European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)


“Sami – the People, their Culture and Languages and the Council of Europe”

Members of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) and the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) brought their expertise together in Inari (Finland) to discuss together with Sami representatives from Finland, Norway, Sweden how the Council of Europe human-rights monitoring mechanisms can address the question of “Sami – the People, their Culture and Languages and the Council of Europe”.

To enhance the implementation of Council of Europe standards through exchanging experience and good practice, the European Committee on Social Cohesion, Human Dignity and Equality (CDDECS) organised, in co-operation with the Finnish Sami Parliament and the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs a seminar on “Sami – the People, their Culture and Languages and the Council of Europe” in Inari (Finland) on 27-29 November.

The event provided the nearly one hundred participants (plus some 270 persons via live video feed) with insight into the specific identities, traditions, cultures and languages of the Sami and increased understanding of the common challenges faced by the Sami in Finland, Norway and Sweden. The topics included equality (between the Sami and the majority population and within the Sami communities), effective participation in public life and decision making, the role of the Sami language media, preservation of languages and cultures, education and services, access to traditional livelihoods and the image of the Sami amongst the non-Sami population. The discussion reflected the perspectives of youth, women and diverse groups within the minority, including LGBT. It provided the participants with examples of functioning practices and information on various challenges faced by the Sami. Coping with change, dealing with diversity within the communities, using modern technology and preserving culture outside the traditional Sami areas were the main cross-cutting issues.

The event also raised awareness amongst the participants of the relevant Council of Europe Conventions and their monitoring mechanisms, namely the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML).

Programme

Background leaflet

Sami Parliament in Finland
Sami Parliament in Sweden
Sami Parliament in Norway

Youtube

For more information on ECRI: www.coe.int/ecri
For more information on the FCNM: www.coe.int/minorities
For more information on the ECRML: www.coe.int/minlang