National
Minorities
Diverse identities - Equal Rights
Protecting national minorities and minority languages in Europe means respecting
Linguistic
Cultural
Ethnic
Religious
identity of each person

National minorities and minority languages deserve protection. Two conventions by the Council of Europe are there to make this a reality.

States Parties of the Framework Convention and the Language Charter
Since 2004, a special monitoring agreement between the UN interim administration in Kosovo and the Council of Europe has existed with regard to Kosovo*.
Success Stories
Recognition of Travellers in Ireland
The Council of Europe recommended taking urgent measures to address the de facto exclusion of Travellers from the Irish labour market, developing realistic programmes to lower unemployment among them, involving them more actively in decision making and improving the integration and schooling of Traveller children. In March, 2017, Travellers were formally recognised as a distinct ethnic group within the state.
Adoption of a Law on national minorities in Albania
The Council of Europe recommended that Albania adopt comprehensive legislation on national minorities to fill an existing vacuum , abolish differentiated treatment and bring legislation on national minorities and its implementation into line with the provisions of the Framework Convention. After heated debate, the Law “On the protection of national minorities” was adopted in 2017, with eight national minorities officially recognised: Greeks, Macedonians, Aromanians, Roma-Egyptians, Montenegrins, Bosnians, Serbs, Bulgarians.
HOW DOES THE FRAMEWORK CONVENTION HELP?
Krista Oinonen

We have three Sami languages spoken in Finland: Northern Sami is doing relatively well but there is also Inari Sami and Skolt Sami. Altogether there are fewer  than 1,000 people speaking these two languages. Following recommendations from the FCNM Advisory Committee, the government started a revitalisation programme for all Sami languages.

Krista Oinonen, Director, Human Rights Courts and Conventions Unit, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Krista Oinonen

United Kingdom's ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in 2001 was the first time policy commitments had been made in respect of Irish in Northern Ireland. The Charter has provided a framework for us to measure progress – and lack of it - and to report back as an NGO to independent international experts. This breaks down isolation and allows us to promote best practice in what are often challenging circumstances, by drawing on the expert findings of the Committee of Experts and the recommendations of the Committee of Ministers.

Janet Muller, director of POBAL, umbrella organization for the Irish language community

Draw your own language portrait

 

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THE CONVENTION?