FCNM Newsletter | Minority rights in Europe - June 2020
COVID-19: National minorities in crisis?
In a statement adopted on 28 May 2020, the Advisory Committee expressed its deep concern that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the vulnerability of national minorities and deepened already existing inequalities in many member states. The Advisory Committee will continue to follow closely the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the respect of rights of persons belonging to national minorities.
Advisory Committee adopts opinions at video Plenary
On 25-28 May, the Advisory Committee held its first ever plenary meeting by video conference. It approved the draft opinion on Malta and adopted opinions on Bulgaria, Hungary and Spain. The committee warmly thanked its 9 outgoing members, including its President Besarion Bokhashvili, for their work. Until the election of a new Bureau by the new composition, Marie Hagsgård will serve as Acting President of the Advisory Committee.
NGOs and minority associations have a key role in the monitoring mechanism of the Framework Convention. A new dedicated webpage explains how NGOs can submit information to the Advisory Committee and features a calendar of upcoming monitoring visits. This summer and autumn, the Advisory Committee will prepare opinions on the implementation of the Framework Convention in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Liechtenstein, and the Slovak Republic.
New National Minorities and Minority Languages Division led by Elise Cornu
The Secretariats of the Framework Convention and the Language Charter have been united under the same administrative Division within the Council of Europe’s Directorate General of Democracy. The newly created Division of National Minorities and Minority Languages, led by Elise Cornu since 1 May 2020, is expected to enable better planning and co-operation between the two Secretariats, thus strengthening both independent monitoring mechanisms and their respective committees.
Advisory Committee resumes monitoring visits
With the COVID-19 situation slowly improving, the Advisory Committee is resuming its monitoring visits. Visits are scheduled to the Czech Republic (21-25 September), Estonia (14-18 September), the Slovak Republic (19-23 October) and Germany (2-6 November). The last monitoring visit before the COVID-19 crisis took place in Croatia; the latest opinions published were those on Cyprus and Denmark.