The UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities needs to be injected back into the European discourse, noted ECMI Director Tove H. Malloy at the Declaration’s 20th anniversary this week.
ECMI also drew the Forum’s attention to the fact that in the current times of serious economic crisis there is a “tendency to see minorities as part of the problem rather than part of the solution”. A second message was that “educating media actors about minority rights is also important.”
The notes were put forward by Director Dr. Tove H. Malloy in the context of contributing to the Recommendation of the Forum. The Forum assembled in Geneva and it also marked the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration.
The Declaration’s current European relevance
In some European countries “governments have arbitrarily selected which minorities to recognize under the European regional regime of minority rights,” explained Dr. Malloy.
In these countries, unrecognized minorities have only the UN Declaration to which they can turn. Most prominently are France, Greece, and Turkey that don’t recognize any minorities. However, there are many more examples. Roma are not recognized in Denmark, Turks are not recognized in Germany, and the Cornish are not recognized in the UK to mention but a few examples.
“Therefore, the Declaration needs to be injected back into the European discourse.”
5th session of the Forum on Minority Issues implementing the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities: Identifying positive practices and opportunities, 27 and 28 November 2012 Room XX, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland