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general_information:european_legislation

European covenants concerning minority languages


Legislation concerning European minority languages is determined by each souvereign state. There are two European treaties which are defined and reported on by the Council of Europe. Individual member states can legally commit to these treaties by signature and/or ratification. The two treaties concerning minority and/or regional languages are:

  • The Charter for Regional and Minority languages
  • The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

Charter for Regional and Minority languages (1992)

  • Set up by the Council of Europe
  • State parties which have ratified the Charter are expected to uphold its policies.
  • Offers protection for “regional or minority languages” defined as languages traditionally used within a given territory of a state by nationals of that state who form a group numerically smaller than the rest of the state’s population; they are different from the official language(s) of that state, and they include neither dialects of the official language(s) of the state nor the languages of migrants.
  • View the text of the Charter here (English version).

The Charter operates similar to other covenants: it proposes measures that nations, which ratify the Charter, should take. In the Charter's case, these measures are divided into two separate sets called “Part II” and “Part III”:

  • Part II represents a set of general provisions, which apply to all minority languages within a member state's territory;
  • Part III represents a set of additional provisions, which apply to a subselection of minority languages, that receive additional protection.

Look here for an overview of which language is protected by which Part of the Charter.

To determine whether member states uphold the policies of the Charter, a delegate from the Council of Europe visits the member states every few years and reports about their compliance.


Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (1995)

  • Set up by the Council of Europe.
  • State parties which have ratified the Framework Convention are expected to uphold its policies.
  • Offers protection for “national minorities”, which are not clearly defined. Nation states can determine which groups can be defined as a national minority according to the general principles of international law and the principles set out in Article 3 of the Framework Convention.
  • View the text of the Framework Convention here (English version).

The Framework Convention proposes principles that nations, which ratify the Framework Convention, should respect and achieve.

To determine whether member states uphold the principles of the Framework Convention, an Advisory Committee delegation visits the member states every few years and reports about their compliance, to which the nation state will react and comment.

Modified: 24-02-2020
general_information/european_legislation.txt · Last modified: 2020/03/17 14:54 by ydwine

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