COUNCIL OF EUROPE
    COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS

    Resolution ResCMN(2003)9
    on the implementation of the Framework Convention

    for the Protection of National Minorities by the Russian Federation

    (Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 10 July 2003
    at the 848th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)

    The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Articles 24 to 26 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (hereinafter referred to as “the Framework Convention”);

    Having regard to Resolution (97) 10 of 17 September 1997 setting out rules adopted by the Committee of Ministers on the monitoring arrangements under Articles 24 to 26 of the Framework Convention;

    Having regard to the voting rule adopted in the context of adopting Resolution (97) 10;1

    Having regard to the instrument of ratification submitted by the Russian Federation on 21 August 1998;

    Recalling that the Government of the Russian Federation transmitted its state report in respect of the first monitoring cycle under the Framework Convention on 8 March 2000;

    Whereas the Advisory Committee accepted the invitation of the Government of the Russian Federation to send a delegation to gather further information in the Russian Federation, this visit taking place from 11 to 15 February 2002;

    Whereas the Advisory Committee's opinion on the implementation of the Framework Convention by the Russian Federation was adopted on 13 September 2002 and then transmitted to the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation, and communicated to the permanent representatives of all member states and to the representative of a non-member state party as document CM(2002)152;

    Whereas the Government of the Russian Federation submitted its written comments on the opinion of the Advisory Committee, these written comments having been communicated to the delegations of all member states and a non-member state party as an addendum to document CM(2002)152, dated 13 March 2003;

    Having examined the Advisory Committee's opinion and the written comments of the Government of the Russian Federation;

    Having also taken note of comments by other governments,

    1. Adopts the following conclusions concerning the implementation of the Framework Convention by the Russian Federation:

    – the situation concerning national minorities in the Russian Federation is in many respects unique with more than 170 nations and nationalities inhabiting the country and a large number of minority languages taught in schools and used in broadcasting. Amongst the subjects of the Federation, there are 21 national republics, one autonomous territory and 10 autonomous areas;

    – the Russian Federation has introduced legislation in a number of fields that generally reflects the corresponding principles of the Framework Convention. Valuable efforts have been made, in particular with respect to the protection of the “titular nations” of the republics of the Russian Federation and certain promising initiatives of more general scope, such as the national-cultural autonomies (of which there are 15 at the federal level and more than 300 at the regional and local level), have been launched and should be pursued further;

    – although a spirit of tolerance generally prevails in a number of regions, increased efforts aimed at promoting inter-ethnic dialogue and combating aggressive nationalism and attempts to incite inter-ethnic discord are needed. Problems in inter-ethnic relations in the Northern Caucasus and attitudes towards persons belonging to minorities originating in the Caucasus should be given particular attention. The situation in Chechnya and the human rights problems therein have hampered efforts to implement a number of provisions of the Framework Convention, the principles of which should be fully taken into account in the process of political settlement in the Chechen Republic;

    – the practical impact of several positive initiatives has proved limited, due to the limited priority and resources. For example, the improved normative protection of the numerically small indigenous peoples of the north has not led to marked progress, due to the inadequate mechanisms and support for the implementation of the laws at issue both at the federal and regional level. Furthermore, the valuable efforts by many republics to protect their “titular nations” have not always been coupled with adequate measures to implement the Framework Convention vis-à-vis persons belonging to other groups residing in the region at issue;

    – there are certain administrative practices, as well as regional and local norms, in particular with respect to residency registration, that are problematic from the point of view of non-discrimination and other principles of the Framework Convention and have created undue obstacles for some persons belonging to minorities in specific regions, including for a number of Meskhetian Turks/Meskhetians in the Krasnodar region;

    – as concerns the use of minority languages, there remain shortcomings, inter alia, in the volume and scope of teaching in and of certain minority languages, including with respect to many dispersed minorities. At the same time, there is a need to ensure that legislation aimed at protecting the state language is implemented with due regard to minority languages and in a manner that does not put at risk the positive steps that have been taken, for example with respect to the use of languages of “titular nations” of the republics;

    – issues related to the effective participation of persons belonging to national minorities deserve increasing attention by the authorities in order to address any shortcomings that remain. The on-going measures to improve consultation between the authorities and national-cultural autonomies and other organisations of national minorities in the decision-making processes are therefore to be welcomed. Furthermore, additional efforts to promote political means to protect the interests of national minorities should be undertaken. For this purpose, the relevant legislative and policy framework should be reviewed and, where appropriate, amended;

    2. Recommends that the Russian Federation take appropriate account of the conclusions set out in paragraph 1 above, together with the various comments in the Advisory Committee's opinion.

    3. Invites the Government of the Russian Federation, in accordance with Resolution (97) 10:

    a. to continue the dialogue in progress with the Advisory Committee;

    b. to keep the Advisory Committee regularly informed of the measures it has taken in response to the conclusions and recommendations set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 above.

Note 1 . In the context of adopting Resolution (97) 10 on 17 September 1997, the Committee of Ministers also adopted the following rule: “Decisions pursuant to Articles 24.1 and 25.2 of the Framework Convention shall be considered to be adopted if two-thirds of the representatives of the Contracting parties casting a vote, including a majority of the representatives of the Contracting parties entitled to sit on the Committee of Ministers, vote in favour”.


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