National minority rights: conference in Budapest assesses NGO role and presents study on national minority youth

Presidency of the Committee of Ministers Strasbourg 7 September 2021
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National minority rights: conference in Budapest assesses NGO role and presents study on national minority youth

The Hungarian Presidency of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers is hosting a conference in Budapest on “The role of NGOs and research institutes in promoting Council of Europe norms and standards on national minority rights”.

Promoting national minority rights is a priority for the current Hungarian presidency of the Committee of Ministers, so Péter Sztáray, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, is opening the conference together with Hallvard Gorseth, Head of the Council of Europe’s Anti-Discrimination Department. The event is taking place at the Council of Europe’s European Youth Centre (Zivatar utca 1-3) in Budapest, and is being streamed online.

Representatives of governments and national minority associations and NGOs from Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Russian Federation and Slovenia are taking part. Two panels focus on the role of research institutes in protecting national minority rights and on the results achieved by NGOs to protect these rights.

A third panel is introducing a study – prepared by the Steering Committee on Anti-discrimination, Diversity and Inclusion – on political participation of national minority youth in member states. The study includes good practices from Council of Europe member states and recommendations to bolster the realisation of the political rights of national minority youth. Civil society organisations contributed to the study.

According to the study, national minority youth – defined as people aged between 13 and 30 – face multiple obstacles to political participation at various levels: young people may not be taken seriously, and they may distrust public institutions. Moreover, youth organisations may not have enough access to funding or other important resources.

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