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Draft of an International Convention on the Protection of National or Ethnic Groups or Minorities

Draft prepared by the Internationales Institut für Nationalitätenrecht und Regionalismus. Reprinted from Chaszar, Edward (1988), The International Problem of National Minorities, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, at pp. 121-134.

Article 3

    Every member of a national or ethnic group or minority has the right to use his own language or dialect in private, in all social, economic and similar relations, and in public, notwithstanding the legal position of his group or minority.

Article 7

    The state must not undertake, support or favour a policy of artificial or enforced assimilation.

Article 10

    Nobody may be denied the right to assimilate voluntarily with the majority of the population of the state of which he is a national.

Article 11

    2. A national or ethnic group or minority in the sense of the present Convention exists if a number of nationals of the given state, being in numerically inferior, non-dominant position, and possessing ethnic or linguistic characteristics differing from the rest of the population, show, if only implicitly, a sense of solidarity with a view towards preserving their culture, traditions, or language, and possessing also an adequate representation, asks for legal recognition as a national or ethnic group or minority.

Article 13

    2. The main kinds of protection on a national level are the following:
      (c) linguistic autonomy;

Article 16

    The types of self-determination mentioned in Article 14 (b) and (c) may also be granted if, in a given territory of the state, nationals reside possessing ethnic or linguistic characteristics differing from the rest of the population and showing if only implicitly, a sense of solidarity with a view towards preserving their culture, traditions, or language and also possessing an adequate representation, ask for such an arrangement.

Article 18

    A national or ethnic minority or group has the right to use a specific wireless and television channel - channels to be accorded in concordance with relevant international agreements - and to transmit any program in its own language at adequate times.

Article 19

    Cultural autonomy consists further in an educational system providing instruction on all educational levels in the language of the group. Every child belonging to the group has the right to this education, provided the persons responsible for his education are willing to make use of this right. The relevant curricula have to take into account the needs of the group as well as the principles enshrined in the state's Constitution. Diplomas and certificates issued by the educational institutions of the group shall have public recognition. The provisions of the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education of 1960 shall be applied respectively.

Article 20

    1. Linguistic autonomy consists in facilitating the use of the mother tongue before administrative and judicial authorities. If more than a certain percentage of the inhabitants of a certain judicial or administrative district - the percentage to be fixed by agreement between the competent state authorities and the representatives of the relevant minority or group - belong to one or more national or ethnic minority or group, their language has to be recognised as official languages. District may not be delimited in a way so as to prevent the realisation of this right. In cases of linguistic autonomy, topographic signs have to bear bi- or multilingual inscriptions.

    2. This linguistic autonomy should particularly be observed with regard to the rights of personal liberty, of fair trial and in all matters of social welfare.

    3. If necessary, state authorities shall consider the possibility of applying ethnic criteria with regard to the assignments of posts, especially in regions where the group language is recognised as the official language. In areas where the group resides, a percentage of the posts in the public service of the state, the provinces and communes - the percentage to be fixed by agreement between the competent state authorities and the representatives of the relevant minority or group - shall be made available to members of that minority or group.


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