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News 2008

Archives : 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999

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

[15/10/2008] UNMIK/Kosovo: monitoring of the implementation of minority rights continues

[15/08/2008] Azerbaijan: Adoption of Committee of Ministers' recommendations on minority protection

[08/12/2008] Georgia: visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

[01/12/2008] Poland: visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

[01/12/2008] Albania: the Advisory Committee Opinion on national minorities made public

[19/11/2008] Switzerland: adoption of Committee of Ministers' recommendations on minority protection

[31/10/2008] Election of the Bureau of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention

[31/10/2008] National Minorities in Serbia: visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

[16/10/2008] Follow-up Seminar in Slovenia

[15/10/2008] Publication of the Advisory Committee Opinion on Montenegro

[14/10/2008] The Advisory Committee adopts Opinions on Latvia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

[14/10/2008] Outline for the State Reports to be submitted under the third monitoring cycle, in conformity with Article 25 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

[08/09/2008] Publication of the Opinion on Switzerland together with the government comments

[06/10/2008] International conference to assess the protection of national minorities by the European Convention

[16/07/2008] The Netherlands submits its first report pursuant to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

[09/07/2008] The Committee of Ministers issues recommendations on minority protection in Cyprus, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and the United Kingdom

[19/06/2008] Advisory Committee: Adoption of the 6th Activity Report

[17/06/2008] Follow-up Seminar in Norway

[11/06/2008] The Committee of Ministers issues recommendations on minority protection in Austria and Sweden

[10/06/2008] Latvia:  visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

[02/06/2008] The Advisory Committee adopts two new Opinions

[21/05/2008] Appointment of 9 ordinary members to fill vacant seats on the Advisory Committee

[24/04/2008] The Comments on the Advisory Committee's Opinion on Sweden have been made public

[08/04/2008] The Committee of Ministers issues recommendations on minority protection in Spain

[08/04/2008] Ukraine: visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the protection of national minorities

[27/03/2008] Publication of the Advisory Committee Opinion on Sweden 

[26/03/2008] The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities visits Bosnia and Herzegovina

[10/03/2008] Ten years of protecting national minorities and regional or minority languages

[04/03/2008] Serbia submits its second report pursuant to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

[03/03/2008] The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities adopts opinions on Lithuania, Montenegro and Switzerland

[03/03/2008] National Minorities in Albania: visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities


15/12/2008
UNMIK/Kosovo: monitoring of the implementation of minority rights continues

UNMIK (the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo) progress report on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) in Kosovo is now public. This report provides information on the measures taken to follow up on the 2006 recommendations of the FCNM monitoring bodies. It was made public  in conformity with a specific agreement signed in 2004 between UNMIK and the Council of Europe. This agreement emphasizes that it is without prejudice of the status of Kosovo and abides Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).


15/12/2008
Azerbaijan
: Adoption of Committee of Ministers' recommendations on minority protection
The Committee of Ministers has just adopted a resolution on the protection of national minorities in Azerbaijan. 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:

"Since the adoption of the Advisory Committee’s first opinion in May 2003, Azerbaijan has continued to pay attention to the situation of persons belonging to national minorities. Moreover, the authorities have maintained an inclusive approach with regard to the scope of application of the Framework Convention.
" [more]

In addition to the measures to be taken to implement the detailed recommendations contained in Sections I and II of the Advisory Committee's opinion, the authorities are invited to take the following measures to improve further the implementation of the Framework Convention:

"- resume efforts to finalise new legislation on the protection of national minorities. Re-establish specific institutional structures devoted to national minority issues;

- identify ways and means of allowing effective participation of persons belonging to national minorities in decision making, notably on issues of relevance to them. Set up a consultative body to allow persons belonging to national minorities to channel their concerns and to serve as a forum for dialogue between national minorities’ representatives and the authorities on issues of interest for national minorities;

- increase state support to persons belonging to national minorities, including to activities of the organisations representing them. Consider setting up a specific support scheme, allowing persons belonging to national minorities to take part in decision making on the allocation of state support;

- take measures to combat all forms of intolerance and discrimination on grounds of belonging to a national minority. Set up a system of regular monitoring by the authorities of discrimination cases and undertake awareness-raising campaigns on discrimination, including among the judiciary;

- take all appropriate measures to ensure that persons belonging to national minorities can freely exercise their rights to freedom of expression, of association and of peaceful assembly. Combat all manifestations of hostility directed against persons and organisations promoting minority rights;

- consider adopting measures, including legislative, to guarantee that persons belonging to national minorities can effectively use their minority languages in relations with the local administrative authorities;

- take measures to ensure that persons belonging to national minorities can display all signs and posters, of a private nature and visible to the public, in minority languages;

- consider taking measures allowing the display, where appropriate, of topographical indications in minority languages;

- take additional steps to expand teaching of minority languages, including by addressing shortcomings with regard to teaching material and teacher training."

Advisory Committee Opinion
The resolution is largely based on the corresponding Opinion of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention, adopted on 9 November 2007. The detailed Opinion of the Advisory Committee of independent experts, together with the comments on the Opinion by the government of Azerbaijan are also available on line.


08/12/2008
Georgia: visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

Dates and places to be visited
A delegation of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) will visit Georgia from 8-13 December 2008 in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of the Convention by this country. In addition to Tbilisi, the delegation will visit Marneuli, Akhalkalaki, Sagarejo (Kakheti region) and Gori.

Meetings foreseen
This is the first visit of the Advisory Committee to Georgia. The Delegation will be having meetings with the representatives of all relevant ministries, as well as with the Parliament, the office of the Ombudsman, and other institutions. In addition to contacts with public officials, the delegation will meet persons belonging to national minorities and Human Rights NGOs.

Composition of the delegation
The delegation visiting Georgia includes Ms Ilze BRANDS-KEHRIS (First Vice-President of the Advisory Committee, elected in respect of Latvia), Mr Rainer HOFMANN (Second Vice-President of the Advisory Committee, member elected in respect of Germany) and Ms Marieke SANDERS TEN HOLTE (member of the advisory Committee elected in respect of The Netherlands). They will be accompanied by Ms Françoise KEMPF and Ms Artemiza-Tatiana CHISCA from the Secretariat.

Note: Georgia submitted its first State Report under the Framework Convention in July 2007. Following its visit, the Advisory Committee will adopt its own report (called Opinion) in March 2009, 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 Georgia.


01/12/2008
Poland: visit of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

Dates and places to be visited
A delegation of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) will visit Poland from 1-4 December 2008 in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of the Convention by this country. In addition to Warsaw, the delegation will visit Gdansk, Wroclaw and Opole.

Second visit
This is the second visit of the Advisory Committee to Poland. The objective is to evaluate the progress made by Poland in implementing the Convention and in particular, to take stock of the legislative and policy measures taken by the authorities to follow-up on the recommendations of the Advisory Committee in its first Opinion adopted on 27 November 2003.

Meetings forseen
The Delegation will be having meetings with the representatives of all relevant ministries, as well as with the Parliament, the office of the Ombudsman, and other institutions. In addition to contacts with public officials, the delegation will meet persons belonging to national minorities and Human Rights NGOs.

Composition of the delegation
The delegation visiting Poland includes Mr Giorgi MELADZE (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of Georgia), Ms Iulia MOTOC (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of Romania) and Mr Francesco PALERMO (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of Italy). They will be accompanied by Mr Krzysztof ZYMAN from the Secretariat.

Note: Poland submitted its second State Report under the Framework Convention in November 2007. Following its visit, the Advisory Committee will adopt its own report (called Opinion) in March 2009, 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 Poland.


01/12/2008
Albania: publication of the the Advisory Committee Opinion on national minorities
The Opinion of the Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) on Albania has been made public by the Albanian Government. The Advisory Committee adopted this Opinion in May 2008 following a country visit in March. The government comments on the Opinion have also been made public.

"Albania has made efforts in order to enhance the implementation of the Framework Convention since the adoption of the first Opinion of the Advisory Committee. A State Committee on Minorities was established with a view to formulate recommendations on improvements of minority protection and agreements were signed between central and local authorities in order to find solutions regarding place names and topographical indications in minority languages. In the field of non-discrimination, an amendment to the Criminal code was adopted, making racial motivation for criminal offences an aggravating factor. More recently, Albania adopted a law on personal data protection which provides legal guarantees for future ethnic data collection.

More resolute action is however required in order to make substantial progress in the field of minority protection: ethnic data collection remains an issue when discussing minority protection in Albania, since no reliable statistics exist as yet on the ethnic composition of the country or on the socio-economic position of national minorities. At the same time, the practice of the mandatory recording of ethnic belonging still appears to occur in respect of some minorities (Greeks and Macedonians): this raises problematic issues, in particular with regard to the principle of self-identification. Furthermore, territorial restrictions still have some relevance in practice, de facto restricting access to minority rights outside “minority zones”. This is in particular so with regard to the Greeks and the Macedonians as well as the Serbo-Montenegrins whose requests for minority language education are still pending. Persons belonging to the so-called “ethno-linguistic” minorities, the Roma and the Vlachs/Aromanians, face particular difficulties to maintain their cultural and linguistic identity and as persons belonging to “ethno-linguistic” minorities are subject to different treatment.

Further dialogue is needed between the authorities and the Egyptian and Bosniac communities in order to accommodate their protection needs adequately.

The Albanian legislative framework needs to be completed and made sufficiently clear inter alia with regard to minority language use in relations with administrative authorities, place names and topographical indications and broadcasting in minority language.

The implementation of the National Strategy on Roma is regrettably slow and in spite of existing good initiatives, it lacks overall adequate State funding, effective involvement of local authorities, proper coordination and evaluation tools to produce its effects. Lack of civil registration of the Roma is still reported to be widespread in Albania and has negative repercussions for their access to social and other rights and increases the risk for their children to be victims of trafficking.

Participation of persons belonging to national minorities in public administration is still reported to be low. Albeit the authorities appear to have taken steps to recruit minorities in the police, efforts remain to be made to promote greater inclusion of national minorities in the public service. The institutional framework for minority participation in public affairs needs to be revised: a better articulation of minority interests should be supported, promoting minority self-organisation and a governmental sector that consults national minorities on issues affecting them should have decision-making powers."

Note: The Framework Convention is ratified by 39 States. The Convention includes a monitoring system, whereby the Committee of Ministers, assisted by an advisory committee, evaluates the adequacy of the Convention's implementation. The Opinions of the Advisory Committee are made public upon the adoption of the Committee of Ministers’ resolution but can be made public at an earlier stage at the country’s initiative.


19/11/2008
Switzerland: Adoption of Committee of Ministers' recommendations on minority protection
Resolution

The Committee of Ministers has just adopted a resolution on the protection of national minorities in Switzerland. 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
"Switzerland has taken a number of steps to improve the implementation of the Framework Convention following the adoption of the first opinion of the Advisory Committee in February 2003 and the Committee of Ministers’ resolution in December 2003. The constitutional and legal framework has been complemented in a number of respects both at the federal and cantonal levels and this has, inter alia, resulted in significant reinforcement of the protection offered to the linguistic minorities. For example, promising measures to support national languages are expected to be developed and supported by the new Federal Law on National Languages and Mutual Understanding between Linguistic Communities." [more]

In addition to the measures to be taken to implement the detailed recommendations contained in Sections I and II of the Advisory Committee's opinion, the authorities are invited to take the following measures to improve further the implementation of the Framework Convention:

"- take measures to strengthen existing institutions promoting human rights and the fight against discrimination;

- make particular efforts to ensure the full implementation of the new federal legislation on languages, including to promote more decisively multilingualism, mutual understanding and exchanges between linguistic communities;

- pursue efforts to promote the official use of the Romanche and Italian languages at the municipal and district levels in the canton of Graubünden by ensuring the swift implementation of the new cantonal Law on Languages;

- take further steps in the canton of Graubünden to encourage wider written and oral use of Italian and Romanche by the general public as well as within the administration and the judiciary;

- pursue the harmonisation process of language teaching requirements in compulsory education and consider complementing the existing offer of optional Italian-language courses outside the areas where this language is traditionally spoken on the basis of existing needs;

- ease and accelerate the planning and creation of transit sites and stopping places for Travellers through appropriate measures. Develop stronger financial and other incentives to promote action by the cantons and pursue further efforts to create stopping places and transit sites, including the reassignment of military sites. Develop stronger inter-cantonal co-operation from planning to operation of stopping places and transit sites;

- pursue efforts to support the language and culture of Travellers through various educational projects carried out in close co-operation with those concerned and to facilitate regular school attendance of children practising an itinerant way of life;

- ensure effective participation of Travellers’ representatives in the work of various bodies dealing with Travellers’ issues and set up mechanisms of systematic consultation at the cantonal and municipal level where appropriate."

Advisory Committee Opinion
The resolution is largely based on the corresponding Opinion of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention. The detailed Opinion of the Advisory Committee of independent experts, together with the comments on the Opinion by the government of Switzerland are also available on line.


31/10/2008
Election of the Bureau of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention

On Wednesday, 8 October 2008, during the 33rd Plenary, the Advisory Committee elected members of the Bureau for a period of two years.

The following members were elected: Mr Alan PHILLIPS (President, member elected in respect of the UK), Ms. Ilze BRANDS-KEHRIS (Latvia, 1st Vice President, member elected in respect of Latvia) and Mr Rainer Hofmann (2nd Vice-President, member elected in respect of Germany)


31/10/2008
National Minorities in Serbia: 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 Serbia next week from 3-7 November 2008 in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of this convention by this country. In addition to Belgrade, the delegation will visit Novi Sad, Bujanovac, Niš and Novi Pazar.

This is the second visit of the Advisory Committee in Serbia: the expected legislation on the national councils of national minorities and other relevant laws together with the effective implementation of the norms in all regions of Serbia will be at the centre of the discussion.

The Delegation will be having meetings with the representatives of all relevant ministries, the State and Provincial Ombudsmen and the Parliament. In addition to contacts with public officials, the Delegation will also meet persons belonging to national minorities and Human Rights NGOs in Belgrade and in all the regions visited.

The delegation visiting Serbia includes Mr Rainer Hofmann (Germany, 2nd Vice-President of the Advisory Committee), Mr Tonio Ellul (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of Malta) and Mr Dalibor Jilek (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of the Czech Republic). They will be accompanied by Ms Stéphanie Marsal from the Secretariat.

Note: Serbia submitted its second state report under the Framework Convention in March 2008. Following its visit, the Advisory Committee will adopt its own report (called Opinion) in early 2009, which will be sent to the Serbian Government for comments. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will then adopt conclusions and recommendations in respect of Serbia.


16/10/2008
Follow-up Seminar in Slovenia

The authorities and the Council of Europe will be organising a follow-up seminar on Tuesday, 21 October  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 Slovenia.


15/10/2008
Publication of the Advisory Committee Opinion on Montenegro

The Opinion of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities on Montenegro has been made public at the government’s request.

The Advisory Committee – an expert body set up under the Council’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities - visited Montenegro in December 2007 and adopted its report on 28 February 2008.

The Committee of Ministers will now draw on the report as it prepares a Resolution on the issue.

The Framework Convention is ratified by 39 States. The Convention includes a monitoring system, whereby the Committee of Ministers, assisted by an advisory committee, evaluates the adequacy of the Convention's implementation. The Opinions of the Advisory Committee are made public upon the adoption of the Committee of Ministers’ resolution but can be made public at an earlier stage at the country’s initiative.


14/10/2008
The Advisory Committee adopts Opinions on Latvia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities adopted two country-specific opinions last week under the first and second cycles of monitoring the implementation of this convention in States Parties.

The opinions on Latvia and Bosnia and Herzegovina were adopted on 9 October 2008 and are restricted for the time-being.

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

The Opinions of the Advisory Committee are made public upon the adoption of the Committee of Ministers’ resolution but can be made public at an earlier stage at the country’s initiative.


14/10/2008
Outline for the State Reports to be submitted under the third monitoring cycle, in conformity with Article 25 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
Adopted by the Committee of Ministers at the 1029th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies on 11 June 2008

Rule 21 of Resolution (97) 10 of the Committee of Ministers sets the periodical basis for transmission of state reports on the implementation of the Framework Convention at five years, calculated from the date on which the previous report was due. The State Parties to the Framework Convention in which the Convention entered into force on 1 February 1998 will have to submit a new state report before 1 February 2009. This date therefore sets the beginning of the third monitoring cycle under the Framework Convention for a number of States Parties.

In view of the above and on the basis of Rule 41 of the Rules of Procedure of the Advisory Committee, by virtue of which the latter may “suggest to the Committee of Ministers an outline for subsequent state reports to be submitted under Article 25, paragraph 3, of the Framework Convention”, a draft outline for state reports under the third monitoring cycle was prepared and approved by the Advisory Committee at its 31st plenary meeting on 28 February 2008.

The Advisory Committee proposes an Outline comprising three main parts:

The first part deals with the practical arrangements made by States Parties to continue implementing the Framework Convention, to increase the involvement of civil society in the process and to pursue the dialogue with the Advisory Committee.

The second part requests information on specific progress in implementing the recommendations included in the Committee of Ministers’ Resolution. It should also comprise an article-by-article description of legislative and other measures taken, as well as policies designed to address problems and needs identified in earlier cycles of monitoring. Particular attention should be paid to reflecting on the effects of policies, long-term strategies and processes launched to implement the Framework Convention, as well as on the impact of involving the civil society and other stakeholders in these processes.

The third part invites States Parties, where appropriate, to answer a number of specific questions which may arise from specific national circumstances.


06/10/2008
International conference to assess the protection of national minorities by the European Convention
(Conference File)


08/09/2008
National Minorities in Switzerland

The Comments on the Advisory Committee’s Opinion on Switzerland have been received and made public at the Government’s request, together with the Opinion of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

The Advisory Committee – an expert body set up under the Council’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities - visited Switzerland in November 2007 and adopted its report on 29 February 2008.

The Committee of Ministers will now draw on the report as it prepares a Resolution on the issue.

Note: The Framework Convention is ratified by 39 States. The Convention includes a monitoring system, whereby the Committee of Ministers, assisted by an advisory committee, evaluates the adequacy of the Convention's implementation. The Opinions of the Advisory Committee are made public upon the adoption of the Committee of Ministers’ resolution but can be made public at an earlier stage at the country’s initiative.


16/07/2008
The Netherlands submits its first Report pursuant to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

The Netherlands has just submitted its first state report in English and Dutch, 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.


09/07/2008
The Committee of Ministers issues recommendations on minority protection in Cyprus, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" and the United Kingdom

The Committee of Ministers has just adopted a resolution on the protection of national minorities in Cyprus, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and the United Kingdom. These resolutions contain 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.

The resolutions are largely based on the corresponding Opinions of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention. The detailed Opinions of the Advisory Committee of independent experts, together with the comments by the government of Cyprus, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and the United Kingdom are also available on line.


19/06/2008
6th Activity Report

The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities adopted its 6th Activity Report, covering the period 1 June 2006 – 31 May 2008, at its 32nd plenary on 28 May 2008.


17/06/2008
Follow-up Seminar in Norway

The authorities and the Council of Europe are organising a follow-up seminar today 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 Norway.


11/06/2008
The Committee of Ministers issues recommendations on minority protection in Austria and Sweden

The Committee of Ministers has just adopted a resolution on the protection of national minorities in Austria and Sweden. These resolutions contain 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.

The resolutions are largely based on the corresponding Opinions of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention. The detailed Opinions of the Advisory Committee of independent experts, together with the comments by the government of Austria and Sweden, are also available on line.


10/06/2008
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 (FCNM) is visiting Latvia this week from 9-13 June 2008 in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of the Framework Convention by this country. In addition to Riga, the delegation will visit Daugavpils.

This is the first visit of the Advisory Committee to Latvia. The Delegation will be having meetings with the representatives of all relevant ministries, as well as with the Parliament, the Ombudsman Office and other institutions. In addition to contacts with public officials, the Delegation will also meet persons belonging to national minorities and Human Rights NGOs.

The delegation visiting Latvia includes Mr Gáspár BIRO (member elected in respect of Hungary), Mr Dalibor JÍLEK (member elected in respect of the Czech Republic) and Mr Alan PHILLIPS (member elected in respect of the United Kingdom). They will be accompanied by Ms Artemiza-Tatiana CHISCA from the Secretariat.

Note: Latvia submitted its first State Report under the Framework Convention in October 2006. Following its visit, the Advisory Committee will adopt its own report (called Opinion) in October 2008, which will be sent to the Latvian Government for comments. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will then adopt conclusions and recommendations in respect of Latvia.


02/06/2008
The Advisory Committee adopts Opinions on Albania and Ukraine

The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities adopted two country-specific opinions last week under the second cycle of monitoring the implementation of this convention in States Parties.

The opinion on Albania was adopted on 29 May 2008 and the opinion on Ukraine was adopted on 30 May 2008.

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


21/05/2008
Appointment of 9 ordinary members to fill vacant seats on the Advisory Committee as from 1 June 2008

Decision

The Deputies, having proceeded in accordance with Rules 15 and 16 of Resolution (97) 10, appointed as ordinary members of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for a four-year term commencing on 1 June 2008 and expiring on 31 May 2012, the nine experts named below, two of which by drawing of lots on the Deputies’ behalf and in their presence by the Chairman:

- Mr Giorgi MELADZE in respect of Georgia;
- Mrs Marieke SANDERS-TEN HOLTE in respect of the Netherlands;
- Mr Rainer HOFMANN in respect of Germany;
- Mr Gaspar BIRÓ in respect of Hungary;
- Mr Tonio ELLUL in respect of Malta;
- Mrs Iulia MOTOC in respect of Romania;
- Mrs Iryna KRESINA in respect of Ukraine;
- Mr Zdzislaw W. GALICKI in respect of Poland;
- Mrs Barbara WILSON in respect of Switzerland.


24/04/2008
The Comments on the Advisory Committee's Opinion on Sweden have been made public

The Comments on the Advisory Committee’s Opinion on Sweden have been received and made public at the Government’s request.


08/04/2008
The Committee of Ministers issues recommendations on minority protection in Spain

The Committee of Ministers has just adopted a resolution on the protection of minorities in Spain. 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.

The resolution is largely based on the corresponding Opinion of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention. The detailed Opinion of the Advisory Committee of independent experts, together with the comments by the Government of Spain, are also available on line.


08/04/2008
National Minorities in Ukraine : 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 (FCNM) is visiting Ukraine from 06-10 April 2008 in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of the Framework Convention by this country. In addition to Kiev, the delegation will visit Simferopol.

This is the second visit of the Advisory Committee to Ukraine. The objective is to evaluate the progress made by Ukraine in implementing the Framework Convention and in particular, to take stock of the legislative and policy measures taken by the authorities to follow-up on the recommendations of the Advisory Committee in its first Opinion.

The Delegation will be having meetings with the representatives of all relevant ministries, as well as with the Parliament and other institutions as well as representatives of the Constitutional Court. In addition to contacts with public officials, the Delegation will also meet persons belonging to national minorities and Human Rights NGOs.

The delegation visiting Ukraine includes Ms Eva Smith-Asmussen (member elected in respect of Denmark) and Ms Ilze Brands-Kehris (member elected in respect of Latvia). They will be accompanied by Mr Alain Chablais and Ms Eva Konecna from the Secretariat.

Note: Ukraine submitted its second State Report under the Framework Convention in June 2006. Following its visit, the Advisory Committee will adopt its own report (called Opinion) in May 2008, 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 Ukraine.


27/03/2008
Publication of the Advisory Committee Opinion on Sweden

The Opinion of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities on Sweden has been made public at the government’s request.

The Advisory Committee – an expert body set up under the Council’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities - visited Sweden in May 2007 and adopted its report on 8 November 2007.

The Committee of Ministers will now draw on the report as it prepares a Resolution on the issue.

The Framework Convention is ratified by 39 States. The Convention includes a monitoring system, whereby the Committee of Ministers, assisted by an advisory committee, evaluates the adequacy of the Convention's implementation. The Opinions of the Advisory Committee are made public upon the adoption of the Committee of Ministers’ resolution but can be made public at an earlier stage at the country’s initiative.


26/03/2008
National Minorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina : 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 (FCNM) is visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina this week from 25-28 March 2008 in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of the Framework Convention by this country. In addition to Sarajevo, the delegation will visit Brcko and Banja Luka.

This is the second visit of the Advisory Committee to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The objective is to evaluate the progress made by Bosnia and Herzegovina in implementing the Framework Convention and in particular, to take stock of the legislative and policy measures taken by the authorities to follow-up on the recommendations of the Advisory Committee in its first Opinion.

The Delegation will be having meetings with the representatives of all relevant ministries, as well as with the Parliament, the Ombudsman Office and other institutions. In addition to contacts with public officials, the Delegation will also meet persons belonging to national minorities and Human Rights NGOs.

The delegation visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina includes Ms Eva Smith-Asmussen (member elected in respect of Denmark) and Ms Marju Lauristin (member elected in respect of Estonia). They will be accompanied by Ms Françoise Kempf from the Secretariat.

Note: Bosnia and Herzegovina submitted its second State Report under the Framework Convention in August 2007. Following its visit, the Advisory Committee will adopt its own report (called Opinion) in May 2008, 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 Bosnia and Herzegovina.


10/03/2008
Ten years of protecting national minorities and regional or minority languages

Ms Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and Mr Dušan Čaplovič, Deputy Prime Minister in the Slovak Government will open tomorrow 11 March 2008 a Conference in Strasbourg under the auspices of the Slovak Presidency of the Committee of Ministers. This significant event marks the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages on 1 February and 1 March 1998 respectively.

The conference will review the experience accumulated over the last ten years and will also provide an opportunity to reflect on the role of the international and domestic institutions which implement both conventions. It will examine the impact of these conventions on national policies, legislation and practice regarding the protection of minorities and their languages.

Related links:

Link to the Conference file

- http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/education/minlang/Default_en.asp 


04/03/2008
Serbia submits its second Report pursuant to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

Serbia has just submitted its second state report in English and Serbian, 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.


03/03/2008
The Advisory Committee adopts Opinions on Lithuania, Montenegro and Switzerland

The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities adopted three country-specific opinions last week under the first and second cycles of monitoring the implementation of this convention in States Parties.

The opinions on Lithuania and Montenegro were adopted on 28 February, and the opinion on Switzerland was adopted on 29 February 2008.

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


03/03/2008
National Minorities in Albania : 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 (FCNM) is visiting Albania this week from 3-7 March 2008 in the context of the monitoring of the implementation of the Framework Convention by this country. In addition to Tirana, the delegation will visit Korçë and Elbasan.

This is the second visit of the Advisory Committee to Albania. The objective is to evaluate the progress made by Albania in implementing the Framework Convention and in particular, to take stock of the legislative and policy measures taken by the authorities to follow-up on the recommendations of the Advisory Committee in its first Opinion.

The Delegation will be having meetings with the representatives of all relevant ministries, as well as with the Parliament, the Ombudsman Office and other institutions. In addition to contacts with public officials, the Delegation will also meet persons belonging to national minorities and Human Rights NGOs.

The delegation visiting Albania includes Ms Eva Smith-Asmussen (member elected in respect of Denmark), Mr Francesco Palermo (member elected in respect of Italy) and Ms Bohumila Ferencuhova (member elected in respect of the Slovak Republic). They will be accompanied by Ms Stéphanie Marsal from the Secretariat.

Note: Albania submitted its second State Report under the Framework Convention in May 2007. Following its visit, the Advisory Committee will adopt its own report (called Opinion) in May 2008, which will be sent to the Albanian Government for comments. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will then adopt conclusions and recommendations in respect of Albania.