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The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

Resolution 1770 (2010)

Parliamentary Assembly
Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 12 November 2010 (see Doc. 12422, report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Mr Berényí). See also Recommendation 1944 (2010).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly stresses the fundamental importance of the protection of minority and regional languages for stability and peace in Europe and recalls its previous texts concerning the rights of persons belonging to national minorities: Recommendation 1492 (2001) and Recommendation 1623 (2003) on the rights of national minorites, Recommendation 1766 (2006) on the ratification of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by the member states of the Council of Europe, and Resolution 1713 (2010) on minority protection in Europe: best practices and deficiencies in implementation of common standards.
2. The Assembly pays tribute to the unique role which the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (the charter, ETS No. 148) has played over the past few years in improving the protection of regional or minority languages and preserving linguistic and cultural diversity in Europe. Accordingly, it also applauds the valuable work of the Committee of Experts of the charter.
3. However, the Assembly notes that the charter has so far been ratified by only 25 states. Another eight states have signed it, some of which are expected to ratify soon. To date, however, almost half of the Council of Europe’s member states have not yet fully subscribed to this legal instrument. The Assembly deplores that it has not yet become universally accepted throughout Europe.
4. Therefore, the Assembly:
4.1 reiterates its call upon the member states that have not yet done so to sign and/or ratify the charter as soon as possible;
4.2 calls upon the member states that have ratified the charter to:
4.2.1 ensure its proper implementation in a spirit of understanding and tolerance; in so doing member states should in particular ensure that the charter is applied to all the regional or minority languages specified in their instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval, by all branches of government (executive, legislative and judicial) and at all levels of power (local, regional and central), irrespective of their constitutional order as federal or unitary states;
4.2.2 in implementing the charter, co-operate with all relevant actors of civil society concerned;
4.2.3 apply the charter to all the languages traditionally spoken on their territory and to extend its material scope, according to the provisions of the charter;
4.2.4 ensure dissemination of the charter and relevant information concerning the latter not only in official but also in regional or minority languages.
5. The Assembly regrets that reservations and restrictive declarations formulated by states that have already signed and/or ratified the charter have not been revoked and reiterates its request to these states to do so.
6. The Assembly also calls on all member states to step up co-operation with other international organisations such as the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in order to consolidate common standards on the protection of regional or minority languages, and promote the speedy ratification of the charter and its proper implementation.
7. The Assembly notes with satisfaction the increasing interest of the European Parliament in the protection and promotion of regional or minority languages and welcomes its efforts to promote the ratification of the charter. Thus, the Assembly resolves to reinforce co-operation with the European Parliament on these issues, in particular through regular contacts and exchanges of views.