MINELRES: CoE: FCNM Advisory Committee visits Lithuania and Switzerland

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Tue Nov 20 16:35:57 2007


Original sender: Nicola Markes-Goerlach <Nicola.Markes-Goerlach@coe.int>


THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON THE FRAMEWORK CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION 
OF NATIONAL MINORITIES VISITS LITHUANIA

STRASBOURG 19.11.2007 A delegation of the Advisory Committee on the
Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National
Minorities is visiting Lithuania from 19 to 22 November 2007. This is
the Advisory Committee’s second visit to this country. Its aim is to
facilitate the monitoring of the implementation of this treaty in
Lithuania by the Advisory Committee.

Issues relating to the effective participation of persons belonging to
national minorities in public affairs and socio-economic life will be
raised. In this respect, integration of disadvantaged groups into
society and relevant programmes in the field of employment, housing,
health and education will be discussed. The delegation will also examine
the issues relating to education in/of minority languages in schools and
the use of minority languages in contacts with administrative
authorities. The legislative framework pertaining to the protection of
national minorities will be considered by the delegation as well. The
delegation will also visit localities inhabited by persons belonging to
national minorities – Nemencine and Kirtimai.

The delegation is to hold meetings in Vilnius with representatives of
the relevant ministries, members of Parliament and representatives of
other bodies/departments, such as the State Commission for the
Lithuanian language. Meetings with the Office of the Equal Opportunities
Ombudsperson and the Parliament Ombudsperson will be organised. The
delegation will also meet the Council of National Communities
representing the various national minorities living in Lithuania.
Minority non-governmental associations as well as general Human Rights
NGOs will be met by the delegation.

The delegation consists of two Advisory Committee members: Mr Alan
PHILLIPS (President of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of the
United Kingdom) and Mr Ferenc HAJOS (member of the Advisory Committee
elected in respect of Slovenia), who are accompanied by Ms
Artemiza-Tatiana CHISCA and Ms Eva KONECNA from Secretariat of the
Council of Europe.

Note: Lithuania submitted its second State Report in November 2006.
Following its visit, the Advisory Committee will adopt its own report
(called Opinion) in early 2008, which will be sent to the Lithuanian
Government for their comments. The Committee of Ministers of the Council
of Europe will then adopt conclusions and recommendations in respect of
Lithuania.
--------------------

THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON THE FRAMEWORK CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION 
OF NATIONAL MINORITIES VISITS SWITZERLAND

STRASBOURG 19.11.2007 A delegation of the Advisory Committee on the
Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National
Minorities is visiting Switzerland (Bern – Buech – Fribourg) this week
from 19-21 November 2007. This visit is the second one in this country
after that of 2002 and will facilitate the monitoring of the
implementation of this treaty in Switzerland by the Advisory Committee.

The delegation will mainly discuss the legal and factual position of the
linguistic minorities, including in the trilingual Canton of Graubunden
and in the bilingual Cantons of Bern, Fribourg and Wallis. The situation
of the Jewish community and of the Travellers will also be addressed,
bearing in mind that both groups can rely on the protection offered by
the Framework Convention. The visit will entail a special focus on the
situation of the Travellers and the current situation in respect of
transit sites and stopping places, with an on-the-spot visit of to the
stopping place in Buech near Bern and an ensuing roundtable discussion
in Fribourg on the same topic.

The delegation is to hold meetings in Bern with representatives of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, members of Parliament and representatives
of various offices from the federal administration. The delegation is
also due to meet with several non-governmental associations representing
minorities and/or promoting their language and culture, as well as
general Human Rights NGOs. A session will be devoted to the linguistic
situation and main issues faced by the multilingual Cantons, with
representatives of the authorities and civil society. A decentralised
roundtable will be held in Fribourg to discuss the situation of the
Travellers in this canton, in the presence of the Prefect of the Sarine
District and representatives from different municipalities.

The delegation consists of three experts, that is Ms Regina Tavares Da
Silva (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of Portugal),
Mr Ivan Garvalov (member of the Advisory Committee elected in respect of
Bulgaria) and Mr Dalibor Jilek (member of the Advisory Committee elected
in respect of the Czech Republic), who are accompanied by Mr Alain
Chablais (Secretariat).

Note: Switzerland submitted its second state report in January 2007.
Following its visit, the Advisory Committee will adopt its own report
(called Opinion) in early 2008, which will be sent to the Swiss
Government for comments. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of
Europe will then adopt conclusions and recommendations in respect of
Switzerland.

Contact: Secretariat of the Framework Convention for the Protection of
National Minorities, 
Strasbourg (France), 
www.coe.int/minorities, 
tel +33 (0)3 90 21 44 33.

-------------------------------
Nicola Markes-Goerlach
Council of Europe
Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs
Secretariat of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National
Minorities
F-67075
Strasbourg-Cedex

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