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Promoting the rights of persons belonging to national minorities

Doc. 14779: collection of written amendments | Doc. 14779 | 24/01/2019 | Final version

Caption: AdoptedRejectedWithdrawnNo electronic votes

ADraft Resolution

1The rights of persons belonging to national minorities form an integral part of the international human rights framework, as recognised by the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (ETS No. 157, “the Framework Convention”). The Parliamentary Assembly emphasises that full ratification of the Framework Convention by all member States of the Council of Europe is an important means of promoting the full and equal participation of all members of society, promoting the diversity of cultures and languages in Europe and guaranteeing stability, democratic security and peace throughout the continent.
2The Assembly pays tribute to the fundamental role played by the Framework Convention in improving the protection of persons belonging to national minorities and promoting their rights over the twenty years since its entry into force. It moreover welcomes the fact that the multilateral system set up under the Framework Convention provides States with a regular source of expert analysis and early warnings when the structures and channels set up domestically in order to protect and promote the rights of persons belonging to national minorities and facilitate their full participation in society fall short of the aims sought to be achieved.
3The Assembly recalls its 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, in which it called on the four States that have signed the Framework Convention but not ratified it – Belgium, Greece, Iceland and Luxembourg –, and on the four others that have neither signed nor ratified it – Andorra, France, Monaco and Turkey –, to sign and/or ratify the Framework Convention as soon as possible, without reservations or declarations. It deplores the fact that little or no progress appears to have been made towards ratification by these States since then.
4The Assembly once again reiterates its appeal to all member States to respond positively to the needs of persons belonging to national minorities and to safeguard their rights, in particular as set forth in the Framework Convention.

23 January 2019

Tabled by Mr Mustafa YENEROĞLU, Ms Serap YAŞAR, Mr Zafer SIRAKAYA, Mr Cemal ÇETİN, Mr Ali ŞAHİN, Mr Kamil AYDIN

Votes: 12 in favor 27 against 8 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4, after the words "in the Framework Convention", insert the following words: "and in bilateral and international treaties that they are part of".

Explanatory note

If the Framework Convention is selected as the only source to be applied when it comes to minority issues, the fact is that the Greek Government's inadequate implementation of the Treaty of Lausanne would be justified.

5It recalls in this context that the principle of equality and non-discrimination constitutes a fundamental human right. While 20 Council of Europe member States have ratified Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 177), including Andorra and Luxembourg, 27 have not. Eighteen States have signed but not ratified Protocol No. 12, including Belgium, Greece, Iceland and Turkey, which are also not Parties to the Framework Convention. Nine States, including two that have neither signed nor ratified the Framework Convention – France and Monaco – have neither signed nor ratified Protocol No. 12.
6The Assembly underlines that the ratification of Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights would strengthen the protection of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, whether or not such minorities are recognised as such.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 6, after the words: "European Convention on Human Rights", insert the following words: "and full implementation of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights concerning the rights of persons belonging to national minorities".

Explanatory note

Three associations which were dissolved in Greece in 1986 lodged a complaint. The ECtHR held unanimously there had been a violation of Article 11 of ECHR. Therefore, full implementation of the judgments of ECtHR should be stressed, since judgments finding violations are binding on the States.

7It regrets that, since the Committee of Experts on Issues Relating to the Protection of National Minorities (DH-MIN) ceased functioning at the end of 2011, no forum for addressing these issues has been provided by the Committee of Ministers beyond its periodical exchanges of views with the president-in-office of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention.
8Considering the concerns raised by the Advisory Committee as regards current trends and challenges in the protection of minority rights, echoed at the conference held on 18 and 19 June 2018 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Framework Convention and of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ETS No. 148), the Assembly underlines the importance of dealing with the rights of persons belonging to national minorities through a multilateral approach, providing collective mechanisms and guarantees.
9In the light of the above, the Assembly calls on:
9.1those member States which have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Framework Convention, without reservations or declarations amounting to reservations;
9.2those member States which have signed but not yet ratified the Framework Convention to ratify this instrument, without reservations or declarations amounting to reservations;
9.3those States Parties which have ratified the Framework Convention while entering restrictive declarations or reservations to withdraw them.

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 9.3, insert the following paragraph:

"those State Parties which have ratified the Framework Convention to take note of and to apply the Recommendations of the Council of Europe - Resolution 1985(2014), Resolution 1334(2003), Recommendation 1201(1993), Recommendation 1944(2010) and Resolution 2196(2018)."

Explanatory note

1985(2014): The situation and rights of national minorities in Europe, Rapporteur Ferenc KALMAR, 2014 1334(2003): Positive experiences of autonomous regions as a source of inspiration for conflict resolution in Europe, Rapporteur Andreas GROSS, 2003 1201(1993): Additional protocol on the rights of minorities to the European Convention on Human Rights, 1993 1944(2010): The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, 2010 2196(2018): The protection and promotion of regional or minority languages in Europe, Rapporteur Rozsa HOFFMANN, 2018

10The Assembly also calls on:
10.1those member States which have not yet done so to sign and ratify Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights;
10.2those member States which have signed but not yet ratified Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights to ratify this instrument.

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 10.2, insert the following paragraph:

"The Assembly recognises the key role that can be played by civil society organizations representing persons belonging to national minorities in making fundamental rights and values a reality for everyone, and stresses that they should be able to carry out their work to promote the social, economic, political and cultural participation of persons belonging to national minorities in a safe and well-supported environment."

Explanatory note

The indication of proper protection of minority rights by a host country and its commitment to the agreements regarding that protection is determined by the protection of the activities and rights of the non-governmental organizations belonging to minorities in that country.