MINELRES: Newsletter no. 13: Minority Rights Information System (MIRIS)

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sun Aug 5 09:06:06 2007

Original sender: Sergiu Constantin <Sergiu.Constantin@eurac.edu>

Dear colleagues and friends, 

This is the 13th MIRIS newsletter which contains some of the most
relevant documents that have been stored recently in the Minority Rights
Information System (MIRIS). Please, click on the titles of the documents
in order to see the full text either in English (when available) or in
the original language.

At the moment, almost 4500 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! 

The MIRIS Team


Selection of recently added documents in MIRIS (Newsletter no. 13 - July
2007) - www.eurac.edu/miris 


Law of Armenia on human rights defender - October 2003 - in English

The Law on Human Rights Defender was adopted by National Assembly of
Armenia on 19th of November, which has been amended later on several
times. Despites the fact that in the Law it was not stipulated any
special provision regarding to national minorities, but Paragraph,
Article 8 of the Law of Armenia on Human Rights Defender stipulates:
"Any individual regardless of his/her nationality, citizenship, place of
residence, sex, race, age, political and other views, and capabilities
can appeal to the Defender." The establishment of ombudsperson's
institute in Armenia is an effective means for the protection of
national minorities. 

ACT on National and Ethnic Minorities as well as Regional Language in
Poland - January 2005 - in English and Polish 

The Act on National and Ethnic Minorities as well as Regional Language
constitutes an act of complex character and for the first time regulates
issues relating exclusively to minorities. Above all, the Act contains
regulations aimed at the development and preservation of minority
national and ethnic identity, while it does not implicate any regulation
falling into the scope of the political rights of minorities. It
introduces definitions of national and ethnic minority (as well as of
regional language) and enumerates the minorities fulfilling the provided
criteria. It defines main terms, specifies the tasks and competences of
the public authorities responsible for minority issues, as well as the
methods of implementation of rights. 

Governmental Ordinance no 11/2006 on prevention and fight against
violence in sport (as amended and approved by Law no. 299/2006) -
January 2006 - In English and Romanian

According to the Ordinance it is forbidden to the organizers of sport
events and to the public to display emblems, placards, banners, flags
and other materials for visual advertising which incite to defamation of
the country, xenophobia, hate based on ethnic, racial, religious or
social status ground, any kind of discriminations and violence. 

Law on Churches and Religious Communities - June 2006 - in Serbian 

Serbian Law on Churches and Religious Communities appears to be
inconsistent with standards set by the Venice Commission, in particular
the European Convention on Human Rights, ratified by Serbia and
Montenegro in 2004. The Venice Commission recommended to restrict the
discretionary powers of the Minister of Religions, to make sure not to
restrict the general guarantees of religious freedom of non-registered
groups and to provide a more precise conception of the legal status of
canon laws and ecclesiastical decisions. 

Anti-Discrimination Law of Kosovo - February 2004 - in English

The Law, drafted with the assistance of the OSCE Mission, forbids direct
and indirect discrimination and also defines it in all of its forms -
harassment, victimization and segregation, amongst others. It addresses
discrimination in all major spheres of social life: employment,
education, social care, housing, personal security or access to public
life. Importantly, it refers to both public and private sectors. 


Review of constitutionality of the Law on the Family Patron-Saints Days
and Church Holidays of Republika Srpska - November 2006 - in English and

The BiH Constitutional Court ruled that Republika Srpska's (RS) law on
celebrations and national holidays violates constitutional principles.
According to the court, the law provides only for honoring Serb history,
traditions, customs and national identity, while jeopardizing the
interests of non-Serbs in RS. While Bosnian Serbs have a legitimate
right to defend their traditions and identity, the same right must be
granted to others. At the same time, the court ruled that laws on the
entity's coat-of-arms and flag were not unconstitutional.The BiH
Constitutional Court ruled that Republika Srpska's (RS) law on
celebrations and national holidays violates constitutional principles.
According to the court, the law provides only for honoring Serb history,
traditions, customs and national identity, while jeopardizing the
interests of non-Serbs in RS. While Bosnian Serbs have a legitimate
right to defend their traditions and identity, the same right must be
granted to others. At the same time, the court ruled that laws on the
entity's coat-of-arms and flag were not unconstitutional. 

Case of Cobzaru vs Romania - July 2007 - in English 

In this case concerning the beating of an ethnic Roma by police officers
while in custody the Court held that Romania is responsible for breaches
of the prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 3), the
right to an effective remedy (Article 13) and the prohibition of
discrimination (Article 14). 

Decision no. 92/2007 of the National Council Combating Discrimination
regarding offensive language used by Mr. Traian Basescu, the president
of Romania - May 2007 - in Romanian 

While shopping with his wife in a supermarket where camera where not
allowed, president Basescu was filmed with a mobile phone by a female
journalist. Apparently annoyed by the insistence of the journalist, he
asked her if she has nothing else to do using an offensive word
(?chick?) and the he simply took her mobile. The phone was not switched
off immediately so it recorded the president saying to his wife "How
aggressive was this filthy gypsy!? The next day the phone was returned
to the journalist and his words became public. The National Council
Combating Discrimination decided that using the word ?chick? was not
gender discrimination although "the language used is not appropriate and
sends negative messages in public space, taking into account the high
official position of Traian Basescu." Regarding the expression "filthy
gypsy", National Council Combating Discrimination decided that it
represents discrimination against Roma minority and sanctioned president
Basescu with a warning. 

Decision of National Council of Audiovisual no. 81/2006 regarding the
fining with 10 000 RON of S.C. ABC PLUS MEDIA - February 2006 - in

National Council of Audiovisual decided that the television channel
National TV had breached the legal provisions on anti-discrimination
because of discriminatory remarks and messages regarding Hungarian
minority displayed during a political talk show. 



Minorities Under Siege: Hate Crimes and Intolerance in the Russian
Federation - June 2006 - in English 

An exhaustive overview of the situation of human rights violations in
Russia. Although there are no official statistical data, a leading
Russian nongovernmental monitor of hate crimes documented 31 racist
murders in 2005 and hate-based attacks on 413 individuals, while
estimating that the real number of violent attacks is far higher. Those
who are vulnerable to hate crimes include both foreigners and Russia
nationals with a non-Slavic appearance. Non-Slavic people from the
Russian Federation?s republics in the Caucasus who are Russian citizens
are as much targets of racist violence as are recent immigrants from the
now independent republics of the former Soviet Union. In the first few
months of 2006, dozens of attacks were carried out against a wide range
of Russian nationals and immigrants, with people from the Caucasus and
Central Asia, Roma, Jews, gays and lesbians, and foreign students from
around the world killed or injured. 

Need for firm leadership in human rights - 2007 - in English 

Turkey officially started negotiations on EU membership on 3 October
2005. The decision by the EU to start these negotiations signaled that
it accepted that legal amendments in the field of human rights and
fundamental freedoms made by Turkey did fulfill the 1993 Copenhagen
criteria.1 Recent developments, however, with increased violence in
particular in the southeast part of the country, killings and renewed
police and security brutality raises questions whether the human rights
gains originating from the EU initiated reform process are about to be
lost. The report prepared by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee based on
input of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, a long-time cooperating
partner with the Norwegian Helsinki Committee dealing with treatment of
torture victims, documentation of human rights violations, and
educational activities. 

Report on Racism, Xenophobia, Anti-Semitism and Ethnic Discrimination in
Serbia - June 2006 - in English 

The rise of extremism in Europe and in other parts of the world is
looked upon by international and European organizations and institutions
as a substantial challenge to the culture of democracy and respect for
human rights. The report covers information concerning the Serbian
Orthodox Church and the Young Serb Right, Anti-Semitism, hate speech,
attacks on human rights defenders etc in Serbia. 

Second Report of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia on the
Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of national
minorities - June 2006 - in English and Macedonian 

The report was prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affaires in
cooperation with the competent agencies and it was submitted to the NGOs
for comments and opinions. It is a report which is containing full
information on legislative and other measures taken to give effect to
the principles of the Framework Convention. 


Resolution ResCMN(2007)5 on the implementation of the Framework
Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by Armenia -
February 2007 - in English and Armenian 

Positive developments are mentioned in the regards of the following:
establishment of the Human Rights Defender?s Office, Department for
Ethnic Minorities and Religious Issues was set up in the government in
2004, which is preparing a draft law ?on the Republic of Armenia
citizens of non-Armenian ethnicity and ethnic minorities?. The legal
basis for the use of minority languages in dealings with the
administrative authorities was improved in 2004. As main issues of
concern are mentioned financial difficulties, insufficient availability
of qualified teachers and textbooks for education in minority languages.
In general, as it is stated in the Resolution: ?A general climate of
tolerance continues to prevail in Armenia.? 

Venice Commission
Opinion on the Constitutional Law on the Rights of national minorities
in Croatia - March 2003 - in English 

In December 2002, Croatia adopted the Constitutional Law on the Rights
of National Minorities. It guarantees minority representation in
parliament as well as in judicial and administrative bodies and gives
minorities of a certain size the right to education in their mother
tongue. The Venice Commission welcomes the fact that the final text of
the Constitutional Law represents a significant improvement as compared
to earlier drafts. But the Commission regrets that a certain number of
issues still require further clarification. 


Romani children in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia
False starts: The exclusion of Romani children from primary education in
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia - November 2006 - in

This report highlights the lack of access of Romani children to primary
education in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia. The
authorities in these states have failed to respect and protect the right
to education and they also have not fulfilled the right to education of
Romani children by promoting their full inclusion in education. 


Sarajevo Declaration for Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and
Montenegro - January 2005 - in English 

The declaration confirms the commitment of the three countries to create
adequate conditions to enable refugee return in the region and to
support refugees who choose to stay in their host

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