The Framework Convention takes effect today

Date: Sun, 01 Feb 98 15:03:50 -0500
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Subject: The Framework Convention takes effect today

From: MINELRES moderator       \ Internet:    (

The Framework Convention takes effect today

Dear friends, 

Today we have a special day, indeed - on 1 February the Framework Convention
for the Protection of National Minorities enters into force! I believe this
is a good reason to congratulate both representatives of minorities and all
people interested in minority protection. 

In a somewhat simplistic way, I would claim that still yesterday we had
either isolated provisions of international instruments (like Art.27 ot the
ICCPR) or declarations (like 1992 UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons
belonging to... minorities) to protect minority rights at the international
level. Today a really legally binding document  entirely devoted to the
issue is at our disposal.  

Of course, many provisions of the Convention are rather vague, problems with
the definition of a minority are present (the question raised by Fernand De
Varennes in his recent posting), besides, reservations made by several state
parties give reasons for serious concern (we should express our gratitude to
CBSS Commissioner Mr Ole Espersen who made serious efforts to prevent
adoption of similar reservations when further ratifications are made).
Anyway, I believe that the Convention's entry into force must be evaluated
as a crucial breakthrough in protecting the rights of minorities. 

It seems that the treaty mentioned above is called The Framework Convention
because elaboration of subsequent instruments is implied, to specify
minority rights in particular areas with more details. I would like to ask
MINELRES participants who might be aware of the anticipated developments in
the field (John Packer, our colleagues from CBSS Commissioner's office, from
ECMI, from MRG, and generally everybody who possesses pertinent information)
to share their forecasts in this respect. In particular, can we expect the
Hague Recommendations on minority rights in education to gain some binding
status? What is the current situation with "The Oslo Recommendations"? Do
you believe it might be feasible to adopt any monitoring / individual
complaints mechanisms to apply to the Framework Convention? And generally -
how, in your view, the Framework Convention's entry into force must
influence activities of the minority rights NGOs and activists in Central
Eastern Europe? 

Thanks in advance, 

MINELRES - a forum for discussion on minorities in Central&Eastern Europe

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