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Norms and standards of the Council of Europe related to the Rights of National Minorities: Results and Challanges
The Hungarian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe launched a series of high-level conferences on standards, achievements and challenges related to the rights of national minorities.
The opening conference took place on 29 June, 2021 in Strasbourg.
1027 Budapest, Bem rakpart 47.
Event reportEuropean history has shown that the fate of autochthonous national minorities – today more than 50 million European citizens – is not only a question of human rights, but is also a guarantee of European peace, stability and security. This issue cannot be circumvented when consultations are held on the future of Europe. Therefore, throughout the discussions on the future of Europe, we suggest taking into account the proposals of the presentation “Recommended principles for the protection of European autochthonous national minorities”*, which will be held in Strasbourg on the 19th of October 2021. The recommended principles are the following: 1. The issue of national minorities is not a domestic issue, but a European one The states and institutions of Europe must boldly explore and engage with the situation of autochthonous minorities. In certain parts of the continent the national minority communities are mostly not protected by legislation, or only partially, and as such they are exposed to the arbitrariness of the majority. The protection provided by the current legislation is only slightly effective, which leads to the decline of autochthonous minority populations, being vulnerable to assimilation. This will endanger the much sought after and desired diversity of Europe in the foreseeable future. It must also be mentioned that the current legislation does not differentiate between autochthonous (autochthonous) and immigrant minorities. It is a crucial task to distinguish autochthonous national communities from migrants, including those who come to Europe for economic reasons. 2. Citizenship can be different from national identity Citizenship does not necessarily correspond with national belonging. It is crucial that in Europe citizenship and national belonging are not concepts which generate hostility, having regard to common interests and values. 3. Ensuring the right to identity is the basis for the protection of national minorities The right to identity derives from the protection of human dignity and forms the basis for the protection of national minorities. It is identity that distinguishes communities and the values with which a given community has enriched humanity. 4. To achieve the protection of identity, both the individual and the collective rights must be ensured A minority is not merely a collection of persons (individuals). This concept also implies the existence of complex relationships within the community. The recognition of collective rights implies that each community can operate its own specific institutional system to preserve its language and culture in accordance with its collective identity and traditions. Integration into the majority society without collective rights leads to assimilation. 5. National minorities living in the territory of a state are the constituent elements of the state The time of nation states which exclude their autochthonous national communities is over. Throughout European history, state borders have often changed. As a result, many national communities have become minorities in their homelands, where they have lived for centuries in the same territory where traces of their culture, traditions and religion can be found. In this way, they have contributed to the development of their homeland, enriching the universal European system of values and culture, regardless of which power has dominated those territories throughout history. It must be stated that in the 21st century, the right to national identity must be defined as a fundamental right of citizens, which is the only way to ensure that protection of self-identity is ensured with sufficient guarantees. The adoption of these principles and axioms is a prerequisite for the creation of a new Pax Europe, which will allow Europe to redefine itself in the global world, while preserving its core values. Binding legislation based on this agreement can bring about true equality between nations, nationalities and national regions in Europe. *Szili Katalin-Kalmár Ferenc: ”Possible basic principles for the protection of national minorities in Europe” Dr. Kalmár Ferenc-Dr. Szili Katalin: „Possible basic principles for the protection of national minorities in the EU” publication, ISBN 978-615-81432-6-4
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