Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities: Institutional History
In the years before the first state reports were received, before the Advisory Committee went on its first country visit, a lot of work went into laying the legal foundations to the world’s first monitoring mechanism for minority rights.
After the 1993 Vienna Conference, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe tasked the Ad Hoc Committee for the Protection of National Minorities (CAHMIN) (1994-1995) with drawing up a framework convention on minority rights, as well as a protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights. This Committee developed the text of the Framework Convention itself, and its Explanatory Report, as this approach was preferred over an additional protocol – work for which was discontinued.
After the Framework Convention was formally adopted, it was then necessary to create the mechanics for its monitoring. The Ad Hoc Committee on the Implementation Mechanism of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (CAHMEC) (1996-1997) drafted Resolution 97(10), which set out the election procedure for the Advisory Committee, the publication procedure to be followed, and the possibility of ad hoc procedures and follow-up activities. Resolution 97(10) is not in force anymore. It was updated in 2019, in Resolution 2019(49).
Intergovernmental work was a key part of the Council of Europe’s commitment to minority protection, even before the first ad hoc committee was formed. The Committee of Experts on Issues relating to the Protection of National Minorities (DH-MIN) worked alongside the two ad hoc committees, under the auspices of the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH). It acted as a forum for the exchange of information, views and experience on policy and good practice relevant to member states. DH-MIN was discontinued in 2010.
In 2020, the Committee of Ministers set up a Steering Committee on Anti-Discrimination, Diversity and Inclusion (CDADI). This intergovernmental structure advises the Committee of Ministers on all questions within its mandate, including safeguarding the rights of persons belonging to national minorities.