Promoting the rights of persons belonging to national minorities
- Parliamentary Assembly
debate on 24 January 2019 (8th Sitting) (see Doc. 14779, report of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination,
rapporteur: Mr Viorel Riceard Badea). Text
adopted by the Assembly on 24 January 2019 (8th Sitting).
1. The 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, fostering and protecting
the diversity of cultures and languages in Europe and guaranteeing
stability, democratic security and peace throughout the continent.
2. The Assembly pays tribute to the fundamental role played by
the Framework Convention in strengthening the protection of persons
belonging to national minorities and promoting their rights over
the twenty years since its entry into force. Moreover, it 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
to protect and promote the rights of persons belonging to national
minorities, and to facilitate their full participation in society,
fall short of the aims sought to be achieved.
The Assembly recalls its Recommendation 1766 (2006)
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 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.
4. The Assembly once again reiterates its appeal to all member
States to respond positively and pay close attention to the needs
of persons belonging to national minorities, and to safeguard their
rights, in particular as set forth in the Framework Convention.
5. It 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.
Another nine States, including two that have neither signed nor ratified
the Framework Convention – France and Monaco – have neither signed
nor ratified Protocol No. 12.
6. The Assembly underlines that the ratification of Protocol
No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights and full implementation
of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights concerning
the rights of persons belonging to national minorities would strengthen
the protection of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities,
whether or not the minorities are recognised as such.
7. It 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 for the Protection of National Minorities.
8. Considering the concerns raised by the Advisory Committee
as regards current trends and challenges in terms of 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
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.
In the light of the above, the Assembly calls on:
9.1 those member States which have
not yet done so to sign and ratify the Framework Convention, without
reservations or declarations amounting to reservations;
9.2 those member States which have signed but not yet ratified
the Framework Convention to ratify this instrument, without reservations
or declarations amounting to reservations;
9.3 those States which have ratified the Framework Convention,
but entered restrictive declarations or reservations, to withdraw
9.4 those States which have ratified the Framework Convention
to implement it fully.
The Assembly also calls on:
member States which have not yet done so to sign and ratify Protocol
No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights;
10.2 those member States which have signed but not yet ratified
Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights to ratify
11. The Assembly recognises the key role that can be played by
civil society organisations 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