A A+ A++

Council of Europe: backsliding on minority rights weakens democracy

Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe has published its twelfth activity report covering the period from June 2018 to May 2020.

According to the report, the general national legal framework for the protection of minority rights in Europe has progressed, but implementation and follow-up of legislation still need improvement.

The legislation and formal structures for the participation of national minorities representatives in public affairs are generally in place. In many states, national minorities are afforded institutionalised participation in decision-making. There has also been noted some progress concerning national anti-discrimination bodies development in Europe.

However, over the past two years, the Advisory Committee has continued to observe the rise of nationalist, populist and xenophobic movements and political parties. In addition, there has been further spread of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and anti-Gypsyism in Europe. The report also contains observations of how historical narratives and bilateral relations with so-called “kin states” can be used to justify the exclusion of minority groups and create distrust towards them.

As the Advisory Committee stated, to address many of these problems, sustainable and substantive dialogue, both between persons belonging to national minorities and the majority population, and between persons belonging to national minorities and the authorities is needed.

The Advisory Committee is the independent expert committee responsible for evaluating the implementation of the Framework Convention in state parties and advising the Committee of Ministers. The results of this evaluation consist in detailed country-specific opinions adopted following a monitoring procedure.

The full report is available below.