Tove H. Malloy

My professional website

Monitoring implementation of minority protection standards

It is commonly known that international normative frameworks serve to elevate the rights of specific beneficiaries to a level where state power is forced to react to relevant normative claims. On the one hand, a government can choose not to respect the rights in question, but in doing so it takes a public and international stand against the willingness of protecting beneficiaries. If, on the other hand, a government decides to sign up to the international normative framework, it agrees to periodical review of its behaviour in relation to the beneficiaries of the framework. This latter relationship is often difficult and tense depending on the domestic situation related to the specific issues protected by the normative framework. So, for instance governments that have adopted an official language will find it difficult to accept the right of minority groups to speak a different language than the official one in public affairs. In the oversight and monitoring of a normative framework governments are thus required not only to co-operate in the review process but also to explain why rights of beneficiaries are not protected.

In the area of minority right protection, the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) adopted in 1995 is the main instrument in Europe serving to ensure protection of national minorities. Recently, the FCNM has come under pressure due to delays in the monitoring procedure which has otherwise experienced a good start since 1998 when the instrument went into force. It appears that in the final step of the monitoring process, the adoption of resolutions to inform governments whether they are indeed complying with the requirements of the instrument, governments set to receive instructions from the Council of Europe have interferred informally through academic channels to change the wording in their favour, or simply to prevent the adoption of resolutions. This puts the FCNM in a new paradigm of inter-state relations not yet seen in minority relations in the life of the Council of Europe.

Read more about the countries in question and about the monitoring process in general in my study: The re-politicization of European minority protection: Six cases from the FCNM monitoring.


An ECPR standing group

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