National minorities’ rights: new reports on Georgia and the Netherlands

5 September 2019
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National minorities’ rights: new reports on Georgia and the Netherlands

New opinions on the situation of national minorities in Georgia and the Netherlands have published by the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Over the past three years, Georgia has strengthened its legislative framework for promotion of rights of national minorities and made visible efforts to enhance diversity. However, more effective data collection is necessary, the efforts to promote use of minority languages in education and in relations with the administration are below the required standards, and minority issues are politicized in Georgian society.

The Council of Europe’s Committee has also called on the Netherlands to improve conditions of the Frisian national minority. The Netherlands continues to maintain a high standard of protection of the rights of this minority and significant investments have been made in particular in the fields of education, language and culture. Nevertheless, one of the key issues of concern is the lack of Frisian language teachers and, more generally, the still limited Frisian writing skills; more could also be done to increase the visibility of the Frisian language in the public space. Roma, Sinti and Travellers in the Netherlands continue to be excluded from the scope of application of the Framework Convention, and experience discrimination in many areas. In general, the Committee says, despite its long tradition of tolerance and openness to other cultures and inclusion measures, Dutch society is increasingly challenged by racism, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism. Some divisive and xenophobic messages feed into the mainstream political discourse. At the same time, minority groups have fewer opportunities to make their voices heard and to contribute to the integration of society.

The comments by respective Governments have been published together with the two reports.