FCNM Newsletter | Minority rights in Europe - October 2018
Launch of Advisory Committee’s activity report
The Committee of Ministers welcomed the biennial activity report of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (ACFC), which its former President Petra Roter presented on 26 September 2018. The report lists a number of achievements in the protection of minority rights in Council of Europe member states, but also reflects on the rise of populism and nationalism, the re-securitisation of minority politics and challenges to multilateral co-operation. A landmark event highlighted in the report was the 20th anniversary conference of the Framework Convention and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in June 2018. Speeches and conclusions by conference rapporteur Philippe Boillat are available on the conference website.
Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention elects a new President
The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities met for the first time in its new composition from 8 to 11 October 2018. It elected Mr Besarion Bokhashvili as its President and Ms Edita Žiobienė and Ms Marie Hagsgård as its first and second Vice Presidents respectively. The bureau will have a term of office of two years.
“We can see progress – and much of it has to do with the Framework Convention”
Josefina Skerk, Member of Swedish Sami Parliament and keynote speaker at the Council of Europe conference “Minorities and minority languages in a changing Europe”, stressed the value of the Framework Convention for indigenous peoples such as the Sami in Sweden and sent a strong message against attempts to play “old” and “new” minorities off against each other: “I think a strong situation for minority languages creates a strong identity. And that makes you able to open your heart to others”.
20 years of Framework Convention – UN and OSCE perspectives
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Framework Convention, the leading OSCE and UN institutions on minority rights assessed the achievements of the FCNM and the challenges ahead. Fernand de Varennes, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues stressed that “minority rights are human rights, and there is a tendency to forget that.” Lamberto Zannier, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, warned against using minorities “as pawns on the geopolitical map”, noting the rise of populism in Europe.
Edita Žiobienė spoke at the Fundamental Rights Forum
Ms Edita Žiobienė, member of the Advisory Committee, spoke at the session on national minorities at the Fundamental Rights Forum of the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency in Vienna on 25 September 2018. The session explored the notion of belonging against the background of various international instruments protecting persons belonging to national minorities, including the Framework Convention.