Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

 

News 2010

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Contact :
Secretariat of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, Strasbourg (France)
www.coe.int/minorities, tel +33 (0)3 90 21 44 33

[14/12/2010]    Election of an expert in respect of Finland, Slovenia and Austria to the list of experts eligible to serve on the Advisory Committee

[06/12/2010]    Protection of national minorities: Council of Europe monitoring body publishes report on Germany

[06/12/2010]    Protection of national minorities: Council of Europe monitoring body publishes report on Croatia

[29/11/2010]    
"the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
Moldova: follow-up Seminar

[16/11/2010]
Slovenia: visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
Ireland: follow-up Seminar

[15/10/2010]    Advisory Committee: adoption of three opinions and election of  the new bureau

[12/10/2010]    Cyprus: publication of the 3rd ACFC Opinion

[17/09/2010]    Council of Europe monitoring body publishes report on Hungary

[14/09/2010]    Estonia: visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

[06/09/2010]    Denmark: visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

[23/08/2010]    Spain: receipt of the 3rd cycle State Report

[23/08/2010]    Austria: receipt of the 3rd cycle State Report

 [02/07/2010]   Liechtenstein: adoption of the Committee of Ministers' 3rd cycle resolution

[01/07/2010]
Slovenia:  receipt of the third cycle State Report
Albania: follow-up Seminar
Czech Republic: receipt of the third cycle State Report
Norway: receipt of the third cycle State Report

[21/06/2010]
Advisory Committee: Election of an expert to the list of experts eligible to serve on the Advisory Committee in respect of Italy
Armenia: visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
Italy:
visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

[17/06/2010]    Advisory Committee: new composition

[02/06/2010]    Council of Europe report on Kosovo: Inter-ethnic relations to be improved; minority protection laws to be implemented

[28/05/2010]    Adoption of three Advisory Committee Opinions

[18/05/2010]
Azerbaijan: election of an expert eligible to serve on the Advisory Committee
Bulgaria: election of an expert eligible to serve on the Advisory Committee
Croatia: election of an expert eligible to serve on the Advisory Committee
Finland:
visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
Moldova:
adoption of the Committee of Ministers' resolution
"The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia": election of an expert eligible to serve on the Advisory Committee
DH-MIN:
adopted decisions of the 11th Meeting

[30/04/2010]    Portugal: publication of the second opinion

[28/04/2010]    Denmark: receipt of the third cycle State Report

[27/04/2010]    Estonia: receipt of the third cycle State Report

[23/04/2010    San Marino: adoption of the Committee of Ministers' 3rd cycle resolution

[19/04/2010]    "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" and the Russian Federation: receipt of the 3rd cycle State Reports

[09/04/2010]    Liechtenstein: publication of the third opinion

[30/03/2010]    UK: receipt of the third cycle State Report

[29/03/2010]    Montenegro: Follow-up seminar on the implementation of the Framework Convention

[19/03/2010]    Adoption of three Advisory Committee Opinions

[24/02/2010]    DH-MIN terms of reference extended for a further two years

[22/02/2010]    Croatia: visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

[17/02/2010]    Finland: receipt of the third cycle State Report

[17/02/2010]    The Netherlands: publication of the first opinion

[08/01/2010]    Moldova: publication of the third opinion

[08/01/2010]    Italy: receipt of the third cycle State Report


14/12/2010
Election of an expert in respect of Finland, Slovenia and Austria to the list of experts eligible to serve on the Advisory Committee

Mr Eero J. AARNIO, in respect of Finland.on 29 September 2010 (Resolution CM/ResCMN(2010)11)
Mrs Petra ROTER, in respect of Slovenia on 29 September 2010 (Resolution CM/ResCMN(2010)10)
Ms Brigitta BUSCH, in respect of Austria on 17 November 2010 (Resolution CM/ResCMN(2010)12)


06/12/2010
Protection of national minorities: Council of Europe monitoring body publishes report on Germany

The Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities today published its Third Opinion on Germany, and the government’s Comments. Its key conclusions are the following:

The German authorities have continued to support the development of the languages and cultures of persons belonging to national minorities. A range of mechanisms enable minorities to participate in the decision-making process on issues of relevance to them. The legal framework for the protection of minority cultures and languages is well developed. However, further action is needed to create an environment more likely to encourage the use of minority languages in daily life.

The likelihood of further lignite mining in Saxony and Brandenburg threatens the linguistic, cultural and historical heritage of the Sorbian minority if whole villages at the heart of the region traditionally inhabited by the Sorbian minority are relocated. The authorities should pay close attention to the interests of persons belonging to the Sorbian minority if new relocations of the population are considered.

In 2006 Germany adopted the General Equal Treatment Act and set up a Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency. However, this Agency is limited to providing advice to potential victims but cannot instigate proceedings. It seems that potential victims of discrimination are still unfamiliar with the Act’s provisions and that too little use is made of them in cases of ethnically-motivated discrimination. The authorities should raise public awareness of the General Equal Treatment Act so that persons most vulnerable to discrimination be fully informed of the legal remedies available to them.

Participation in public life by the Roma and Sinti is very low. Cases of discrimination against them in the education system continue to be reported, as well as instances of their being denied access to public places and of ethnic profiling by the police. The Committee underlines the need for measures to increase the participation of the Roma and Sinti in social and political life and to promote equal opportunities for Roma and Sinti pupils in the educational system.

In the last years there has been no decrease in the number of racist, xenophobic or anti-Semitic offences, despite efforts made by the authorities. Measures to combat racism are mainly focused on extreme right-wing movements and do not provide an adequate response to the many dimensions and manifestations of racism. The Advisory Committee calls on the German authorities to adopt targeted measures to prevent the spread of prejudice and racist language through certain media, on the Internet and in sports stadiums. It also requests the adoption of specific legislation punishing racist motivation as an aggravating factor of any offence.

***

In Germany there are four recognised minorities: Danish, Frisian, Roma and Sinti and Sorbian.


06/12/2010
Protection of national minorities: Council of Europe monitoring body publishes report on Croatia

The Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities today published an Opinion on Croatia, together with the government’s Comments.

Since ratifying the convention in 1997, Croatia has continued its efforts to protect national minorities. In 2002 it adopted the Constitutional Act on the Rights of National Minorities and in 2008 the Discrimination Prevention Act. This law creates a clear legal basis for protection against discrimination on racial, ethnic, national or religious grounds, and sets up a judicial procedure for its enforcement.

Croatia has created a well-developed system of minority language education, permitting students belonging to national minorities to receive instruction in or of their languages. Textbooks in minority languages have been made available at primary schools but the same step still should be taken in secondary education.

The authorities have increased efforts to combat discrimination and integrate Roma into society. The National Action Plan for the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 has already yielded some results, especially through increased inclusion of Roma children into the educational system, improved access to health care for the Roma population, and sustained efforts to resolve housing issues.

Despite these positive developments, Roma continue to face persistent discrimination and difficulties in different sectors, in particular in employment, education, access to healthcare and housing. In some settlements the inhabitants face deplorable living conditions, without proper roofing, electricity, running water, sewage treatment, and roads.

The Advisory Committee expresses its concern about the lack of respect of the right to proportional representation of persons belonging to national minorities in the public administration, the judiciary, local government and public enterprises, and stresses the need to review the procedures applicable to the implementation of this right.

Ethnically-motivated incidents - in particular against Serbs and Roma - continue to be a serious problem as well as the continued impunity of the perpetrators. Many attacks are not reported due to a lack of trust in the police and justice systems. Racism and anti-Semitism plague Croatian football stadiums.

The functioning of the councils of national minorities is unsatisfactory in many self-government units. Their legal provisions and administrative practice should be revised to improve their representativity, funding and cooperation with local authorities.

The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities provides for a monitoring system whereby the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, assisted by the Advisory Committee, composed of independent experts, evaluates the implementation of the convention.


29/11/2010
"the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia":
visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
A delegation of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities will visit Skopje and Tetovo from 29 November - 2 December 2010 in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of this convention in "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia".

This is the third visit of the Advisory Committee. The Delegation will have meetings with the representatives of all relevant ministries, the Ombudsman, public officials, NGOs, as well as national minority organisations.

The Delegation includes Ms Anastasia CRICKLEY (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of Ireland), Ms Milena KLAJNER (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of Croatia) and Ms Edita ZIOBIENE (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of Lithuania). They will be accompanied by Mr  Krzysztof  ZYMAN of the Secretariat of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Note: "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" submitted its third State Report under the Framework Convention in March 2010. Following its visit, the Advisory Committee will adopt its own report (called Opinion), which will be sent to the Government for comments. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will then adopt conclusions and recommendations..

Moldova: Follow-up Seminar on the implementation of the Framework Convention
The Moldovan authorities and the Council of Europe are organising a follow-up seminar today to discuss how the findings of the monitoring bodies of the Framework Convention are being implemented in Moldova.


16/11/2010
Slovenia: visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (15-18 November 2010)
Ireland:
Follow-up Seminar (11 November 2010)


15/10/2010
Advisory Committee: adoption of three opinions and election of the new bureau
The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities adopted three country-specific opinions under the third cycle of monitoring the implementation of this convention in States Parties.

The Opinions on Armenia and Finland were adopted on 14 October, and the Opinion on Italy was adopted on 15 October. They are restricted for the time-being. These three opinions will now be submitted to the Committee of Ministers, which is to adopt conclusions and recommendations.

The new bureau of the Advisory Committee is as follows :

Mr Rainer Hofmann, President
Ms Lidija Basta-Fleiner, 1st Vice-President
Ms Barbara Wilson, 2nd Vice-President


12/10/2010
Cyprus: publication of the third cycle opinion
The 3rd Opinion of the Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) on Cyprus has been made public at the same time as the government comments. The Advisory Committee adopted this Opinion in March 2010.


17/09/2010
Council of Europe monitoring body publishes report on Hungary

Strasbourg, 22.09.2010 – The Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities has published its third Opinion on Hungary, together with the government’s Comments following the authorities’ agreement to early publication. Its key conclusions are the following:

Hungary has made considerable efforts to improve the legal protection of persons belonging to national minorities in the last years. The scope of anti-discrimination legislation has been extended and the Equal Treatment Authority has sanctioned discrimination against persons belonging to national minorities.

However, in spite of these positive developments, Roma are confronted with discrimination and are the victims of racially-motivated offences. Cases of ill-treatment by police officers have also been reported. Given the climate of intolerance that is developing in some segments of the Hungarian society, the Committee calls on the authorities to act vigorously to promote intercultural dialogue and to combat all forms of intolerance, including in the media and in political discourse.

Authorities must also prevent, investigate and sanction all forms of discrimination by police officers. The Committee recommends reviewing anti-discrimination legislation to sanction racist and hate speech while ensuring freedom of expression.

The authorities have launched an ambitious action plan aimed at improving the situation of the Roma in several spheres such as housing, employment, education and health. However, further efforts are needed, in particular in the field of education.

The reform of minority self-governments guarantees that they are financially and operationally independent, particularly in the fields of culture and education.

Despite the fact that there is a highly developed system for the representation of minorities, the institutional framework needs to be rapidly adjusted to ensure that national minorities are adequately represented in the Hungarian Parliament.

The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities provides for a monitoring system whereby the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, assisted by the Advisory Committee, composed of independent experts, evaluates the implementation of the convention.


14/09/2010
Estonia:
 visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
A delegation of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities will visit Tallinn, Ida-Viru County and Narva, from 14 - 17 September 2010 in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of this convention in Estonia.

This is the third visit of the Advisory Committee to Estonia. The Delegation will have meetings with the representatives of all relevant ministries, public officials, NGOs, as well as national minority organisations.

The Delegation includes Mr Rainer HOFMANN (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of Germany and President of the Advisory Committee a.I.), Ms Athanasia SPILIOPOULOU ÅKERMARK (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of Sweden) and Ms Marieke J. SANDERS-TEN HOLTE (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of the Netherlands). They will be accompanied by Ms Charlotte ALTENHÖNER-DION of the Secretariat of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Note: Estonia submitted its third State Report under the Framework Convention in April 2010. Following its visit, the Advisory Committee will adopt its own report (called Opinion), which will be sent to the Estonian Government for comments. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will then adopt conclusions and recommendations in respect of Estonia.


06/09/2010
Denmark:
 visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
A delegation of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities will visit Copenhagen and Åbenrå, from 6 - 9 September 2010 in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of this convention in Denmark.

This is the third visit of the Advisory Committee to Denmark. The Delegation will have meetings with the representatives of all relevant ministries, public officials, NGOs, as well as national minority organisations.

The Delegation includes Mr. Gáspár BIRÓ (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of Hungary) and Ms Barbara WILSON (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of Switzerland). They will be accompanied by Ms Michèle AKIP, Head of the Secretariat of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Note: Denmark submitted its third State Report under the Framework Convention in March 2010. Following its visit, the Advisory Committee will adopt its own report (called Opinion), which will be sent to the Danish Government for comments. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will then adopt conclusions and recommendations in respect of Denmark.


23/08/2010
Spain: receipt of the third cycle State Report

Spain submitted on 23 August 2010 its third state report in English and Spanish, pursuant to Article 25, paragraph 2, of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. It is now up to the Advisory Committee to consider it and adopt an opinion intended for the Committee of Ministers.


23/08/2010
Austria: receipt of the third cycle State Report

Austria submitted on 23 August 2010 its third state report in English and German, pursuant to Article 25, paragraph 2, of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. It is now up to the Advisory Committee to consider it and adopt an opinion intended for the Committee of Ministers.


02/07/2010
Liechtenstein: Adoption of the 3rd Committee of Ministers'  Resolution
The Committee of Ministers has just adopted a resolution on the protection of national minorities in Liechtenstein. The resolution contains conclusions and recommendations, highlighting positive developments but also a number of areas where further measures are needed to advance the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.


01/07/2010
Albania: Follow-up Seminar on the implementation of the Framework Convention
The Albanian authorities and the Council of Europe are organising a follow-up seminar today to discuss how the findings of the monitoring bodies of the Framework Convention are being implemented in Albania.
Slovenia: receipt of the third cycle State Report
Slovenia submitted on 28 April 2010 its third state report in English and Slovenian, pursuant to Article 25, paragraph 2, of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. It is now up to the Advisory Committee to consider it and adopt an opinion intended for the Committee of Ministers.
Czech Republic: receipt of the third cycle State Report
The Czech Republic submitted on 3 May 2010 its third state report in English, pursuant to Article 25, paragraph 2, of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. It is now up to the Advisory Committee to consider it and adopt an opinion intended for the Committee of Ministers.
Norway: receipt of the third cycle State Report
Norway submitted to-day its third state report in English, pursuant to Article 25, paragraph 2, of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. It is now up to the Advisory Committee to consider it and adopt an opinion intended for the Committee of Ministers.


21/06/2010
Advisory Committee: Election of an expert to the list of experts eligible to serve on the Advisory Committee in respect of Italy
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 16 June 2010 at the 1088th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies) .....
Declare elected to the list of experts eligible to serve on the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities on 16 June 2010:

Mr Francesco PALERMO in respect of Italy.

 


21/06/2010
Armenia:
 visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
A delegation of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities will visit Yerevan and Ararat Marz, from 21-24 June 2010 in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of this convention in Armenia.

This is the third visit of the Advisory Committee to Armenia. The Delegation will have meetings with the representatives of all relevant ministries, public officials, as well as persons belonging to national minorities.

The Delegation includes Mr. Gáspár BÍRÓ (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of Hungary) and Mr Gjergj  SINANI (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of Albania). They will be accompanied by Mr  Krzysztof ZYMAN, Secretariat of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and of the DH-MIN.

Note: Armenia submitted its third State Report under the Framework Convention in November 2009. Following its visit, the Advisory Committee will adopt its own report (called Opinion), which will be sent to the Armenian Government for comments. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will then adopt conclusions and recommendations in respect of Armenia.


21/06/2010
Italy:
 visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
A delegation of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities will visit Italy from 21-24 June 2010 in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of this convention in Italy.


17/06/2010
Advisory Committee: new composition

At the 1085th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies, on 21 May 2010 and the subsequent resignation of the member elected in respect of Ukraine, the current composition of the Advisory Committee on the Protection of National Minorities is as follows:

1. Ms Lidija BASTA FLEINER (Serbia) – term expires in May 2014
2. Mr Gáspár BÍRÓ (Hungary)- term expires in May 2012
3. Ms Aleksandra BOJADŽIEVA (“the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”) - term expires in May 2014
4. Ms Anastasia CRICKLEY (Ireland) - term expires in May 2014
5. Mr Tonio ELLUL (Malta) - term expires in May 2012
6. Mr Zdzislaw W. GALICKI (Poland) - term expires in May 2012
7. Ms Aliona GROSSU (Moldova) - term expires in May 2014
8. Mr Rainer HOFMANN (Germany) - term expires in May 2012
9. Ms Milena KLAJNER (Croatia) - term expires in May 2014
10. Ms Larysa LOIKO (Ukraine) - term expires in May 2012 resigned
11. Mr Giorgi MELADZE (Georgia) - term expires in May 2012
12. Ms Iulia MOTOC (Romania) - term expires in May 2012
13. Mr Einar NIEMI (Norway) - term expires in May 2014
14. Ms Marieke SANDERS-TEN HOLTE (The Netherlands)- term expires in May 2012
15. Mr Gjergj SINANI (Albania) - term expires in May 2014
16. Ms Athanasia SPILIOPOULOU ÅKERMARK (Sweden)- term expires in May 2014
17. Ms Barbara WILSON (Switzerland) - term expires in May 2012
18. Ms Edita ZIOBENE (Lithuania) - term expires in May 2014


02/06/2010
Council of Europe report on Kosovo: Inter-ethnic relations to be improved; minority protection laws to be implemented
The Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) today published an Opinion on Kosovo*, in which it acknowledges improvements in the legal framework on minority protection. However, it also expresses its concern about shortcomings in the implementation of legislation and policies, access to justice of persons belonging to national minorities, education and inter-ethnic relations.

The Advisory Committee adopted this Opinion in accordance with the Agreement between the Council of Europe and the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), and following reports provided by the authorities and NGOs, and a visit of the Advisory Committee to Kosovo in April 2009. UNMIK submitted Comments on the Opinion in May 2010. Based on the above-mentioned documents, the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers is expected to adopt a resolution including its final conclusions and recommendations on the implementation of the Convention in Kosovo.

The key conclusions are the following:

Inter-ethnic relations remain tense, in particular between persons belonging to the Serbian and Albanian communities. Separate education systems and increasing language barriers aggravate the existing ethnic divisions. Resolute action needs to be taken to improve inter-ethnic dialogue and trust. Further efforts are needed to combat effectively ethnically and religiously motivated crimes.

In spite of solid legal basis for minority protection, there is a gap between the existing legislation and reality when it comes to their practical implementation. Increased funds need to be allocated for its effective implementation.

There are serious shortcomings in access to justice and domestic remedies available to persons belonging to minority communities that need to be addressed as a matter of priority.

The Integration Strategy devised for Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians needs to be implemented fully and effectively. The Advisory Committee also calls for a solution to the situation of those living in the lead-contaminated camps in Northern Kosovo.

With regard to education, the Advisory Committee acknowledges that, although some positive steps have been taken, attention should be paid to providing a balanced and pluralistic history teaching, and to the teaching of official languages in schools.

There is a need to identify further ways to ensure the effective participation of persons belonging to minority communities in socio-economic life, and in public services.

* All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.


28/05/2010
Advisory Committee: adoption of three opinions
The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities adopted three country-specific opinions under the third cycle of monitoring the implementation of this convention in States Parties.

The opinions on Germany and Croatia were adopted on 27 May, and the Slovak Republic on 28 May. They are restricted for the time-being.

These three opinions will now be submitted to the Committee of Ministers, which is to adopt conclusions and recommendations.


18/05/2010
Azerbaijan: on 21 April 2010, Ms Arzu AGHDASI-SISAN was elected to the list of experts eligible to serve on the Advisory Committee in respect of Azerbaijan
Bulgaria: on 4 March 2010, Mrs Emilia DRUMEVA was elected to the list of experts eligible to serve on the Advisory Committee in respect of Bulgaria
Croatia: on 21 April 2010, Ms Milena KLAJNER was elected to the list of experts eligible to serve on the Advisory Committee in respect of Croatia
Finland:
the 3rd cycle visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities is taking place this week from 18-21 May 2010
Moldova: 
on 5 May 2010, the Committee of Ministers adopted Resolution CM/ResCMN(2010)6 on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by Moldova
 "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia": on 21 April 2010, Ms Aleksandra BOJADZIEVA was elected to the list of experts eligible to serve on the Advisory Committee in respect of "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"
DH-MIN:
adopted decisions of the 11th Meeting


30/04/2010
Portugal: publication of the second cycle opinion
The 2nd Opinion of the Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) on Portugal has been made public at the same time as the government comments. The Advisory Committee adopted this Opinion in November 2009.

Summary of the Opinion:

"Since the adoption of the first Opinion of the Advisory Committee in October 2006, the Portuguese authorities have taken further measures to implement the existing anti-discrimination legislation. However, the effectiveness of remedies against discrimination is hampered by the complexity of the system.

The authorities have also continued to develop and implement programmes aimed at promoting tolerance, intercultural dialogue and at fighting discrimination and racially-motivated hatred, notably through the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue.

However, it is regrettable that no visit of the Advisory Committee to Portugal could be organised. Such a visit would have enabled the Advisory Committee to obtain further and more detailed information on the implementation of the Framework Convention in Portugal.

Despite some positive projects at the local level, many persons belonging to the Roma minority continue to be confronted with discrimination in various areas of daily life and to face, in some instances, hostile societal attitudes. Their situation in the field of housing is of particular concern as many Roma live in segregated areas, sometimes in substandard conditions. The situation of those Roma who are compelled to move from place to place is a source of deep concern.

Roma also face difficulties in the education system and instances of placement of Roma pupils in separate classes, including in some cases in temporary prefabricated classrooms, have been reported. This is also a source of deep concern. In general, notwithstanding the efforts made in recent years, further steps should be taken to promote and expand intercultural education at school.

Resolute measures should be taken to enhance consultation and co-operation between the authorities and Roma representatives and improve participation of the latter in decision-making, in particular on issues of concern to them.

The authorities should publicise and disseminate information about the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the results of the monitoring process."

The comments have been received and will be available in due course.


28/04/2010
Denmark: receipt of the third cycle State Report

Denmark submitted on 30 March 2010 its third state report in English and Danish, pursuant to Article 25, paragraph 2, of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. It is now up to the Advisory Committee to consider it and adopt an opinion intended for the Committee of Ministers.


27/04/2010
Estonia: receipt of the third cycle State Report

Estonia submitted on 13 April 2010 its third state report in English and Estonian, pursuant to Article 25, paragraph 2, of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. It is now up to the Advisory Committee to consider it and adopt an opinion intended for the Committee of Ministers.


23/04/2010
San Marino: adoption of the Committee of Ministers' 3rd cycle resolution

The Committee of Ministers has just adopted a resolution on the protection of national minorities in San Marino. The resolution contains conclusions and recommendations, highlighting positive developments but also a number of areas where further measures are needed to advance the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Extract from the resolution:

"1. Adopts the following conclusions in respect of San Marino:

a) Positive developments

The work of the authorities in the field of awareness-raising about discrimination and intolerance has been pursued. Measures have been taken to facilitate the integration of immigrants.

In the field of protection against discrimination, positive steps have been taken in order to improve the legislative framework to combat discrimination. The adoption of a comprehensive anti-discrimination law is to be welcomed.

b) Issues of concern

There is a need to increase awareness of the importance to combat racism in all its forms and to set up an independent institution to monitor racism and discrimination. In doing so, the authorities should guarantee that its competences and resources are sufficient to ensure its independence and its capacity to provide adequate assistance to persons who have been victims of discrimination.

2. Adopts the following recommendations in respect of San Marino:

- to continue efforts to heighten public awareness of the importance of tolerance and intercultural dialogue, and pursue measures to promote and facilitate integration of immigrants;

- to pay particular attention to the full and effective implementation of the Law No. 66 on “Provisions against Racial, Ethnic, Religious and Sexual Discrimination” and set up an independent institution to monitor racism and discrimination."


19/04/2010
"The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" and the Russian Federation: receipt of the 3rd cycle State Reports
!The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" submitted its third cycle State Report on 11 March in English and Macedonian, and the Russian Federation submitted its third cycle State Report on 9 April in English and Russian, pursuant to Article 25, paragraph 2, of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. It is now up to the Advisory Committee to consider it and adopt an opinion intended for the Committee of Ministers.


09/04/2010
Liechtenstein:
publication of the third cycle opinion


30/03/2010
UK: receipt of the third cycle State Report

The UK submitted on 23 March 2010 its third state report in English, pursuant to Article 25, paragraph 2, of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. It is now up to the Advisory Committee to consider it and adopt an opinion intended for the Committee of Ministers.


29/03/2010
Montenegro: Follow-up seminar on the implementation of the Framework Convention
 
The Montenegrin authorities and the Council of Europe are organising a follow-up seminar today to discuss how the findings of the monitoring bodies of the Framework Convention are being implemented in Montenegro.


19/03/2010
Advisory Committee: adoption of three opinions
The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities adopted three country-specific opinions under the second and third cycles of monitoring the implementation of this convention in States Parties.

The opinions on Bulgaria and Hungary were adopted on 18 March;  the Opinion on Cyprus on 19 March. They are restricted for the time-being.

These three opinions will now be submitted to the Committee of Ministers, which is to adopt conclusions and recommendations.


24/02/2010
Ministers’ Deputies
Decision CM/Del/Dec(2010)1077 (1 March 2010) 1077th meeting, 24 February 2010
The terms of reference of the Committee of Experts on issues relating to the protection of national minorities (DH-MIN) have been extended for a further two years


22/02/2010
Croatia:
visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
A delegation of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities will visit Zagreb and Vukovar from 22 - 26 February 2010  in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of this convention in Croatia.

This is the third visit of the Advisory Committee to Croatia. The Delegation will have meetings with the representatives of all relevant ministries, public officials, as well as persons belonging to national minorities and Human Rights NGOs.

The Delegation includes  Ms Ilze BRANDS-KEHRIS (First Vice-President of the Advisory Committee and member elected in respect of Latvia), Ms Brigitta BUSCH, (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of Austria) and Ms Eva SMITH-ASMUSSEN, (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of Denmark). They will be accompanied by Ms Charlotte ALTENHÖNER-DION and Mr Krzysztof ZYMAN, Administrators in the Secretariat of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Note: Croatia submitted its third State Report under the Framework Convention in October 2009. Following its visit, the Advisory Committee will adopt its own report (called Opinion), which will be sent to the Government for comments. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will then adopt conclusions and recommendations in respect of Croatia.


17/02/2010
Finland: receipt of the third cycle State Report

Finland submitted its third state report in English and Finnish, pursuant to Article 25, paragraph 2, of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. It is now up to the Advisory Committee to consider it and adopt an opinion intended for the Committee of Ministers.


17/02/2010
The Netherlands: publication of the first cycle opinion
The 1st Opinion of the Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) on the Netherlands has been made public at the same time as the government comments. The Advisory Committee adopted this Opinion in June 2009 following a country visit in February 2009.

Summary of the Opinion:

"Following the receipt of the initial State Report of the Netherlands on 16 July 2008 (due on 1st June 2006), the Advisory Committee commenced the examination of the State Report at its 33rd meeting on 6-8 October 2008. In the context of this examination, a delegation of the Advisory Committee visited the Netherlands from 25 to 27 February 2009, in order to seek further information on the implementation of the Framework Convention from representatives of the Government as well as from NGOs and other independent sources. The Advisory Committee adopted its Opinion on the Netherlands at its 35th meeting on 25 June 2009.

The Advisory Committee considers that the Netherlands has made commendable efforts with respect to the implementation of the Framework Convention with regard to the Frisians living in Fryslân. Measures have been taken to facilitate the use of Frisian in relations with the administration and the judiciary, teaching of Frisian is available in primary and secondary schools and instruction in Frisian is slightly increasing. Further efforts are however needed in terms of teacher training, supervision of Frisian teaching and the amount of teaching in Frisian needs to be further discussed with Frisian representatives in order to adequately meet their demands. A possible devolution of powers from the central to the local authorities is currently being discussed and it is expected that reforms in this area will result in enhancing the preservation and development of Frisian language and culture.

The Advisory Committee finds that the personal scope of application of the Framework Convention which is presently limited to the Frisians, has not been satisfactorily addressed by the authorities. The Roma and Sinti, many of whom have long ties with the Netherlands have been excluded from the protection of the Framework Convention. In addition, they have been left out from any institutionalised and direct dialogue with the national authorities and measures to address their socio-economic and educational situation have not been adopted at national level.

The Advisory Committee welcomes the comprehensive legal and institutional measures taken by the Dutch authorities both at national and local levels to combat discrimination. At the same time, it considers that the overall tone of the public discourse in the Netherlands and the new integration policy, with its particular focus on the preservation of the Dutch identity, have had negative consequences on the preservation of a climate of mutual understanding between the majority population and the ethnic minorities."


08/01/2010
Moldova: publication of the third cycle opinion
The 3rd Advisory Committee Opinion on Moldova, adopted on 26 June 2009, was made public on 11 December 2009, together with the comments of the Moldovan Government. This publication is in line with the new Committee of Ministers’ Resolution (2009)3, which was adopted in April 2009 and foresees that the Advisory Committee Opinions should be made public four months after their being communicated to the State Party concerned.

Since the ratification of the Framework Convention, Moldova has pursued its efforts to develop a system of protection of minority rights and implement existing legislation in this regard.
The following points have been highlighted as requiring prompt action from the authorities:

  • Adopt as a matter of priority a comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation; carry out, on a regular basis, monitoring of discrimination, as well as of racially-motivated or anti-Semitic acts;
  • Take more resolute measures to combat all forms of intolerance, including in the media and in political life, and promote mutual respect and understanding. Effectively investigate and sanction all forms of misbehaviour by the police;
  • Take more resolute measures to ensure that the implementation of the Action Plan for Roma results in substantial and lasting improvement in the situation of the Roma in all areas, including by allocating adequate resources to its implementation; take steps to promote a better representation of the Roma at all levels.

The Committee of Ministers will now prepare and adopt a resolution containing conclusions and recommendations, highlighting positive developments but also a number of areas where further measures are needed to advance the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in Moldova.


 

08/01/2010
Italy: receipt of the third cycle State Report

Italy
submitted its third state report in English and Italian, pursuant to Article 25, paragraph 2, of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. It is now up to the Advisory Committee to consider it and adopt an opinion intended for the Committee of Ministers.