FCNM Newsletter | Minority rights in Europe - January 2021
Marie Hagsgård, Acting President of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
Activity report of the Advisory Committee released
“Where divisions are constructed between different ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious groups, democracy is weakened. The backsliding on minority rights is a cause for real concern as it may threaten the inclusive nature of European societies,” says the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in its activity report for 2018-2020. On 25 November 2020, the Acting President of the Advisory Committee, Marie Hagsgård, presented the report to the Committee of Ministers.
Follow-up meetings are a regular practice by the Advisory Committee and could continue despite the pandemic. They provide a unique opportunity to exchange with all relevant stakeholders on the implementation of the Advisory Committee’s recommendations. A follow-up dialogue with Portugal was organised in Lisbon on 29 September. A follow-up meeting with Lithuania was held virtually on 17 November 2020.
To follow news from the Advisory Committee and other Council of Europe bodies, you may subscribe to @CoEDemocracy or @CoE. The FCNM website now features a new section about the Framework Convention and a dedicated page for minority youth organisations. A new leaflet about the Framework Convention is available in English, French and German and will soon be published in other languages too.
While the visits to Estonia, Germany and Slovakia scheduled for autumn 2020 had to be postponed, a monitoring visit to the Czech Republic could take place on 22-25 September. Opinions on Bulgaria, Hungary and Spain were published in October. In its virtual Plenary meeting in October, the Advisory Committee approved draft opinions on Croatia and Liechtenstein and adopted the 5th cycle opinion on Malta. The Committee of Ministers adopted resolutions on the implementation of the FCNM in Denmark and Poland on 21 October, on the Russian Federation and Ukraine on 8 December 2020 and on Albania, Bulgaria and Cyprus on 13 January 2021.
Advisory Committee members at PACE and Anti-Discrimination Committee
The Advisory Committee’s Acting Chair was invited by the Sub-committee on the Rights of Minorities of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly to its meeting on 11 September. The subject of the discussion was a report on “Preserving Europe’s linguistic, ethnic, cultural and national diversity”. On 10 September, Marie Hagsgård spoke at the meeting of the Steering Committee on Anti-Discrimination, Diversity and Inclusion about the importance of youth participation. The Steering Committee is preparing a study on the political participation of minority youth. Youth NGOs are invited to reply to a questionnaire, available online until 29 January 2021.