Protecting persons belonging to 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. The Framework Convention for the Protection
of National Minorities provides a legally binding yet flexible tool
for protecting the rights of persons belonging to national minorities
through a multilateral, human-rights-based approach that allows
for the expression and acknowledgement of difference while promoting
equal access to rights and resources and strengthening societal
interaction and inclusion.
Whether or not States consider any national minorities to
be present within their territory, and even if they are already
Parties to separate bilateral agreements, it is in the interests
of all persons belonging to national minorities in Europe, and of
all Council of Europe member States, for the Framework Convention
to be ratified by all of them. Conversely, the absence of ratification
of the Framework Convention by some States weakens the overall protection
it can provide.
This report seeks to provide a constructive basis for further
dialogue and steps forward by the eight member States that are not
yet Parties to the Framework Convention. It calls on these States,
and on all States not yet Parties to Protocol No. 12 to the European
Convention on Human Rights, to complete the processes of signature
and ratification of these treaties.