Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

 

The role of NGOs in the monitoring mechanism of the FCNM

Introduction

NGOs and minority associations have a key role in the monitoring mechanism of the Framework Convention. Resolution 97 (10) on the monitoring arrangements of the FCNM explicitly provides that the Advisory Committee may receive and invite information from sources other than the State Report.

In practice, NGOs and minority associations, with the support from international NGOs such as Minority Rights Group (MRG), have very often used this opportunity to provide the Advisory Committee with well researched reports informing about the state of implementation of the Framework Convention on the ground. Such alternative information as well as the possibility to have direct contacts with NGOs, have been greatly appreciated by the Advisory Committee. They have proved to be essential for the Advisory Committee to effectively fulfil its monitoring tasks. 

NGOs possible input in the monitoring of the Framework Convention

NGOs and minorities may contribute to the monitoring of the FCNM in various stages of the procedure. While the below covers the monitoring procedure only, one should highlight that NGOs may also play an important role in encouraging the ratification of the Framework Convention for those States that have not yet done so.[1]

Below are examples of NGOs’ input in various phases of the monitoring:

-    Providing information to the Advisory Committee through different types of written submissions at the time when the Report of the State concerned is due (every 5 years): shadow reports[2] which cover the situation of one or several minorities and focus on selected articles or topics or provide information on all articles of the Framework Convention.

-    Ad hoc information may be sent as well on specific issues irrespective of the status of the monitoring with regard to the State concerned. Such information may for example draw attention to a specific development regarding the implementation of the Framework Convention in a given State Party.

-    Using the FCNM as a tool for dialogue: liaising with the State authorities during the preparation of the State Report, obtaining information on the implementation of the FCNM and discussing it, participate in follow-up meetings once the monitoring results are made public.

-    Increasing transparency by encouraging the authorities to publish the country-specific Opinion of the Advisory Committee  as soon as possible, as well as translate it in local languages.

-    Increasing awareness on minority rights by organizing training sessions for NGOs and minorities on the Framework Convention.

-    Contributing to the consultations undertaken by the Advisory Committee upon the preparation of its commentaries on specific themes.

Where to submit information?

Secretariat of the FCNM
F – 67075 Strasbourg Cedex
Fax: +33 (0)3 90 21 49 18
Tel: +33 (0)3 90 21 44 33
General mailbox: minorities.fcnm@coe.int

Where to find further guidance and information?

Advocacy Calendar : provides an overview of the monitoring cycle of the Framework Convention indicates how minority NGOs may contribute to the process.

See Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities: Opportunities for NGOs and Minorities, Minority Rights Group, April 2006, 88 pages, ISBN 1 904584 38 1

 

[1] These are: Andorra, Belgium, France, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Monaco and Turkey.

[2] See also MINELRES, list of shadow reports submitted by NGOs under the Framework Convention, http://www.cilevics.eu/minelres/coe/statereports.htm (up to 2010 only). For information on more recent shadow reports received by the Secretariat of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, please contact minorities.fcnm@coe.int .