The forum on “Protecting national minorities in Ukraine: from enhancing the legal framework to its effective implementation, in accordance with the Council of Europe standards” took place at Premier Krakow hotel, in Krakow, Poland on September 27, 2023.
The representatives of Ukrainian governmental institutions together with the representatives of the communities of national minorities, and European institutions’ representatives, as well as international experts, discussed the current state of play in accessing rights by persons belonging to national minorities in Ukraine. The participants listed needs to be addressed, and identified possible legal solutions in line with Council of Europe standards and recommendations, including those stemming from the monitoring performed by the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The support will also allow for refinement of Ukrainian legislation on national minority in the context of the EU accession process.
Dmytro Lubinets, Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, emphasized the importance of the protection of national minorities in the context of the ongoing war. He said that “The current state of development of European integration processes has a unique character, as it is taking place in the conditions of a full-scale war, which was started unprovoked by the Russian Federation against Ukraine. Protecting the security architecture of Europe and the world, Ukraine received the status of a candidate for joining the EU and continued to actively implement European reforms. During this time, Ukrainian society became more united and consolidated around common goals, focused on victory in the war and the further development of Ukraine as a highly developed, democratic, European state, where there is no place for manifestations of discrimination and hate speech.”
Oleksandr Ilkov, Director General of the Government’s Office for Coordination on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, confirmed the institutional commitment in this field: ‘In spite of the progress already achieved by Ukraine in enhancing the legal framework regarding national minorities, we will continue making the maximum efforts in addressing this crucial issue, in particular focusing our attention on effective implementation. Despite the war continues, we are sincerely committed to creating the best conditions for preserving the identity and fostering the cultural development of national minorities’.
‘As representatives of organizations of national communities in Ukraine, we acknowledge that Ukraine keeps making essential steps toward ensuring the rights and freedoms of national communities. And we do believe that deep integration with the EU will promote further democratic development in human rights, the rule of law, humanitarian approaches, and international relations’ said Ashot Avanesian, Head of the Council of National Communities of Ukraine.
Maciej Janczak, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine recalled that “Ukraine has been one of Europe’s most heterogeneous and multicultural countries for centuries. Over the years, democratisation of the Ukrainian society involved developing norms and standards for the protection of national minorities, including by ratifying related treaties of the Council of Europe. Relevant standards need to continue be incorporated in the legislation and at the policy level, including in the Strategy Diversity in Unity.”
The event was organized by the joint EU/CoE project Support for implementing European standards relating to anti-discrimination and rights of national minorities and the Council of Europe project Supporting the reform of the national minority legal framework and the resilience of national minorities and Roma in Ukraine, in close partnership with the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights.