Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human
Dimension of the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe
The Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the
Human Dimension of the Conference on Security and Co-operation
in Europe was adopted 29 June 1990. The Document emphasizes the
respect of national minority rights as inherent to the promotion
Persons belonging to national minorities have the rights to exercise
fully and effectively their human rights and fundamental freedoms
without any discrimination and in full equality before the law.
The participating States will adopt, where necessary, special
measures for the purpose of ensuring to persons belonging to national
minorities full equality with the other citizens in the exercise
and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
To belong to a national minority is a matter of a person's individual
choice and no disadvantage may arise from the exercise of such
Persons belonging to national minorities have the right freely
to express, preserve and develop their ethnic, cultural, linguistic
or religious identity and to maintain and develop their culture
in all its aspects, free of any attempts at assimilation against
their will. In particular, they have the right
(32.1) to use freely their mother tongue in private as well as
(32.2) to establish and maintain their own educational, cultural
and religious institutions, organizations or associations, which
can seek voluntary financial and other contributions as well as
public assistance, in conformity with national legislation;
(32.3) to profess and practise their religion, including the acquisition,
possession and use of religious materials, and to conduct religious
educational activities in their mother tongue;
(32.4) to establish and maintain unimpeded contacts among themselves
within their country as well as contacts across frontiers with
citizens of other States with whom they share a common ethnic
or national origin, cultural heritage or religious beliefs;
(32.5) to disseminate, have access to and exchange information
in their mother tongue;
(32.6) to establish and maintain organizations or associations
within their country and to participate in non-governmental organizations.
Persons belonging to national minorities can exercise and enjoy
their rights individually as well as in community with other members
of their group. No disadvantage may arise for a person belonging
to a national minority on account of the exercise of non-exercise
of any such rights.
The participating States will protect the ethnic, cultural, linguistic
and religious identity of national minorities on their territory
and create conditions for the promotion of that identity. They
will take the necessary measures to that effect after due consultations,
including contacts with organizations or associations of such
minorities, in accordance with the decision-making procedures
of each State.
Any such measures will be in conformity with the principles of
equality and non-discrimination with respect to the other citizens
of the participating State concerned.
The participating States will endeavour to ensure that persons
belonging to national minorities, notwithstanding the need to
learn the official language or languages of the State concerned,
have adequate opportunities for instruction of their mother tongue,
as well as, wherever possible and necessary, for its use before
public authorities, in conformity with applicable national legislation.
In the context of the teaching of history and culture in educational
establishments, they will also take account of the history and
culture of national minorities.
The participating States will respect the right of persons belonging
to national minorities to effective participation in public affairs,
including in the affairs relating to the protection and promotion
of the identity of such minorities.
The participating States note the efforts undertaken to protect
and create conditions for the promotion of the ethnic, cultural,
linguistic and religious identity of certain national minorities
by establishing, as one of the possible means to achieve these
aims, appropriate local or autonomous administrations corresponding
to the specific historical and territorial circumstances of such
minorities and in accordance with the policies of the State concerned.
Note: The full
text is available on the Internet site of the OSCE.