Recommendations of IPMR to the Outcome Document of the 12th Session of the Forum on Minority Issues
In May 2019 our Institute participated in the first ever European Regional Forum on Minority Issues, organised by the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues of the UN. The thematic recommendations of this Forum have been discussed at Geneva, after which they will feed in a set of UN guidelines on Education, Language and the Human Rights of Minorities. Given that a considerable amount of the cases of IPMR pertain to the violation of linguistic rights, or discrimination based on the use of minority languages, we found it important to joint this international effort of improving the human rights of minorities in this field.
The core idea of our recommendations revolve around the need to depoliticise education policies and to build these on scientifically substantiated evidence, as opposed to have a political agenda behind them. In summary, “depoliticisation of linguistic issues not only helps to implement the fundamental rights of minorities in education, but also contributes to strengthen social cohesion within multilinguistic societies by offering practical guidance, and scientifically substantiated methodology for building education systems that enable members of minorities to adequately learn the state language, while at the same time preserve their own minority cultures.”
Minority Protection is the scientific journal of the Institute for the Protection of Minority Rights (IPMR). It is devoted to publishing articles dealing with contemporary issues pertaining to traditional national minorities of Europe. While the content of the journal focuses on legal studies, it intends to maintain an interdisciplinary orientation, encouraging authors to submit papers in the fields of political science, sociology, history, as well as cultural studies. It aims to stimulate the scientific dialogue on and the exchange between scholars engaged in issues regarding the traditional national communities of Europe.
The journal has a double-blind peer review system, and publishes at least two issues annually in both Hungarian and English languages in print and online. The journal is published open access, and is available online on the homepage of IPMR (www.kji.hu) for all students, scientists, experts, practitioners and researchers who are interested in this field.
The editorial board is composed of university professors, and policy practitioners who are affiliated with seven different universities or institutions from five different countries (Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine).
The editors highly encourage younger scholars to get in touch with the editorial team, and seek guidance in the process of preparing a manuscript prior to submitting contributions, or to discuss a publication idea to see how well it would fit within the journal.
Articles can be submitted at any time throughout the year. If you submit a work that does not fit within the current theme, the editors will keep your article on file to consider its publication at a later stage. Please note that the editors may randomly choose to submit studies for anti-plagiarism check.
Author(s) will be entitled to two copies of the printed journal free of charge.
Papers for consideration should be sent via e-mail to the editor-in-chief of Minority Protection, Dr. Dabis Attila: firstname.lastname@example.org.
EUROPEAN FORUM ON MINORITY ISSUES 06-07. 05. 2019.
INTERVENTION OF THE INSTITUTE FOR THE PROTECTION OF MINORITY RIGHTS
The Institute for the Protection of Minority Rights is based in Budapest and was founded in 2012 with the aim of supporting individuals and organizations providing legal aid to members of Hungarian minority communities when their human- and minority rights have b een violated.
Our institute considers, that the rights of minorities, including those on the use of their mother tongue in education, are indeed fundamental human rightsthat must be respected everywhere. State practices, however, show that in many cases the respect for these rights is absent. While some countries adopt legislation that manifestly target education in minority languages, others fail on purpose to implement existing legislation or international treaties that promote and safeguard such education.
In recent years we have seen a growing number of backlashes, eroding minority protection standards both globally, as well as regionally in Europe. This phenomenon underlines the importance of international organisations, and their specific mechanisms aimed at improving respect for and implementation of minority rights. The involvement of international organisations in general, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues in particular, helps to facilitate dialogue between parties of minority rightsrelated disputes. Such active engagement could contribute to de-politicize these debates, the importance of which rests on two main pillars:
I) Firstly, education in and the use of minority languages are human rights
that are firmly entrenched within international legal norms, and as such,
they should not be subject to divisive political action.
II) Secondly, scientific literature regarding effective methods on education in
minority languages is abundant. Political actors should use the findings of
such literature as guidelines in shaping public policy decisions on the
education of minority languages, thus also contributing to a better
integration of minority citizens into their respective societies. “Bad
education strategies can violate human rights as much as good strategies enhance
rights and freedoms”.1
While the politicisation of some neuralgic issues pertaining to the use and education of minority languages can cause lasting political conflict between linguistic-groups, the same question might be more easily resolved if viewed as an education-policy matter. De-politicisation of linguistic issues not only helps to implement the fundamental rights of minorities in this field, but also contributes to strengthen social cohesion within multi-linguistic polities by offering practical guidance, and scientifically substantiated methodology for building education systems that enable members of minorities to adequately learn the state language, while at the same time preserve their own minority cultures.
Consequently, we think that the guidelines that will be developed by the experts of this Forum, should put emphasis on the need for having evidence-based policy practices regarding minority education on the national level. The guidelines could foster such and evidence-based approach by elaborating a comprehensive list of scientific literature that is recommended as sources of inspiration for states in drawing up education systems that are favourable with respect to education in minority languages. Given that in some issues even scientist might have diverging opinions, it would also be useful if these guidelines would identify those findings within this literature that enjoy overarching scientific consensus. Such reflections could serve as a point of reference for national- and international stakeholders in de-politicizing minority-related disputes.
DABIS Attila Ph.D.
Institute for the Protection of Minority Rights
1 Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: United Nations Forum on Minority
Issues – Compilation of Recommendations of the First Four Sessions 2008 to 2011. Geneva:
OHCHR publication, para. 04.
2 April 2019
Session on the Szekler autonomy movement in Romania
In the framework of the seminar “The Quest for Self-Determination: from Catalonia to Switzerland”, the Institute of Geography of the University of Bern in cooperation with the Institute for the Protection of Minority Rights (KJI) in Budapest invites to a session on the Szekler autonomy movement in Romania. Dr. Attila Dabis, Foreign Affairs Commissioner of the Szekler National Council (SZNT) will be our guest. The SZNT is an influential civil society organization that claims territorial autonomy for the Szeklerland in Romania. The Szeklerland is a region in Transylvania/Romania where the Hungarian Szekler population is a majority, whereas in Romania it is a minority. We will discuss with Attila Dabis the domestic and international challenges of the Szekler autonomy movement and of minorities in Europe more generally that are striving for (more) self-determination.
Time: 15:15 – 16:45 (18:00)
Location: University of Bern, Room F-105, Unitobler, Lerchenweg 36, 3012 Bern
Contact: Dr. Béla Filep, Institute of Geography, email@example.com
|15:15-15:30||The Szekler autonomy movement
Input by students of the Institute of Geography, University of Bern
|15:30-16:45||Discussion with Dr. Attila Dabis Foreign Affairs Commissioner, Szekler National Council; International Coordinator, Institute for the Protection of Minority Rights (KJI)|
|17:00-18:00||Student workshop on the Szekler autonomy movement|
Dr. Attila Dabis is a political scientist and the Foreign Affairs Commissioner of the Szekler National Council (SZNT). In this capacity, his main task is to establish and maintain relations with political and cultural organizations of other national communities in Europe. In addition, he works to inform various international organizations such as the UN or the Council of Europe on Romania’s conduct towards implementing international obligations on minority protection. Dabis also serves as the International Coordinator of the Institute for the Protection of Minority Rights (KJI) in Budapest. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the Corvinus University of Budapest. The dissertation was titled “Misbeliefs about Autonomy – The Constitutionality of the Autonomy of Szeklerland”. His research revolves around European regionalism, self-determination issues, the functioning of autonomies, as well as minority rights and conflicts.
“Statement of Mr. DABIS Attila, delivered at the 9th session of the Forum on Minority Issues on “Minorities in situations of humanitarian crises”, on behalf of the Institute for the Protection of Minority Rights”