Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

 

News 2003

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Contact:
Secretariat of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, Strasbourg (France)
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[15/01/2003] The Committee of Ministers adopts conclusions and recommendations in respect of Armenia, Germany and Moldova

[15/01/2003] Adoption of the outline for second State Reports by the Committee of Ministers

[05/02/2003] The Committee of Ministers adopts conclusions and recommendations in respect of Ukraine

[13/02/2003] Publication of the opinion on Norway and the related comments by the Government

[18/02/2003] Publication of the opinion on Albania and the related comments by the Government

[21/02/2003] The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities adopts three further country-specific opinions on Sweden, Switzerland and Lithuania

[17/03/2003] The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities visits Ireland

[19/03/2003] 832nd meeting of the Committee of Ministers. The Deputies Ministers recognise the possibility for the Advisory Committee to start the monitoring in the absence of a state report in case of persisting delay

[31/03/2003] The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities visits Azerbaijan

[08/04/2003] The Committee of Ministers adopts conclusions and recommendations in respect of Norway

[09/04/2003] The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities visits Poland

[17/04/2003] Bulgaria submits its initial report pursuant to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

[23/05/2003] The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities adopts two further country-specific opinions on Ireland and Azerbaijan

[08/07/2003] Follow-up seminar in Slovakia

[10/07/2003] The Committee of Ministers adopts conclusions and recommendations in respect of the Russian Federation

[25/08/2003] Publication of the opinion on Sweden and the related comments by the Government

[03/09/2003] The Deputies authorised the Advisory Committee to start the monitoring of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the absence of a state report

[04/09/2003] Publication of the opinion on Switzerland and the related comments by the Government

[16/09/2003] Follow-up seminar in Ukraine

[23/09/2003] “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” submits its initial report pursuant to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

[25/09/2003] Follow-up seminar in Moldova

[25/09/2003] Publication of the opinion on Lithuania and the related comments by the Government

[26/09/2003] The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities visits Serbia and Montenegro

[21/10/2003] Conference organised to mark the 5th anniversary of the entry into force of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, Strasbourg, 30-31 October 2003

[10/11/2003] The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities visits Bulgaria

[27/11/2003] The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities adopts three further country-specific opinions on Poland, Serbia and Montenegro and Spain

[08/12/2003] The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities visits “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

[10/12/2003] The Committee of Ministers adopts conclusions and recommendations in respect of Lithuania, Sweden and Switzerland


15/01/2003
The Committee of Ministers adopts conclusions and recommendations in respect of Armenia, Germany and Moldova

The Committee of Ministers has just adopted conclusions and recommendations on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by Armenia, Germany and Moldova. The opinions of the Advisory Committee on Armenia and Moldova and the related comments by the Governments concerned have also been made public today. The opinion on Germany and the comments by the German Government had already been made public in September 2002 at the request of the German authorities.


15/01/2003
The Committee of Ministers adopts an outline for the state reports to be submitted under the second monitoring cycle

The Committee of Ministers adopted today an outline for the State Reports to be submitted under the second monitoring cycle, in conformity with Article 25 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. This outline is meant to provide States Parties with some guidance as to the structure and information of second State Report. Following this outline, second State Reports should largely focus on the follow-up given to the results of the first monitoring cycle.


05/02/2003
The Committee of Ministers adopts conclusions and recommendations in respect of Ukraine

The Committee of Ministers has just adopted conclusions and recommendations on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by Ukraine. The opinion of the Advisory Committee on Ukraine and the related comments by the Ukrainian Government had already been made public in November 2002 at the request of the Ukrainian authorities.


13/02/2003
Publication of the opinion of the Advisory Committee on Norway and the comments by the state concerned

The opinion of the Advisory Committee of the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities on measures taken in this field by Norway has been made public at the country's request.

The comments submitted by Norway have also been made public and are available on-line.

The opinions are drawn up by an Advisory Committee of 18 independent experts after scrutiny of the reports submitted by states parties to the Framework Convention and, as appropriate, visits to the countries concerned. They are then submitted to the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, which at present is examining the first series of opinions. The Committee of Ministers can make recommendations to the countries concerned and set a time-limit for putting the recommendations into effect.

The opinions are generally to be made public together with states parties' written comments and the Committee of Ministers' conclusions and recommendations. If they wish, however, and without prejudice to the subsequent Committee of Ministers examination, states parties can publish the opinions concerning them and their written comments, before the Committee of Ministers examines the opinions.


18/02/2003
Publication of the opinion of the Advisory Committee on Albania and the comments by the state concerned

The opinion of the Council of Europe’s Committee on National Minorities on how Albania has implemented the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities was made public today


21/02/2003
The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities adopts three additional country-specific opinions

The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities adopted opinions on the implementation of this convention in respect of Sweden and Switzerland on 20 February 2003 and in respect of Lithuania on 21 February 2003. The opinions will now be submitted to the Committee of Ministers, which is to adopt conclusions and recommendations in respect of these three countries.

The opinions of the Advisory Committee shall be made public at the same time as the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee of Ministers, unless in a specific case the Committee of Ministers decides otherwise. However States concerned may decide to publish the opinion of the Advisory Committee and their comments thereon at an earlier stage if they so wish.at the country's request.

The opinion, together with the comments submitted by Albania, are available on-line.

The findings of the Advisory Committee on National Minorities, which is composed of 18 independent experts, are based on the state report and other documentation as well as on information collected during the Committee’s visit to Albania in April 2002. The Opinion has been submitted to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, which will adopt conclusions and possible recommendations concerning implementation of the Framework Convention in Albania.

The opinions are generally to be made public together with states parties' written comments and the Committee of Ministers' conclusions and recommendations. If they wish, however, and without prejudice to the subsequent Committee of Ministers examination, states parties can publish the opinions concerning them and their written comments, before the Committee of Ministers examines the opinions.


17/03/2003
The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities visits Ireland

A delegation of the Advisory Committee on the COUNCIL OF EUROPE's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities will be visiting Dublin and Galway this week (17 - 21 March 2003) in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of this convention by Ireland. The visit is the 24th country visit conducted by the Advisory Committee since its establishment in 1998. The Committee is composed of 18 independent experts elected by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Ireland submitted its first state report under the Framework Convention in November 2001, and the delegation of the Advisory Committee will be in Ireland in order to seek further information. In Dublin the delegation will meet representatives of state authorities (relevant ministries and departments) representatives of the communities concerned, as well as NGOs. The delegation will also be visiting Galway, in order to meet representatives of the communities residing in the city. On the basis of the information collected during the visit and other information, the Advisory Committee will subsequently adopt an opinion on how Ireland understands to implement the provisions of the Framework Convention.

The delegation visiting Ireland includes the following members of the Advisory Committee: Mr Rainer HOFMANN (Germany, President of the Advisory Committee), Mr Tonio ELLUL (Malta), Mr Vsevold MITSIK (Ukraine) and Mrs Iulia MOTOC (Romania). The Delegation will be assisted by Mr Mark NEVILLE, of the FCNM's Secretariat.


19/03/2003
The Deputies Ministers recognise the possibility for the Advisory Committee to start monitoring in the absence of a state report in case of persisting delay

The Committee of Ministers at its 832nd meeting, took the following decision related to the monitoring of the Framework Convention.


31/03/2003
The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities visits Azerbaijan

A delegation of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities will be visiting Baku, Khachmaz and Guba from 30 March - 04 April 2003 in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of this convention by Azerbaijan. The visit is the 25th country visit conducted by the Advisory Committee since its establishment in 1998. The Committee is composed of 18 independent experts elected by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Azerbaijan submitted its first state report under the Framework Convention in June 2002, and the delegation of the Advisory Committee will be in Azerbaijan in order to seek further information. In Baku the delegation will meet representatives of authorities (relevant ministries and departments) members of the Parliament, members of the Constitutional Court, representatives of the minorities, representatives of other international organisations (OSCE, UNHCR) as well as NGOs. The delegation will also be visiting Khachmaz and Guba, in order to meet representatives of the minorities residing in those cities. On the basis of the information collected during the visit and other information, the Advisory Committee will subsequently adopt an opinion on how Azerbaijan intends to implement the provisions of the Framework Convention.

The delegation visiting Azerbaijan includes the following members of the Advisory Committee: Mr Gáspár BÍRÓ (Second Vice-President, Hungary), Mr Asbjørn EIDE (Norway), Mr Dimitar GELEV (“the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”) and Mr Ahmed ZILIC (Bosnia and Herzegovina). The Delegation will be assisted by Mr Antti KORKEAKIVI, of the FCNM's Secretariat.


08/04/2003
The Committee of Ministers adopts conclusions and recommendations in respect of Norway

The Committee of Ministers has just adopted recommendations in respect of Norway in the context of monitoring the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. These recommendations are largely based on the corresponding opinion presented by the Advisory Committee on National Minorities, highlighting a number of issues on which Norway is expected to take further measures to support national minorities.

The monitoring bodies welcomed the fact that Norway has significantly increased the attention paid to the protection of national minorities and recognised the valuable efforts taken in respect of the Sami. At the same time, they noted that there is scope for improvement in both legislation and practice concerning national minorities, including Kvens, Roma and Romanies. They concluded that Norway’s recent efforts to address shortcomings in the legislation and practice pertaining, inter alia, to ethnic discrimination as well as to personal names should be pursued further. The implementation of the recent decision of Norway to set up a new consultative structure for national minorities was also considered important in terms of improving the participation of persons belonging to national minorities in decision-making affecting them.

The report presented by the Advisory Committee on National Minorities, together with the comments by the Norwegian authorities, are also available.

The implementation of the Framework Convention is monitored by the Committee of Ministers and the Advisory Committee on National Minorities. The Committee of Ministers is to adopt conclusions and recommendations on the way in which States Party comply with the various obligations enshrined in this treaty. In doing so, the Committee of Ministers can rely on the assessment made by the Committee on National Minorities on the basis of periodical State reports and information from other sources. Follow-up activities are carried out by the Advisory Committee on National Minorities between periodical reporting cycles.


09/04/2003
The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities visits Poland

A delegation of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities will be visiting Warsaw, Krakow and Bialystok from 13 - 17 April 2003 in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of this convention by Poland. The visit is the 26th country visit conducted by the Advisory Committee since its establishment in 1998. The Committee is composed of 18 independent experts elected by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Poland submitted its first state report under the Framework Convention in July 2002, and the delegation of the Advisory Committee will be in Poland in order to seek further information. In Warsaw, the delegation will meet with the Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection, representatives of authorities (relevant ministries and departments), representatives of the National and Ethnic Minorities Committee of the Parliament (Sejm Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej), representatives of the minorities, as well as NGOs. The delegation will also be visiting Krakow and Bialystok, in order to meet representatives of regional authorities and the minorities residing in those areas. On the basis of the information collected during the visit and other information, the Advisory Committee will subsequently adopt an opinion on how Poland intends to implement the provisions of the Framework Convention.

The delegation visiting Poland includes the following members of the Advisory Committee: Mrs Athanasia SPILIOPOULOU AKERMARK (Sweden, First Vice-President), Mrs Lidija BASTA FLEINER (Serbia and Montenegro), and Mr Tonio ELLUL (Malta). The Delegation will be assisted by Mr Alain CHABLAIS, of the FCNM's Secretariat.


17/04/2003
Bulgaria submits its initial report pursuant to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

Bulgaria submitted in English its state report pursuant to Article 25, paragraph 1, 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.


23/05/2003
The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities adopts two additional country-specific opinions

The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities adopted opinions on the implementation of this convention in respect of Ireland and Azerbaijan on 22 May 2003. The opinions will now be submitted to the Committee of Ministers, which is to adopt conclusions and recommendations in respect of these two countries.

The opinions of the Advisory Committee shall be made public at the same time as the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee of Ministers, unless in a specific case the Committee of Ministers decides otherwise. However States concerned may decide to publish the opinion of the Advisory Committee and their comments thereon at an earlier stage if they so wish.


08/07/2003
Follow-up Seminar in Slovakia

The Slovak authorities and the Council of Europe are organising today a “follow-up seminar” in Bratislava to discuss how the findings of the monitoring bodies of the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities are being implemented in Slovakia.

The seminar will bring together government officials and representatives of national minorities and NGOs as well as independent experts of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention. The participants will discuss various themes covered by the Framework Convention, including the protection of minority languages, non-discrimination and the protection of Roma in health care and other fields.

The seminar will be opened by Mr Pál Csáky, Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic for European Integration, Human Rights and Minorities and Professor Rainer Hofmann, President of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention.

This is the 8th country-specific follow-up seminar on the Framework Convention organised since 2002.


10/07/2003
The Committee of Ministers adopts conclusions and recommendations in respect of the Russian Federation

The Committee of Ministers has today adopted, in the presence of Mr Vladimir Zorin, Minister of the Russian Federation in charge of Nationality issues, conclusions and recommendations on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in the Russian Federation. These are based on a more detailed Opinion of the Advisory Committee on National Minorities, also made public today, highlighting certain positive steps but also a number of issues on which the Russian Federation is expected to take further measures to support national minorities.

The monitoring bodies welcomed the fact that the Russian Federation has in a number of fields introduced legislation that generally reflects the principles of the Framework Convention. At the same time, they called on the authorities to increase their attention to the promotion of inter-ethnic dialogue and to attitudes towards persons belonging to minorities originating in Caucasus. They also noted that human rights problems in Chechnya have hampered efforts to implement the Framework Convention.

The monitoring bodies found that the implementation of the new laws to protect numerically small indigenous peoples of the north has been inadequate, and they concluded that certain regional and local norms, in particular on residency registration, have created undue obstacles for some persons belonging to minorities in specific regions, including for a number of Meskhetian Turks/Meskhetians in the Krasnodar region.

Furthermore, the monitoring bodies identified shortcomings in the volume and scope of minority language teaching, and they stressed that legislation to protect the State language must be implemented with due regard to minority languages. They welcomed the on-going measures to improve consultations between the authorities and organisations of national minorities but called for additional efforts to promote political means to protect the interests of national minorities.

The implementation of the Framework Convention is monitored by the Committee of Ministers and the Advisory Committee on National Minorities. The Committee of Ministers adopts conclusions and recommendations on the way in which a States Party complies with the various obligations enshrined in this treaty. In doing so, the Committee of Ministers can rely on the assessment made by the Advisory Committee on National Minorities on the basis of periodical State reports and information from other sources. Follow-up activities are carried out by the Advisory Committee on National Minorities between periodical reporting cycles.


25/08/2003
Publication of the opinion of the Advisory Committee on Sweden and the comments by the state concerned

The opinion of the Advisory Committee of the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities on measures taken in this field by Sweden has been made public at the country's request.

The comments submitted by Sweden have also been made public and are available on-line.

The Advisory Committee of 18 independent experts drew up the opinion on the basis of the state report and other materials and after conducting a visit to Sweden. The opinion will soon be examined by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, which will then adopt its conclusions and possible recommendations.

The opinions of the Advisory Committee are made public upon the adoption of the Committee of Ministers' conclusions and recommendations, unless the country concerned agrees to make the opinion public at an earlier stage.


03/09/2003
Commencement of the monitoring of the Framework Convention without a state report in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Deputies at their 850th meeting, took the following decision related to the monitoring of the Framework Convention.


04/09/2003
Publication of the opinion of the Advisory Committee on Switzerland and the comments by the state concerned

The opinion of the Advisory Committee of the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities on measures taken in this field by Switzerland has been made public at the country's initiative.

The comments submitted by Switzerland have also been made public and are available on-line.

The Advisory Committee of 18 independent experts drew up the opinion on the basis of the state report and other materials and after conducting a visit to Switzerland. The opinion will soon be examined by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, which will then adopt its conclusions and possible recommendations.

The opinions of the Advisory Committee are made public upon the adoption of the Committee of Ministers' conclusions and recommendations, unless the country concerned agrees to make the opinion public at an earlier stage.


16/09/2003
Follow-up Seminar in Ukraine

The Ukrainian authorities and the Council of Europe are organising today a “follow-up seminar” in Kiev to discuss how the findings of the monitoring bodies of the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities are being implemented in Ukraine.

The seminar will bring together government officials, including the Ombudsman and the Chairman of the Committee on Human Rights, National Minorities and Interethnic Relations of the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament), representatives of national minorities and NGOs as well as independent experts of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention. The participants will discuss various themes covered by the Framework Convention, including electronic media, education, use of minority languages, and the situation of formerly deported people.

The seminar will be opened by Mr H. Moskal, Head of the State Committee for Nationalities and Migration of Ukraine and Mr F. Hajos, Member of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

This is the 9th country-specific follow-up seminar on the Framework Convention organised since 2002.


23/09/2003
"The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" submits its initial report pursuant to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

 “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” submitted in English its state report pursuant to Article 25, paragraph 1, 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.


25/09/2003
Follow-up Seminar in Moldova

The Moldovan authorities and the Council of Europe are organising today a “follow-up seminar” in Chisinau, to discuss how the findings of the monitoring bodies of the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities are being implemented in Moldova.

The seminar will bring together government officials, including the Department of Interethnic Relations, the Parliamentary Commission of Human Rights and National Minorities, the Ministry of Education, representatives of national minorities and NGOs, as well as independent experts of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention. The participants will discuss various themes covered by the monitoring procedure in respect of Moldova, including non-governmental organisations as a partner of the State in the implementation of the Convention, language and educational rights of persons belonging to national minorities, and access and presence of minorities in the media.

The seminar, organised during the Moldovan Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, will be opened by Mr Valerian CRISTEA, Vice Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova, Mr. Alexander VLADYCHENKO, Director of Human Rights, Directorate General of Human Rights (DGII), Council of Europe, Mr. Mikhail SIDOROV, President of the Parliamentary Commission of Human Rights and National Minorities of the Republic of Moldova and Mr. Anatolii DUBROVSKII, Adviser to the President on issues of Culture, Education and Science.

This is the 10th country-specific follow-up seminar on the Framework Convention organised since 2002.


25/09/2003
Publication of the opinion of the Advisory Committee on Lithuania and the comments by the state concerned

The opinion of the Advisory Committee of the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities on measures taken in this field by Lithuania has been made public at the country's request.

The comments submitted by Lithuania have also been made public and are available on-line.

The Advisory Committee of 18 independent experts drew up the opinion on the basis of the state report and other materials and after conducting a visit to Lituania. The opinion will soon be examined by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, which will then adopt its conclusions and possible recommendations.

The opinions of the Advisory Committee are made public upon the adoption of the Committee of Ministers' conclusions and recommendations, unless the country concerned agrees to make the opinion public at an earlier stage.


26/09/2003
The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities visits Serbia and Montenegro

A delegation of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities will be visiting Serbia and Montenegro from 27 September – 3 October 2003 in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of this convention by Serbia and Montenegro. The visit is the 27th country visit conducted by the Advisory Committee since its establishment in 1998. The Committee is composed of 18 independent experts elected by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Serbia and Montenegro submitted its first state report under the Framework Convention in October 2002, and the delegation of the Advisory Committee will be in Serbia and Montenegro in order to seek further information. The delegation will meet with the representatives of the relevant Ministries, Parliaments, national minorities, as well as NGOs and international organisations. In addition to Belgrade and Podgorica, the delegation will be visiting Bujanovac, Nis, Novi Pasar and Novi Sad, in order to meet representatives of local authorities and national minorities residing in those areas.

On the basis of the information collected during the visit and other information, the Advisory Committee will subsequently adopt an opinion on how Serbia and Montenegro has implemented the provisions of the Framework Convention.

The delegation visiting Serbia and Montenegro includes the following members of the Advisory Committee: Ms Anastasia CRICKLEY (Ireland), Mr Asbjørn EIDE (Norway) and Mr Zdisław GALICKI (Poland). The delegation will be assisted by Mr Antti KORKEAKIVI, of the FCNM's Secretariat.


21/10/2003
Filling the Frame: Conference organised to mark the 5th anniversary of the entry into force of the Framework Convention  for the Protection of National Minorities, Strasbourg, 30-31 October 2003

The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities entered into force in 1998. Seventeen States ratified it at the time. In order to mark the 5th anniversary of its entry into force, the Council of Europe is organising a conference in Strasbourg on 30 and 31 October 2003, which will bring together a large number of representatives of governments, civil society, minorities as well as eminent experts in the field of minorities (link to the Programme ).

Today, 35 of the 45 member States of the Council of Europe have ratified the Convention, giving a pan-European dimension to this treaty. The implementation of this treaty in most of these 35 countries has been assessed by the monitoring bodies (Advisory Committee (committee of independent experts) and the Committee of Ministers). This assessment led to a collection of texts, adopted in a country-by-country approach, with a legal and political value (link to the Monitoring). These texts are the fruit not only of an analysis of the national laws and practice concerning minorities, but also of a continuous dialogue with government and non-government actors of the countries concerned.

The Framework Convention, an international legal whose flexible provisions were originally the subject of numerous comments and questioning, has become, in fact, an instrument of objective evaluation of policy with regard to national minorities. Both the work carried out in the last five years, and its results will be at the heart of the Conference. Beyond this first attempt of an appraisal, it will also be important to consider these results with a critical eye in order that improvements be made for the second cycle, which is to start in 2004.

Important issues will be addressed during the Conference:

• The participation of minorities in public life: which consultation measures and which structures should be used to associate persons belonging to national minorities with decisions affecting them? Which political representation for minorities? Where do they stand as regards economic and social integration?
• The right of minorities to education: which language of instruction and at which levels? On the basis of which educational programmes, in which establishments and with which resource materials?

• Access and presence of minorities in the media: which media coverage should be given to problems concerning minorities and in particular how should media contribute to the promotion of a culture of tolerance and intercultural dialogue; which support should be given to programmes in minority languages?

These issues have been examined in depth in the work of the Advisory Committee which will provide a starting point for a reflection which aims to be collective and multidisciplinary.

This Conference will also examine the present and future role of the Framework Convention within the changing European context.

It will undoubtedly lead to new paths of thought, and by involving all actors concerned, should provide a renewed determination for the protection of minorities, a subject which is at the heart of a genuine and pluralist democracy.


10/11/2003
The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities visits Bulgaria

A delegation of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities will be visiting Bulgaria from 10-13 November 2003 in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of this convention by Bulgaria. The visit is the 28th country visit conducted by the Advisory Committee since its establishment in 1998. The Committee is composed of 18 independent experts elected by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Bulgaria submitted its first state report under the Framework Convention in April 2003, and the delegation of the Advisory Committee will be in Bulgaria in order to seek further information.

On the basis of the information collected during the visit and other information, the Advisory Committee will subsequently adopt an opinion on how Bulgaria has implemented the provisions of the Framework Convention.

The delegation visiting Bulgaria includes the following members of the Advisory Committee: Mr Tonio ELLUL (Malta), Mr Ferenc HAJOS (Slovenia), Mr Mathias-Charles KRAFT (Switzerland) and Mrs Sara NUÑEZ de PRADO y CLAVEL (Spain). The delegation will be assisted by Ms Artemiza CHISCA, of the FCNM's Secretariat.


27/11/2003
The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities adopts three additional country-specific opinions

The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities adopted opinions on the implementation of this convention in respect of Poland, Serbia and Montenegro and Spain on 27 November 2003. The opinions will now be submitted to the Committee of Ministers, which is to adopt conclusions and recommendations in respect of these three countries.

To-date, the Advisory Committee has adopted 31 opinions, of which 25 are public. The opinions of the Advisory Committee shall be made public at the same time as the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee of Ministers, unless in a specific case the Committee of Ministers decides otherwise. However States concerned may decide to publish the opinion of the Advisory Committee and their comments thereon at an earlier stage if they so wish.


08/12/2003
The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities visits "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"

A delegation of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities will be visiting Skopje and Tetovo from 8-12 December 2003 in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of this convention by “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. The visit is the 29th country visit conducted by the Advisory Committee since its establishment in 1998. The Committee is composed of 18 independent experts elected by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

The Delegation will be having meetings with the representatives of all relevant ministries, as well as with the Constitutional Court, the Ombudsman Office and the Parliament. In addition to contacts with public officials, the Delegation will also meet persons belonging to national minorities, NGOs, human rights activists and other independent experts. A number of meetings are also scheduled with representatives of the international community, such as the OSCE, EU, UNHCR and IRCR. During its visit to Tetovo, the Delegation will be visiting the South-East European University and will be discussing the implementation of the Framework Convention with local authorities, as well as with a number of NGOs.

“The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” submitted its first state report under the Framework Convention in September 2003, and the delegation of the Advisory Committee will be in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” in order to seek further information.

On the basis of the information collected during the visit and other information, the Advisory Committee will subsequently adopt an opinion on how “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” has implemented the provisions of the Framework Convention.

The delegation visiting “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” includes the following members of the Advisory Committee: Mr Gaspar BIRO (Hungary, 2nd Vice-President of the Advisory Committee), Mr Mihai CERNENCO (Moldova), Mr Vsevolod MITSIK (Ukraine) and Mr Vladas SIRUTAVICIUS (Lithuania). The delegation will be assisted by Ms Stéphanie MARSAL from the Secretariat.


10/12/2003
The Committee of Ministers adopts conclusions and recommendations in respect of Lithuania, Sweden and Switzerland

The Committee of Ministers has just adopted resolutions in respect of Lithuania, Sweden and Switzerland in the context of monitoring the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. These recommendations are largely based on the corresponding opinions presented by the Advisory Committee on National Minorities, highlighting a number of issues on which these three countries are expected to take further measures to support national minorities.

The opinions presented by the Advisory Committee on National Minorities, together with the comments by the Lithuanian, Swedish and Swiss authorities, are also available on line.

The implementation of the Framework Convention is monitored by the Committee of Ministers and the Advisory Committee on National Minorities. The Committee of Ministers is to adopt conclusions and recommendations on the way in which States Parties comply with the various obligations enshrined in this treaty. In doing so, the Committee of Ministers can rely on the assessment made by the Advisory Committee on National Minorities on the basis of periodical State reports and information from other sources. Follow-up activities are carried out by the Advisory Committee on National Minorities between periodical reporting cycles.