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Draft Convention on the Protection of Ethnic Groups in Europe

Federal Union of European Nationalities, Gdansk, Poland, 12 May 1994.

Article 2

    1. For the purposes of this Protocol the term "ethnic group" shall mean a community:
      (d) which have ethnical, linguistic or cultural features different from those of the rest of the population,

Article 4

    1. Persons belonging to ethnic groups shall have the right to the respect, evolution and development of their identity, i.e. they shall have the right freely to express, preserve and develop their ethnic, cultural and linguistic identity, and to maintain and develop their culture in all its aspects, free of any attempts at assimilation.

Article 5

    4. Such special protective measures for the establishment and maintenance of equal opportunities shall be adopted by the state parties with regard to the rights of in particular:
      (a) language;

Article 6

    1. Persons belonging to ethnic groups shall have the right to use their mother tongue (ethnic group language) in private as well as in public, both orally and in writing.

    2. Persons belonging to ethnic groups shall have this right also in contacts with the public administration, the judicial authorities and with all public institutions or institutions intended for public purposes regardless of their legal status; they shall be entitled to receive communications from these institutions in - or also in - their mother tongue (ethnic group language).

    3. The exercise of this right shall be guaranteed in all administrative units of their settlement areas preferably directly, at least through translation.

    4. Persons belonging to ethnic groups shall have in particular the right:

      (a) when arrested, to be informed promptly in their mother tongue (ethnic group language) of the reasons of their arrest and of any charge against them;

      (b) when charged with a criminal offence, to be informed in their mother tongue (ethnic group language) promptly and in detailed manner of the nature and cause of the accusation against them and to defend themselves in this language, if necessary with the free assistance of an interpreter.

    5. In the settlement areas of persons belonging to ethnic groups they shall have the right to the use and equal status of their language in legislation, administration and judiciary, in particular within public collegial bodies and in communications such as official publications, general information, official signs as well as acts directed to the public sphere or intended for the public use.

    6. Persons belonging to ethnic groups shall have the right to use their own surnames and first names in their mother tongue (ethnic group language) and to have them officially recognised. This right shall also include the re-establishment of personal names in the form of their own language free of charge.

    7. In the settlement areas of persons belonging to ethnic groups they shall have the right to local names, signs, inscriptions and other similar public information in the mother tongue (ethnic group language). This does not deprive the authorities of their right to display the above-mentioned information in the official language or languages of the state; however, any arbitrary modification of traditional denominations in the mother tongue (ethnic group language) which hitherto have been used exclusively in original form in an ethnic group language shall be inadmissible.

Article 7

    1. Persons belonging to ethnic groups shall have the right to learn their mother tongue (ethnic group language) and to be instructed in it within the whole system of education including, besides the compulsory schooling, e.g. also the kindergartens, preschool education, secondary education, technical and vocational education, vocational continuing education, university and adult education.

    2. This right shall be guaranteed through an appropriate number of state schools and other educational establishments, located in accordance with the geographical distribution of the persons belonging to an ethnic group.

    3. Whenever outside the settlement areas of persons belonging to ethnic groups the minimum number of pupils required to build a class is not achieved in schools reasonably near, the pupils in question shall be in any case entitled to learn their mother tongue (ethnic group language).

    4. For sectors outside the existing compulsory school system such as kindergartens, preschool education, secondary education, technical and vocational education, vocational continuing education, university and adult education, appropriate institutions guaranteeing the instruction in the mother tongue (ethnic group language) shall be established and diplomas issued abroad for courses completed in the mother tongue (ethnic group language) or in the nearest related language shall be recognised. If such institutions should not be demanded by a sufficient number of persons belonging to ethnic groups, the diplomas issued abroad for courses completed in their language or in the nearest language shall be recognised.

    5. Persons belonging to ethnic groups shall have the right to set up and manage their own schools, educational and training establishments within the framework of the legal education system.

    6. To enjoy the right of education, persons belonging to ethnic groups shall at least be entitled at all levels and for all types of education, to a share in public grants proportionate to their share in the total population; this shall apply also for education abroad in the mother tongue (ethnic group language) or in the nearest related language.

    7. Schooling of and in the mother tongue (ethnic group language) shall be in principle provided by teachers for whom the respective language is also their mother tongue. For educational systems based on joint teaching for persons belonging to ethnic groups and those of the majority population, special rules shall be provided taking into account in an appropriate manner the interests of persons belonging to ethnic groups.

    8. In the case of minority schools the persons belonging to ethnic groups, within the framework of the general principles of national school legislation, shall have the right to:

      (a) co-determination in the establishment of curricula, the appointment of teachers and the supervision of schools;

      (b) adapt school subjects to their particular needs;

      (c) instruction also of their own history and culture.

    9. State parties shall be responsible for the financing of the educational system of persons belonging to ethnic groups. The state parties shall guarantee that pupils belonging to ethnic groups who wish to attend private schools, may do so. Such private schools shall be promoted or financed by the state party at least to the same extent as private schools in general are promoted or financed by that state.

    10. The state parties shall guarantee that persons belonging to ethnic groups shall be taught the national language within the compulsory schooling system.

    11. In areas in which ethnic groups are settled, persons belonging to the majority population shall be guaranteed to be taught the language of the ethnic group as well as their history and culture.

Article 10

    1. Persons belonging to ethnic groups shall have the right to disseminate and exchange information through print and audio-visual media in their mother tongue (ethnic group language); they shall have likewise the right to have access to such information within and across national frontiers.

    2. In particular, they shall have the right to equal access to the state's or to other public mass media, as well as the right to their own means of communication and adequate public subsidies for this purpose.

    3. The right of information shall include the freedom to receive television and radio programmes broadcast from foreign countries in which the same mother tongue is spoken.

Article 11

    4. In the settlement areas of persons belonging to ethnic groups, institutional multilingualism shall be compulsory in all public institutions or institutions intended for public purposes.


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