Developments in the Field of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

In: European Yearbook of Minority Issues Online
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  • 1 Lawyer, co-secretary of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

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  • 1 Armenia, Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. 2 For further information see the website of the Charter: For an overview in French see Regina Jensdottir, `Q,u'est-ce que la Charte europeenne des langues regionales ou minoritaires?', 105 Herodote, LanBues et territoires, (2002),169-77.

  • 3 Linguistic and cultural rights can he considered as the third generation of human rights (civil and political rights being the first generation and social and economic rights being the second). In this sense see Florence Benoit-Rohmer,'Les langues officieuses de la France', 45 Revuefranfaise de droit constitutionnel (2001), 3-29, at 29. 4 For example, Germany decided to include Low German in the instrument of ratification, Low German being a very old form of German that many considered to be a dialect.

  • 5 The Committee of Experts is composed of one member for each contracting state, who is elected by the Committee of Ministers out of a list of three candidates proposed by the state concerned. 6 The question as to how the mechanism would cope with a situation where a state failed to submit the report has never arisen so far. 7 Such comments and statements must be submitted at the latest within a month after the on-the-spot visit has taken place.

  • 8 The other reports finalized up to June 2003 concern the following countries: Croatia, Finland, Hungary Liechtenstein, Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland. 9 Report of the Committee of Experts on the application of the Charter ECHRML (2002) 1, Strasbourg, 5 July 2002 MIN-LANG (2002) 4 final, at 10 Namely to the Lander of Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Westem Pomerania, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein.

  • 11 See report of the Committee of Experts., finding D., 113; for concrete examples see e.g. paras.223, 263-4 and 266. 12 Ibid.,128-9. 13 Ibid., 21-33. 14 Ibid., finding B.,113. 15 Ibid, 128.

  • 16 Ibid., in particular paras. 92,147,222-3,263-6,300-3,332,362-5,405,407, -+.fï-9 and 494. See also finding L. The CM also emphasized the need to have a more structured approach in the field and to make the users better aware of their rights (recommendations nos. 5 and 6). 17 Ibid., paras. 93-4,152, 233-4, 269- 70, 306-7, 337, 456-7 and 504-5. 18 Ibid., finding I. 19 See paras.30-2 of the report.

  • 20 See para. 29 of the report and point D of the findings of the Committee of Experts. Similar remarks have also been made with respect to the Finnish-speaking population living outside the administrative area of Norrbotten county, as only 5% of the speakers of the Sweden Finnish live inside this area (see also point C of the findings of the Committee of Experts).

  • 21 The Committee of Experts has in the meantime adopted its second report on Norway, on 3 September 2003. 22 The text of the contribution byhe CoE, which includes a section devoted specifically to regional or minor- ity languages, is available from the Secretariat of the Charter.

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