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Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, drawn up within the Council of Europe by Ad Hoc Committee for the Protection of National Minorities (CAHMIN) under the authority of the Committee of Ministers, was adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 10 November 1994 and opened for signature by the member States of the Council of Europe on 1 February 1995. Non-member States may also be invited by the Committee of Ministers to become Party to this instrument.

The Framework Convention is of relevance not only in guaranteering the right of persons belonging to minorities to good quality, free primary education as well as general  and equal access to secondary education (right to education) but also in setting standards on how such education should be shaped in terms of content as well as form (rights in education) in order to facilitate the development of the abilities and personality of the child, guarantee child safety and accommodate the linguistic, religious, philosophical aspirations of pupils and their parents.

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Commentary on Education under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

Relevant provisions for the right to education:

Section II

Article 4

Article 5

1 The Parties undertake to promote the conditions necessary for persons belonging to national minorities to maintain and develop their culture, and to preserve the essential elements of their identity, namely their religion, language, traditions and cultural heritage.

2 Without prejudice to measures taken in pursuance of their general integration policy, the Parties shall refrain from policies or practices aimed at assimilation of persons belonging to national minorities against their will and shall protect these persons from any action aimed at such assimilation.

Article 6

1 The Parties shall encourage a spirit of tolerance and intercultural dialogue and take effective measures to promote mutual respect and understanding and co-operation among all persons living on their territory, irrespective of those persons’ ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious identity, in particular in the fields of education, culture and the media.

2 The Parties undertake to take appropriate measures to protect persons who may be subject to threats or acts of discrimination, hostility or violence as a result of their ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious identity.

1 The Parties undertake to guarantee to persons belonging to national minorities the right of equality before the law and of equal protection of the law. In this respect, any discrimination based on belonging to a national minority shall be prohibited.

2 The Parties undertake to adopt, where necessary, adequate measures in order to promote, in all areas of economic, social, political and cultural life, full and effective equality between persons belonging to a national minority and those belonging to the majority. In this respect, they shall take due account of the specific conditions of the persons belonging to national minorities.

3 The measures adopted in accordance with paragraph 2 shall not be considered to be an act of discrimination.