Secretary General


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More information




8 April 2014 : Celebration of the International Roma Day

On the occasion of the International Day of Roma, 8 April, the Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland released the following statement:
"International Roma Day should remind us of the Roma people’s rich contribution to European culture. [...] However, the sad reality is that most of Europe’s ten million Roma still live in segregation and dire poverty. [...] The Roma people face discrimination in the media, in politics and in the jobs market on a daily basis. [...] Mayors and local councils in cities like Duisburg, Germany and Strasbourg, France, deserve praise for resisting populist sentiment as they work hard to find humane solutions. International organisations including the Council of Europe, the European Commission and the Open Society Foundation agree that the focus of assistance must now be at the local level".

Full statement (press release)

The exhibition 'Romani language: an asset for education and diversity' by Marcel Courthiade will be inagurated on 8 April at 2 pm in the entrance hall of the Palais de l’Europe, on the occasion of the International Roma Day, together with the launch of the new anti-discrimination and anti-Gypsyism videos of the Dosta! Campaign against prejudice and stereotypes towards Roma.
Photo exhibition: Accomplished paths of integration
Draft programme

Read also:
Making human rights for Roma a reality


1 April 2014, Ukraine : Ukraine: Advisory Committee underlines concerns about Crimean Tatars

The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities welcomes the prompt publication by the Committee of Ministers of its ad hoc report on the situation of national minorities in Ukraine, which was adopted on 1 April 2014. The report reflects the findings of the delegation of the Advisory Committee during its meetings in Ukraine from 21 – 26 March 2014. The Advisory Committee remains deeply concerned about the safety and access to rights of minority populations in Crimea, in particular the Crimean Tatars and persons belonging to the Ukrainian community. Legislative amendments in Ukraine pertaining to national minorities are not to be introduced hastily and should be adopted following a comprehensive and effective consultation process with representatives of all minorities.
The Advisory Committee underlines the full applicability of the rights contained in the Framework Convention throughout the territory of member states, including in areas subjected to the use or threat of force. The Advisory Committee decided not to travel to Crimea in March 2014, among others because of safety concerns for the interlocutors in Crimea and considerable practical uncertainties. It stands ready, however, to hold meetings with minority representatives in Crimea as soon as feasible and opportune.

The Committee of Ministers Resolution and the ACFC report are found at: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/minorities/4_Events/News_Situation_Ukraine_03apr2014_en.asp


31 March 2014, Strasbourg - Situation of minority languages in Ukraine


The protection of national minorities and their languages continues to enjoy a high level of legal recognition in Ukraine, says the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In respect of the Russian language, most undertakings chosen by Ukraine under the Charter are fulfilled or partly fulfilled. However, several of the Charter undertakings still need to be implemented for the Belarusian, Bulgarian, Crimean Tatar, Gagauz, German, Greek, Hungarian, Moldovan, Polish, Romanian, Slovak and Yiddish languages.

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28 March 2014, Strasbourg - EYF - New 2014 priority: The Joint Council on Youth encourages support for Ukrainian youth


At its 30th meeting, 24-26 March 2014, the Joint Council on Youth expressed its concerns about the gravity of the current situation in Ukraine, notably for young people and civil society. It underlined the necessity to react as quickly as possible to urgent challenges young people are facing, notably through the grants of the European Youth Foundation (EYF).
The Joint Council on Youth decided that urgent priority should be given to pilot activities on capacity building and conflict transformation developed by Ukrainian NGOs, or European NGOs wishing to co-operate with Ukrainian NGOs on these two issues.

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28 March 2014 - ECRI concerned about treatment of minorities in Crimea and elsewhere


In an online statement, the Council of Europe’s European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) expressed grave concern at serious allegations of intimidation and discrimination against Ukrainian speakers and Tatars in the Crimean region.
While not accepting the legitimacy of the Russian Federation takeover of the Crimean region, ECRI has called on the Russian Federation authorities to ensure protection of Ukrainian speakers and Tatars in Crimea.
ECRI also called upon the Ukrainian authorities to oppose firmly any discrimination against Russian speakers and other groups in the country.
ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin, citizenship, colour, religion and language (racial discrimination), as well as xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance, prepares reports and issues recommendations to member States.

Statement

See also :
Ukraine and the Council of Europe


Online conference on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages


28-29/03/2014 - Strasbourg - Online conference on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
An online conference on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) will take place on 28 and 29 March 2014. Organised by an external organisation, it addresses all language professionals and, more generally, all those interested in language learning and teaching. The Language Policy Unit (LPU) and the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) of the Council of Europe will take part.
This two-day conference aims to create a platform for all stakeholders, for example policy-makers, test organisations, teachers and learners across and beyond Europe, in order to promote an exchange of ideas on where we now stand and where the CEFR could/should be going over the next ten years. All conference discussions, presentations and workshops will be broadcast live on the web so that everyone with access to a computer and the internet can participate.

Presentation
CEFR web conference



Council of Europe and European Commission

A new Council of Europe/European Commission programme (ROMACT) has been launched in five countries



Strasbourg, 25 February 2014 - Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland and European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor announced today, plans to reinforce local authorities’ efforts to overcome inequalities between Roma and non-Roma citizens in their municipalities.
A new Council of Europe/European Commission programme (ROMACT) has been launched in five countries (Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Romania), with around 40 participating municipalities.
ROMACT mobilises sustained political commitment and policy engagement towards Roma inclusion by local authorities, given that local administrations sometimes lack the political conviction and/or capacity to implement Roma integration policies – including accessing available EU funding.
Activities under ROMACT include guidance, peer learning, coaching and mentoring to help to translate commitments into concrete action. This work will be sustained and extended by further contributions later this year to expand the scope of these activities. The Commission and the Council of Europe have already signed a financial decision to provide more than €1 000 000 for ROMACT. The same amount will be issued in a second phase to improve local projects for Roma integration. Thanks to ROMACT, several municipalities in Romania and Bulgaria have already benefitted from specific measures that involve both local authorities and Roma communities.
Europe’s estimated 10-12 million Roma face prejudice, intolerance, abuse and social exclusion on a daily basis. Local and regional measures are essential to improving their lives in areas such as education, employment, housing and health.
ROMACT is a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, implemented by the Council of Europe with the support of the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion.

See also:
Roma rights
The Council of Europe and the European Union: different roles, shared values


ECRI reports on Germany and Belgium: concerns over racism and intolerance

Strasbourg, 25 February 2014 - European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)
New reports from the Council of Europe’s expert body on racism and intolerance, ECRI, have raised a number of concerns with regard to Germany and Belgium, despite significant improvements in both countries in recent years.
In Germany, ECRI noted a high level of violence - including murders - motivated by racism and homo- or transphobia. It expressed concern about the lack of public reaction to xenophobic statements such as those against religious groups or immigrants focusing on security issues or the “integration deficit”. ECRI also referred to considerable discrimination towards LGBT people in the country.
Concerning Belgium, ECRI noted a sharp increase in hate speech online. The report underlined that ethnic and religious groups, in particular Muslims, continue to face discrimination in key areas of life such as employment. ECRI also expressed concern about the absence of an independent anti-discrimination body that could deal with language issues.
ECRI – the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance – prepares regular reports and recommendations, based on information from a wide range of sources, on laws and practices in all 47 Council of Europe countries.
Reports looking at the extent to which Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain and Turkey have so far complied with earlier ECRI recommendations have also just been published.
Report on Germany
Report on Belgium
Read also:
Belgium and the Council of Europe
Germany and the Council of Europe