Expert Talks: Three Questions, Six Experts, and #FCNM20

During the conference in Frankfurt, our prominent guests answered three core questions on the development of minority rights over the past 20 years.

What is the biggest indicator of positive change for minority rights over the last 20 years? What were the main obstacles in implementing minority rights provisions? How do we see a better future in terms of minority protection? Marking the twentieth anniversary of the Framework Convention for the Protection of Minority Rights (FCNM) and a book launch, minority experts were gathered for the conference ‘Taking Stock after 20 Years‘ in Frankfurt and answered these core questions.

Francesco Palermo, Rainer Hofmann, Boriss Cilevics, Petra Roter, Alan Phillips and Elisabeth Sándor-Szalay spoke about their perspectives on what has been achieved, what were the challenges along the way and what needs to be done in terms of putting the Framework Convention into practice since its adoption 20 years ago.

“There are problems in implementation, but at least the situation is a lot better,” said Francesco Palermo (Director of the Institute for Comparative Federalism at Eurac Research) and highlighted the fact that currently, most of the states in the Council of Europe have adopted the substantive part of the Convention.

“The biggest achievement is that there has been a dialogue, and the Framework Convention is central to this,” emphasised Alan Phillips (Former President of the Advisory Committee on the FCNM).

In discussing the obstacles to the implementation of minority provisions, Petra Roter (Professor at the University of Ljubljana) mentioned the public perception of minorities throughout the history: “The biggest hurdle has been the view of minorities as something special, but special in a negative way… We see that minorities have often been perceived as a problem.”

“Minority rights and human rights issues in general are not pushed forward in Europe,” said Rainer Hoffmann (Professor at the Goethe-University Frankfurt), sharing his thoughts on the recent dynamics of European politics as one of the obstacles to implement minority provisions.

What do we suggest for successful implementation of minority provisions in future? “More openness, more awareness raising,” mentioned Elisabeth Sándor-Szalay (Ombudsman for the Rights of National Minorities, Hungary). “Minority rights are integral part of human rights; it is formally accepted, but not followed by all parties,” said Boriss Cilevics (Deputy of Saeima, Latvia).

Watch the Videos:

About the conference:

On 13-14 March 2018 the ECMI and the Goethe University Frankfurt organized a Book Launch Conference on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities: Taking Stock after 20 Years.

The Conference gathered experts and prominent scholars on national minority issues and will focus on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM). The event marked the 20th anniversary of the FCNM and the launching of a new publication titled “The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities: A Commentary”, edited by Rainer Hofmann, Tove H. Malloy and Detlev Rein (Brill, 2018).

The conference panels were streamed LIVE on ECMI Facebook page.

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Also relevant:

ECMI Joins the 20th Anniversary of the FCNM with a New Publication

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