On 1 February 1998, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) entered into force as the first legally binding multilateral treaty on minority protection. For two decades, the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (ACFC) has advised on the implementation of the FCNM, given visibility to national minorities and promoted integration of diverse societies.
In 20 years, the FCNM has contributed to diversity management in European societies: legislation on minority rights has been adopted, school curricula have been redesigned to provide space for languages spoken by persons belonging to minorities and new forms of minority participation have been established.
In 20 years, both the application and interpretation of the FCNM have evolved significantly, adapting to constantly changing times, with the introduction of new technologies, the emergence of different societal conditions and new political realities.
For the next 20 years and beyond, the FCNM is well equipped and ready to remain the reference instrument for the protection of national minorities it has proudly proven to be, and to go from strength to strength. Access to minority rights as an integral part of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the creation of appropriate societal conditions enabling persons belonging to national minorities to freely express, preserve and develop their identities, remain one of the essential elements of stability, democratic security and peace across Europe also in the 21st century.