Draft Protocol to the International Convention on the Protection of National or Ethnic Minorities or Groups, Applicable to the States Members of the Council of Europe
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. 135-143.
The scope and extent of the competences to be attributed to organs of territorial autonomy shall be fixed by law in accordance with the legitimate representatives of the ethnic group. The autonomous organs shall be granted at least comprehensive competences of a cultural nature (cultural autonomy) as well as rights of decision in questions of basic social and economic policy.
The scope and extent of competences which are attributed to the organs of an autonomous corporate entity shall be fixed by law and in accordance with the legitimate representatives of the ethnic group. The law must prescribe the internal structure of the entity and shall envisage the cultural development and the respect for linguistic rights of the ethnic group.
In ethnic regions vested with territorial autonomy, the ethnic group's language is the official language of the administration - including mail service, railway service, public hospitals, supply institutions and public social assurances - and in courts of justice )in higher instances only if a party to a lawsuit has residence in the autonomous region; in case of juridical persons, if it has its seat in the autonomous region). The language used for internal purposes by the administration and the courts of justice shall be the language of the ethnic group in cases where the administrative organs and tribunals are competent for single communes or are established on the commune level (including organs of arbitration).
The ethnic group's language shall be the official language if in an autonomous corporate entity within a commune (including parts of the commune or factions of a commune equipped with independent sub-organs of the commune) at least 20 %, in administrative and judicial districts at least 6 %, or in larger administrative entities at least 5 % of the residing population use the language of the ethnic group.
In ethnic groups region vested with territorial autonomy, topographic inscriptions shall be in the language of the ethnic group. In territories vested with corporate autonomy, topographic inscriptions shall be bilingual but in any case equal to the official language with regard to type, size and arrangement of the written text. In both cases printed forms must also be available in the language of the ethnic or linguistic minority. Topographic inscriptions include all sign boards, the inscriptions and designations of offices, schools, railway stations, post offices, police stations, public hospitals, social assurances and inscriptions in public maps. On traffic sign boards the names of domestic communes located in an other language area are to appear only in the language of the other area.
The respective standard language is considered as "language of the ethnic group". The use of a dialect may be permitted orally in dealings with public offices, if all parties immediately concerned have a command of that dialect.
Kindergartens and preschool institutions are to be established for all children of members of ethnic groups requiring a preschool education provided that a sufficient number of children have applied for it. A decision as to the existence of these conditions shall be made in a generous and accommodating manner. The language of instruction and care of the children shall be the language of the ethnic group; Article 18 applies.
Ethnic groups are entitled to the establishment and maintenance of a sufficient number of elementary schools to be located in their area of settlement in compliance with compulsory education, and with the ethnic group's language as language of instruction. Linguistic minorities (groups of citizens, irrespective of any profession under Article 9, of a mother tongue other than that of the majority of the population of the state) have the same right for their hereditary linguistic regions. The official language is a compulsory subject of instruction for all elementary grades in so far as the autonomous authorities have so ordered. In elementary schools for linguistic minorities the official language is to be taught in any case.
Should parents or other persons responsible for children or pupils at higher educational institutions (including professional and/or other institutions of higher learning) wish, or should the ethnic group or an autonomous inspectorate of education (in case such an inspectorate is established - Article 25) so demand, such schools are to be instituted; school curricula shall provide for the language of the ethnic group as subject of instruction where a sufficient number of pupils have applied for it. A decision as to the existence of these conditions shall be made in a generous and accommodating manner.
Ethnic groups are entitled to the establishment of public universities or similar educational institutions whenever in the first semester a sufficient number of members of the ethnic group have applied for enrolment in each of the main curricula. A decision as to the existence of these conditions shall be made in a generous and accommodating manner.
On all levels of elementary and higher schools of the ethnic group or a linguistic minority it must be provided that the culture, the history, the social and economic structure of the ethnic group or the linguistic minority be a subject of the school curricula; the lessons are to be held in the language of the respective minority or group.
Ethnic groups are permitted autonomously to establish educational institutions and schools of the kind mentioned in Articles 19-22 in accordance to national legislation on education. In such cases the ethnic groups are responsible for the material and personnel expenditures of these institutions. If they are unable to meet the expenses, the state (or, if educational matters fall within the competence of parts of federal states, the relevant part of a federal state) is responsible for covering the costs.
Particular inspectorates of education shall be established for educational institutions and schools of ethnic groups and linguistic minorities. The civil servants of those entities must command the language of the ethnic group or of the linguistic minority as well as the official language.
If an ethnic group does not possess its own radio or television installations and cannot possess such installations due to a lack of financial means, the group has a right to adequate transmission time with the radio of public or publicly concessioned radio installations during suitable hours. A decision as to what has to be considered "adequate" and "suitable" shall be made in a generous and accommodating manner. Radio and television programmes intended for ethnic groups are to be prepared by members of the ethnic groups standing for the support of the preservation of the ethnic group. Ethnic groups may not be burdened with the costs of these programmes except for the usual broadcasting taxes. Should only private broadcasting corporations exist in the given state, that state (or part of a federal state) must provide the ethnic group with the means of arranging for programmes in their own language, composed by their own members in so far as they stand for the support of the preservation of the ethnic group. These provisions apply also to television services.
Members of ethnic groups (linguistic minorities) have the right to use their Christian and family names in the wording and style corresponding to the tradition of the ethnic group (linguistic minority). Official registers and documents are to be kept in the above mentioned language and are to be altered accordingly if so demanded. Special taxes may not be imposed for this service.
Access to all public offices and posts is to be granted to members of ethnic groups in the same manner as it is granted to members of the majority population. At all public offices whose competence comprises territories in which ethnic groups or parts of such groups in the sense of this Protocol reside, public servants must be appointed who belong to the relevant ethnic group and guarantee the support of the preservation of the ethnic group. The number of these public servants must correspond, within each type of service rank, to the percentage which is equal to that part of the ethnic group in relation to the whole population residing in this territory for which the relevant authority is competent. Public servants may only be entrusted with tasks which are of particular importance for the preservation and advancement of an ethnic group in case such public servants stand for the support of the preservation of the ethnic group.