Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities ( FCNM ) is a multilateral treaty of the Council of Europe aimed at protecting the rights of minorities. [1] It came into effect in 1998 and by 2009 it was ratified by 39 member states.


The Council of Europe first discussed the specific protection for national minorities in 1949, but it was not until 1990 that the Council of Europe made a firm commitment to protect these minorities. Recommendation 1134 (1990) contained in the list of principles which the Assembly considers necessary for this purpose. The Parliamentary Assembly did the beginning call for adoption of a protocol to the ECHR . [2] The Framework was signed on February 1995 by 22 Member States of the Council of Europe became active in 1998. [1] By mid-2005, 43 member states had signed and 39 ratified it. [3]

Aims and criticism

The general principles of the convention are to ensure that the signatory states respect the rights of national minorities, to commit discrimination, promote equality, preserve and develop the culture and identity of national minorities, guarantee certain freedoms in relation to access to the media, minority languages and education and encourages the participation of national minorities in public life. Article 25 of the Framework Convention binds the Member States to submit a report to the Council of Europe containing „full information on the legislative and other measures taken to give effect to the principles set out in this framework Convention“ (Council of Europe, 1994, 7).

The convention has come under some criticism. First of all, all states of the Council of Europe have signed and ratified it. France and Turkey have so neither. Iceland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Greece have signed and ratified. Also, the provisions offer new international treaties. Furthermore, they are hedged around with many phrases including ‚as far as possible‘. [ citation needed ] The convention does not define „national minority“ and several countries set their own definition of the term when they ratified the treaty. [1] For example, the United Kingdom ratifies the convention on the understanding that it would be applied with reference to „racial groups“Race Relations Act 1976 . [4] Since this excluded the Cornish people , this resulted in pressure, Including from Cornwall Council , for the UK Government to Recognize the Cornish as a national minority. [5] In April 2014, it was announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury , Danny Alexander , that the UK Government would recognize the Cornish as a national minority under the FCNM. [6]

Overall however, Phillips (2002) has argued that because the FCNM is so fast it is very easy. Therefore, it should not be considered a failure, but a start. Many authors agree with this argument that it needs to be implemented in ‚good faith‘ with the political will to support commitment to minority rights . [ quote needed ]

See also

  • European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
  • Languages ​​of the European Union
  • A Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities
  • List of Linguistic Rights in Constitutions (Europe)
  • Stateless nation
  • International human rights instruments


  1. ^ Jump up to: a b c „The Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities“ (PDF) . United Nations Guide for Minorities – Pamphlet No. 8 . Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights . Retrieved 8 February 2013 .
  2. Jump up^ RECOMMENDATION 1201 (1993)
  3. Jump up^
  4. Jump up^ Hansard – Andrew George – March 2007
  5. Jump up^ „Cornish minority gets a big boost“ . This is Cornwall. 22 April 2010. Archived from the original on 15 September 2012 . Retrieved 8 February 2013 .
  6. Jump up^ „Cornish people formally declared with Scots, Welsh and Irish“. The Independent . April 23, 2014.