Council of Europe supports use of minority languages in official signage Strasbourg
21/8/2015 – The Council of Europe notes with regret that on 17 August 2015, the City Council of Vukovar / Вуковар (Croatia), where Serbs constitute a significant proportion of the population, decided to amend the Vukovar / Вуковар City Statute in such a way as not to provide bilingual signs in Latin and Cyrillic scripts at official town buildings, institutions, squares and streets of Vukovar / Вуковар. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe already had recommended on 15 April 2015 “that the Croatian authorities continue their efforts to promote awareness and tolerance vis-à-vis the minority languages, in all aspects, including usage of signs and traditional local names with inscriptions in Cyrillic script, based on the conclusions of the Committee of Experts […], and the cultures they represent as an integral part of the cultural heritage of Croatia, both in the general curriculum at all stages of education and in the media.” In this context, the Council of Europe reiterates that the use of minority languages in official signage is a promotional measure with a considerable positive effect for the prestige and public awareness of a minority language. This position is supported by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which in recent years adopted several recommendations calling on states to use minority languages on public signs. The Council of Europe therefore strongly regrets the removal of signs in minority languages through vandalism or pursuant to formal decisions aiming at limiting the presence of minority languages in the public and urges all relevant public authorities in all States Parties to fully implement the provisions of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML). Read more
Georgia and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages: information meeting for the speakers of the Armenian and Urum Turkish languages
On 30 June and 1 July 2015, the Council of Europe, in co-operation with national and local authorities, organised information meetings on the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages for the speakers of the Armenian and Urum Turkish languages residing in Tsalka, Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda. When acceding to the Council of Europe in 1999, Georgia committed itself to signing and ratifying the Charter. As one of the key conventions of the Council of Europe, the Charter aims to protect traditionally used minority languages as part of the country’s cultural heritage. The events informed representatives of the local authorities and the Armenian and Urum Turkish speakers about how the Charter will also protect their languages. They also provided the Armenian and Urum Turkish speakers with an opportunity to present the current situation and medium-term perspectives of their languages. During the discussions, the representatives of the Armenian and Urum Turkish speakers as well as the local authorities voiced support for the ratification of the Charter by Georgia. The meeting took place in the framework of the EU/Council of Europe Joint Programme “Civic Integration of National Minorities in Georgia and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages”. Similar events will be organised in Akhmeta and Kvareli (Kakheti region) for the speakers of the Kist/Chechen, Ossetian, Avar and Udi languages as well as for the local authorities in July 2015.
Minority languages in Montenegro: new evaluation report released
Strasbourg, 12 May 2015 – The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe today adopted recommendations and issued a new evaluation report on the application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in Montenegro. The report was drawn up by a committee of independent experts, which monitors the application of the Charter by the countries that have signed and ratified it. In the report, the Committee of Experts acknowledges the commitment and the efforts of the Montenegrin authorities to support and protect regional and minority languages. The report welcomes the effective granting of co-official status to the Albanian language in three municipalities, including in the fields of education, public administration and public broadcasting. Read more
Minority languages in Croatia: new evaluation report published
Strasbourg, 16.04.2015. - The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe issued on 15 April a new evaluation report on the application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in Croatia. The Council of Europe appreciates the positive climate of dialogue with the Croatian authorities on minority language protection. The evaluation report commends the Croatian authorities on the extension of the application of the Charter to German, Slovenian and Roma languages. It also welcomes the adoption by the Croatian authorities of a new Action Plan for the Implementation of the Constitutional Act on the Rights of National Minorities as a useful framework for the achievement of concrete and measurable objectives in the field of minority language promotion. However, the Action Plan does not cover all undertakings chosen by Croatia under the Charter, the report notes. Read more