Press release - 373(2011)
Protection of national minorities: Council of Europe monitoring body publishes report on Armenia
Strasbourg, 20.04.2011 – The Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities today published its Third Opinion on Armenia, and the government’s Comments.
Since the adoption of the Advisory Committee’s second Opinion in May 2006, Armenia has taken a number of measures to advance the implementation of the Framework Convention. The authorities continue to show an inclusive approach concerning the scope of application of the Framework Convention and co-operate with all national minority communities living on its territory. A general climate of tolerance and understanding between national minorities and the majority prevails in the country.
The Department for Ethnic Minorities and Religious Affairs and the Coordinating Council for National and Cultural Organizations of National Minorities continue to play an active role in raising awareness on issues affecting national minorities and in seeking to resolve outstanding issues.
Problems remain, however, in the implementation of some of the provisions of the Framework Convention. In particular, the formulation and the mandatory nature of the answers to questions on nationality/ethnicity and language contained in the proposed questionnaire for the population census planned for 2011 raise problems as regards the right of persons belonging to national minorities to choose to be treated or not to be treated as such.
No comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation has yet been adopted and there remains a lack of reliable statistics in this field.
The plans for the reform of local self-government in Armenia may have a negative impact on the right of persons belonging to national minorities to participate effectively in public affairs at local level.
Among a number of other recommendations for action to be taken in various areas such as discrimination, and protection from racially-motivated violence, as well as minority cultural, media and linguistic rights, the Advisory Committee recommends in particular to:
§ Review, in the context of the preparation of the population census of 2011, the proposed wording of the questions relating to a person’s identification with a national minority and to his or her minority language and the selected methodology of the questionnaire;
§ Take resolute measures to ensure that the rights of persons belonging to national minorities are duly taken into account when planning and implementing the local government reform and to guarantee that the reform has no negative impact on the right of persons belonging to national minorities to participate effectively in public affairs at local level.
The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities provides for a monitoring system whereby the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, assisted by the Advisory Committee, composed of independent experts, evaluates the implementation of the convention.
For more information, http://www.coe.int/minorities
Council of Europe Press Division
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