COUNCIL OF EUROPE – SECRETARIAT OF THE FRAMEWORK CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF NATIONAL MINORITIES (CoE – FCNM)
“The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of 1994 entered into force on 1 February 1998“ as “the first ever legally binding multilateral instrument devoted to the protection of national minorities in general.“ “Thirty-nine States are currently Party to it.“ (CoE: Council Of Europe Activities In The Field Of Protection Of National Minorities, 24 August 2006, p. 4-5, http://www.coe.int/t/e/human_rights/minorities/1._GENERAL_PRESENTATION/PDF_Overview_en.pdf, accessed on 2 July 2008)
The Secretariat of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities is located in Strasbourg.
Council of Europe; governments and policy-makers of the States Parties to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities; national and international organisations working in the field concerned in one or more States Parties; media; public.
Protection of persons belonging to national minorities in Europe; elimination of their discrimination; observance of their rights and freedoms in States Parties; promotion of effective equality; and promotion of the conditions regarding the preservation and development of their cultural heritage and preservation of their religion, language and traditions.
Council of Europe.
Scope of reporting:
Geographic focus: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, The Netherlands, Ukraine, UK.
Thematic focus: Discrimination; effective equality; conditions regarding the preservation and development of the culture and preservation of religion, language and traditions; freedoms of assembly, association, expression, thought, conscience and religion; access to and use of media; linguistic freedoms; use of the minority language in private and in public as well as its use before administrative authorities; use of one's own name; display of information of a private nature; topographical names in the minority language; education; learning of and instruction in the minority language; freedom to set up educational institutions; trans-frontier contacts; international and trans-frontier co-operation; participation in economic, cultural and social life; participation in public life; forced assimilation; background information such as a general outline of the current State policy concerning the protection of national minorities; demographic situation in the country; overview of the relevant historical development of the country; existence of so-called minority-in-minority situations in certain areas; relevant constitutional provisions, laws, regulations, decrees, judicial decisions and provisions of bilateral treaties; legal remedies available; which state/government authorities have competence and/or responsibilities in the field concerned – in both national and local levels; government policies, measures and programmes towards national minorities; statistics and results of surveys.
“The States Parties are required to submit a report containing full information on legislative and other measures taken to give effect to the principles of the Framework Convention within one year of the entry into force. These state reports are made public and examined by the Advisory Committee, which is to prepare an Opinion on the measures taken by each reporting State. Having received the Opinion of the Advisory Committee and the comment from the respective State, the Committee of Ministers is called on to adopt conclusions and, where appropriate, recommendations in respect of the State Party concerned.” (CoE: Council Of Europe Activities In The Field Of Protection Of National Minorities, 24 August 2006, p. 6, http://www.coe.int/t/e/human_rights/minorities/1._GENERAL_PRESENTATION/PDF_Overview_en.pdf, accessed on 2 July 2008)
The publication cycle of State Reports is irregular. Advisory Committee Opinions are adopted some time after the submission of State Reports (an examination of the state report and a country visit precede the adoption of the opinion); and it can take several months or even years after the opinions are published.
English, most of the reports are also available in one of the national languages of the respective state.
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