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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 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”:
Look here for an overview of which language is protected by which Part of the Charter.
Part II describes several objectives and principles on which Parties shall base their policies, legislation and practice. Concerning education, a few articles stand out:
The Parties undertake to eliminate, if they have not yet done so, any unjustified distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference relating to the use of a regional or minority language and intended to discourage or endanger the maintenance or development of it. The adoption of special measures in favour of regional or minority languages aimed at promoting equality between the users of these languages and the rest of the population or which take due account of their specific conditions is not considered to be an act of discrimination against the users of more widely-used languages.
The Parties undertake to promote, by appropriate measures, mutual understanding between all the linguistic groups of the country and in particular the inclusion of respect, understanding and tolerance in relation to regional or minority languages among the objectives of education and training provided within their countries and encouragement of the mass media to pursue the same objective.
In addition to Part II, languages can also be recognized under Part III. Part III covers education; judicial authorities; administrative authorities and public services; media; cultural activities and facilities; economic and social life; and transfrontier exchanges. The country has to apply a minimum of 35 (sub-)paragraphs from Part III, including at least three (3) from Article 8 on Education.
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.
The Framework Convention proposes principles that nations, which ratify the Framework Convention, should respect and achieve. Concerning education, a few articles stand out:
The Parties undertake to promote equal opportunities for access to education at all levels for persons belonging to national minorities. 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.
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