Protecting national minorities is crucial for ensuring the equality of all people, preserving social and political stability and democratic security, and promoting the diversity of cultures in Europe. Understanding minority rights as an integral part of human rights was a crucial step forward in allowing persons belonging to national minorities to participate fully in the societies in which they live.
In 2006, the Assembly adopted Recommendation 1766 on Ratification of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by the member States of the Council of Europe, calling on the Committee of Ministers to continue its efforts to encourage the full ratification of this treaty by all member States, without declarations or restrictive reservations. Since then, there have however been no new ratifications, and no declarations or reservations have been withdrawn.
States Parties to this instrument have in the meantime continued to take steps to strengthen the protection of national minorities within their jurisdiction. The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention has for its part studied regularly the situation of national minorities in States Parties and has adopted several thematic commentaries that throw light on how the Framework Convention can best be applied in practice.
Ten years after its Recommendation 1766, the Parliamentary Assembly should take stock of the implementation of the Framework Convention and engage with member States that are still facing obstacles as regards ratifying it. In this context it should also examine ways of ensuring that the standards and principles stemming from the Framework Convention are applied throughout Europe.