ECMI substantiates the surmise that national minority issues are re-politicized by European states. This means potential violation of international treaties, claims Dr. Tove Hansen Malloy.
Is the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) monitoring process re-politicized by state parties? This is the more accurate and technically correct question that reasons a recent report by ECMI director Tove H. Malloy. The six case studies of the report deliver an unambiguous but cautious conclusion: the studies confirm the presumed re-politicization of the process, while it remains to be researched, whether the result reflects a general European, an East European or another tendency.
The report, The re-politicization of European minority protection: Six cases from the FCNM monitoring process, is issued electronically on ECMI’s website. The cases are Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Serbia and Ukraine.
Politicization weakens the Treaty
The FCNM guarantees certain rights of persons belonging to national minorities. It includes a monitoring system and describes a monitoring process aimed at evaluating how the FCNM Treaty is implemented by the states that have signed it. Independent experts are part of the process. They form the Advisory Committee to the Framework Convention (ACFC).
The obligation on the Treaty’s rights and its monitoring system is precisely intended to replace the politicization of national minority issues that Europe has seen in its past. Politicization of national minority issues is – in short - prone to ignite much larger conflict.
The six case studies are in stark contrast to this ambition, because “… the monitoring processes were upheld by bilateral relations between the member states, usually neighbouring states seeking to represent kin-state minorities.”
While the Treaty was meant to replace so-called politicization, the cases suggest the opposite direction. Politicization is now weakening the Treaty?
The question implies that the states might bargain bilaterally about the wordings of the resolutions. Have rights of persons belonging to national minorities again become trade objects in bilateral political games?
It is possible, because resolutions based on the ACFC advices and the findings of the Rapporteur Group on Human Rights have to be adopted by the Minister Council of the Council of Europe. The ministers are – naturally – representing the states, even though the scene is Strasbourg.
Re-politicization represents violation of international treaty
Holding up monitoring of international treaties on the basis of bilateral issues clearly goes against the tenets and values of the FCNM instrument and violates international law according to the principles set out in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969), informs the report further.
ECMI Director Dr. Tove Hansen Malloy is a member of the Advisory Committee to the Framework Convention. Dr. Malloy is also heading up the Citizenship & Ethics cluster at European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI).