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RECENT NEWS ON
THE FRAMEWORK CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF NATIONAL MINORITIES (fcnm)

 

Protection of national minorities: Council of Europe monitoring body publishes report on Norway

Strasbourg, 02.09.2011 – The Advisory Committee’s third Opinion on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by Norway was made public on 31 August 2011. The Opinion contains the findings of the Committee after a visit to Norway in May 2011 and directs recommendations at the government of Norway on how to improve measures aimed at the protection of minorities.

The President of the Advisory Committee, Mr Rainer HOFMANN, welcomed the fact that Norway made the Opinion public immediately upon receipt. This practice contributes to increased transparency of the monitoring process.

The Advisory Committee commends several initiatives aiming at strengthening the protection against discrimination, such as the setting up of the office of the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombudsperson and the adoption of the Action Plan for Equality and Prevention of Ethnic Discrimination.

However, while a general climate of dialogue prevails in Norwegian society, there are manifestations of intolerance against persons belonging to national minorities, notably in the media and on the Internet. Roma and the Romani/Taters are particularly faced with difficulties, including sometimes hostile attitudes on the part of the police. The Advisory Committee therefore recommends the adoption of more resolute measures to promote tolerance and mutual respect.

A Commission for Romani/Taters was established in 2009 in order to address the injustices committed against these groups under past assimilation policies. However, access to individual compensation schemes remains difficult as documentary evidence is not always available. The authorities should adopt more proactive attitudes in this regard to enable persons concerned to obtain financial compensation as needed.

Furthermore, the Advisory Committee invites the authorities to redouble their efforts to revitalise the Kven language and to ensure that the needs of persons belonging to the Kven minority in the field of preservation and promotion of their culture and language are adequately met.

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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. For more information, http://www.coe.int/minorities.