MINORITIES
&
LANGUAGES
Diverse identities - Equal Rights
Protecting national minorities and minority languages in Europe means respecting
Linguistic
Cultural
Ethnic
Religious
identity of each person
Geographical coverage of the National Minorities Convention (FCNM) and the Languages Charter (ECRML)
Success Stories
Minority language education in Romania
The adoption of the Law on Education in 2011 following recommendations by the Council of Europe has provided a detailed legal framework for education and established legal guarantees for persons belonging to national minorities in Romania. Under the law, persons belonging to national minorities have the right to be educated in their mother tongue at all levels of pre-university education.
Promotion of North Frisian in Germany
After the ratification of the Languages Charter the German Land of Schleswig-Holstein adopted a law for the promotion of North Frisian in public life (the Frisian Law), covering, inter alia, the use of North Frisian in relations with the administrative authorities, the employment of Frisian-speaking civil servants and the use of bilingual signage.
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 of different minorities and bring legislation on national minorities and its implementation in line with the provisions of the Framework Convention. After heated debate, the Law “On the protection of national minorities” was adopted in 2017, with nine national minorities officially recognised: Aromanian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Egyptian, Greek, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Roma, Serb.
Licence issued to Raidió Fáilte in Northern Ireland
Following a recommendation by the Council of Europe to promote media broadcasting in Irish, a licence was issued to the Irish-language radio station Raidió Fáilte, the only of this kind in Belfast.
HOW DO OUR CONVENTIONS 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

Through the language portrait, you can represent graphically your linguistic repertoire – languages and ways of speaking that are important in your life. For this you may either use this silhouette or draw one for yourself. Choose colours that fit the different languages and modes of speech which have a particular meaning for you.

For more information:

 The language portrait in multilingualism research: Theoretical and methodological considerations
 Heteroglossia.net: research, projects and information on multilingualism

National minorities and minority languages deserve protection.

Two conventions by the Council of Europe are there to make this a reality.

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