on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 13 June 2012
at the 1145th 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 Res(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 Res(97)10;1
Having regard to the instrument of ratification submitted by Denmark on 22 September 1997;
Recalling that the Government of Denmark transmitted its state report in respect of the third monitoring cycle under the Framework Convention on 30 March 2010;
Having examined the Advisory Committee’s third opinion adopted on 31 March 2011 as well as the written comments of the Government of Denmark received on 1 December 2011;
Having also taken note of comments by other governments,
1. Adopts the following conclusions in respect of Denmark:
a) Positive developments
In 2003, Denmark adopted the Act on Ethnic Equal Treatment, which contains comprehensive anti-discrimination provisions. In this context, Denmark has set up the Board for Equal Treatment, a new body responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Act. The efforts to combat racism and racist violence have been pursued and various schemes to promote cultural diversity and encourage tolerance are being implemented, in particular the Action Plan for Ethnic Equal Treatment and Respect for the Individual, which was adopted in July 2010.
Improvements have been made to the system of registering racist incidents used by the Danish security service (PET) and guidelines have been drawn up to encourage the reporting of hate crimes.
There is no longer any special class for Roma children, and the adoption of specific measures, such as the employment of school mediators and appropriate additional tutoring, has enabled a reduction in absenteeism and dropping out of schools among Roma pupils as well as an improvement in their performance at school.
Following the introduction of an electronic system for registering the names of newborn children, the Danish National Church is no longer mentioned on certificates issued to persons who do not belong to this church.
The authorities have pursued a solid and effective policy of support for persons belonging to the German minority and relations between the authorities and the representatives of the German minority are characterised by a climate of dialogue and trust.
b) Issues of concern
The Board for Equal Treatment and the Danish Institute for Human Rights are suffering from a lack of visibility among the population and do not have sufficient human and financial resources to carry out their tasks. Persons belonging to the groups most at risk of becoming victims of discrimination are not adequately informed about the remedies available.
The police sometimes fail to take into account the racist nature of acts of violence, which discourages victims from lodging complaints.
Some media continue to spread a distorted and discriminatory image of the Roma and of Muslims despite the existence of ethical guidelines and a supervisory mechanism implemented by the Press Council. Hostile and racist statements made by certain political leaders have apparently also been disseminated by some media and on the Internet.
The distribution of the German minority’s local newspaper is potentially at risk if no solutions are found in order to ensure its financial survival.
In South Jutland, information which is important for persons belonging to the German minority, as well as the Advisory Committee’s opinions, are not translated into the minority language of this group nor disseminated in South Jutland.
The installation of signs and topographical indications in German in the South Jutland region is not yet sufficiently advanced.
The administrative reform of 2006 appears to have resulted, in some cases, in a lack of awareness of the Framework Convention, which is jeopardising the implementation of certain provisions of the Convention in South Jutland
2. Adopts the following recommendations in respect of Denmark:
In addition to the measures to be taken to implement the detailed recommendations contained in sections I and II of the Advisory Committee's opinion, the authorities are invited to take the following measures to improve further the implementation of the Framework Convention:
Issues for immediate action2
- raise general public awareness of the Act on Ethnic Equal Treatment of 2003 and of the work of the Board for Equal Treatment; ensure that the funding of the Board for Equal Treatment and the Danish Institute for Human Rights is appropriate to their needs;
- adopt the necessary measures in order to ensure that persons belonging to the German minority maintain print media in their own language; in particular, ensure adequate funding of the German-language newspaper;
- adopt additional measures to raise awareness of the Framework Convention and ensure its effective implementation at the local and regional levels in South Jutland.
- propose additional training for police officers to raise their awareness of the diverse dimensions and manifestations of racism so that they are better able to assess whether or not incidents reported to them are racist in nature;
- take additional measures to ensure that the media fully comply with the rules of professional conduct, while respecting media independence; encourage the recruitment of persons of non-Danish ethnic origin into the media in order to promote cultural diversity and encourage the dissemination of a more accurate image of persons belonging to national minorities;
- translate information which is important for persons belonging to the German minority, as well as the Advisory Committee’s opinions, into the minority language of this group and ensure that these translations are disseminated in South Jutland;
- consult the representatives of the German minority with the aim of progressively installing topographical indications and other bilingual signs in South Jutland, where appropriate.
3. Invites the Government of Denmark, in accordance with Resolution Res(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 sections 1 and 2 above.
1 In the context of adopting Resolution Res(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”.
2 The recommendations below are listed in the order of the corresponding articles of the Framework Convention.