MINELRES: Newsletter: Minority Rights Information System (MIRIS)

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Tue May 4 16:16:21 2004

Original sender: MIRIS <miris@eurac.edu> 

Newsletter: Minority Rights Information System (MIRIS) 
Dear Colleagues and friends, 
This is the fourth MIRIS-newsletter which contains some of the most
relevant documents that have been stored recently in the Minority Rights
Information System (MIRIS). Please, open the attached file and click on
the blue titles of the documents in order to see the full text.

At the moment, almost 3 500 documents on national minorities, from 35
European countries, are stored in MIRIS and can be easily accessed on
the website: http://www.eurac.edu/miris

The use of the database is free of charge. 
Any comments and suggestions from your side are very welcome! In order
to subscribe to the MIRIS newsletter, please send an email with the
subject "subscribe" to miris@eurac.edu

The MIRIS Team 
About MIRIS: 
The MIRIS System has been developed by the European Academy of Bolzano
The aim of the database is to promote the development of minority rights
standards by providing easily accessible information about the
implementation of minority rights for not only experts, public
officials, NGO's and minority representatives but also interested
researchers and students. 

The MIRIS database includes the most important legal texts relating to
the rights of national minorities by concentrating upon relevant
national legislation and case-law. So as to obtain a more impartial
insight into the relevant issues, such texts have been put together by
reports compiled not only by minority groups but also through opinions
of experts, e.g. the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention. In
addition to this, specific documents on minority groups (covering, for
example statistical data and history) as well as relevant international
treaties and agreements of the UN, Council of Europe and the OSCE are
available for examination. The evaluation of the situation of minority
groups is supported by further texts that are to include case studies,
comments and in depth analyses. 

The MIRIS System is bilingual with texts provided in both English and
the official language of the state concerned. Geographically, all member
States of the Council of Europe are included. 

The database system is easily accessible through any internet browser by
means of a user-friendly interface. So as to facilitate the user's
search, the database includes different user interaction modes, those of
browsing the document database and full text search.

Recently added documents to MIRIS (1st of May 2004) -

Law on protection against discrimination (entry into force on
01.01.2004) - English and Bulgarian 

This is the Bulgarian framework law against all forms of discrimination.
It refers to direct and indirect discrimination and to harassment,
provides for a shared burden of proof and for establishment of an
independent, specialized body on anti-discrimination. 

Bill on dual Czech-Slovak citizenship (23.09.2003) - Czech 

The law passed on 23 September 2003 affects some 23,000 former
Czechoslovak citizens of Czech origin who will be able to regain Czech
citizenship that was lost by opting for Slovak citizenship after the
1993 "velvet divorce" between the two countries 

Language Act (entry into force on 01.01.2004) - English 

The new Finnish Language Act ensures the constitutional right of every
person to use either Finnish or Swedish, before courts and other
authorities, provides the right of everyone to a fair trial and good
administration irrespective of language and secures the linguistic
rights of an individual person without him or her needing specifically
to refer to these rights. 

Act 125/2003 on Equal Treatment and the promotion of Equal Opportunities
(entry into force in January 2004) - Hungarian 

This is the new Hungarian Act on anti-discrimination, a comprehensive
law which was elaborated in order to overcome the shortcoming of the
situation existing before when different anti-discrimination provisions
were stipulated in various acts. The Act prohibits discrimination based
on gender, race, colour, nationality, national or ethnic affiliation,
mother tongue, religion etc. The Act refers to both direct and indirect
discrimination and to harassment and victimisation. The burden of proof
should be reverse or shared and positive action is allowed. A public
body under the guidance of the Government will monitor enforcement of
anti-discrimination provisions. 

Official Language Act (2003) - English and Irish Gaelic 

The law promote the use of Irish language for official purposes and it
provides for the use of both official languages of the State in
parliamentary proceedings, in acts of the Oireachtas, in the
administration of justice, in communicating with or providing services
to the public and in carrying out the work of public bodies. 

Law on Ombudsperson (10.09.2003) - English 

This key piece of legislation required by the Ohrid Framework Agreement
gives the Ombudsperson's office new powers, more autonomy and scope.
This important law is a key step forward since it greatly enhances the
principle domestic mechanism for protecting the rights of all persons in
the country. 

Law on combating extremist activity (28.03.2003) - English and Romanian 

The law prohibits discrimination based on religious affiliation, race,
nationality, ethnic origin, language, religion, sex, opinion, political
affiliation, property, or social origin but besides its declarative and
prolix character, it may be used against freedom of the media and the
freedom of expression and it is a very controversial legislative

Law on accountability for Human Rights violations (2003) - English 

The Law that was passed in June 2003 regulates types and aspects of
human rights violations as basis for investigation of accountability;
persons against whom proceedings for investigation of accountability for
human rights violations are instituted; principles and rules of
procedure for investigation of accountability for human rights
violations; composition, competence and proceeding of competent bodies,
and measures pronounced against persons found to have violated human
rights. It also established the Commission for investigating
accountability for human rights violations. 

Act 3/2003 of March 26th, on the legal system of the administration of
the Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands (2003) - English and

The law regulates the organisation and operation of the Administration
of the Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands, including issues
like use of Catalan language and non-discrimination based on sex,
language, race, religion, social condition, nationality, origin, or

Bosnia and Herzegovina submitted country's initial report pursuant to
the Framework Convention on February 20, 2004 - English 

Croatia submitted country's second report pursuant to the Framework
Convention on April 13, 2004 - English 

"Roma in Serbia", report prepared by Humanitarian Law Centre
(10.12.2003) - English 

"The Implementation of the Framework Convention of the Council of Europe
for the Protection of National Minorities in the Republic of Slovenia",
report prepared by Vera Klopcic (10.10.2003) - English 

"Compliance of the Russian Federation with the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination", report prepared by
the Human Rights NGOs - English 

European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance of the Council of
2004 Reports examining racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance
in Bulgaria, Slovakia, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway