MINELRES: AC FCNM: Publication of the first cycle opinion on The Netherlands

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Wed Feb 24 19:01:02 2010

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


The Netherlands: publication of the first cycle opinion

The 1st Opinion of the Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the
Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) on
the Netherlands has been made public at the same time as the government
comments. The Advisory Committee adopted this Opinion in June 2009
following a country visit in February 2009.

Summary of the Opinion: 

"Following the receipt of the initial State Report of the Netherlands on
16 July 2008 (due on 1st June 2006), the Advisory Committee commenced
the examination of the State Report at its 33rd meeting on 6-8 October
2008. In the context of this examination, a delegation of the Advisory
Committee visited the Netherlands from 25 to 27 February 2009, in order
to seek further information on the implementation of the Framework
Convention from representatives of the Government as well as from NGOs
and other independent sources. The Advisory Committee adopted its
Opinion on the Netherlands at its 35th meeting on 25 June 2009.

The Advisory Committee considers that the Netherlands has made
commendable efforts with respect to the implementation of the Framework
Convention with regard to the Frisians living in Fryslan. Measures have
been taken to facilitate the use of Frisian in relations with the
administration and the judiciary, teaching of Frisian is available in
primary and secondary schools and instruction in Frisian is slightly
increasing. Further efforts are however needed in terms of teacher
training, supervision of Frisian teaching and the amount of teaching in
Frisian needs to be further discussed with Frisian representatives in
order to adequately meet their demands. A possible devolution of powers
from the central to the local authorities is currently being discussed
and it is expected that reforms in this area will result in enhancing
the preservation and development of Frisian language and culture.

The Advisory Committee finds that the personal scope of application of
the Framework Convention which is presently limited to the Frisians, has
not been satisfactorily addressed by the authorities. The Roma and
Sinti, many of whom have long ties with the Netherlands have been
excluded from the protection of the Framework Convention. In addition,
they have been left out from any institutionalised and direct dialogue
with the national authorities and measures to address their
socio-economic and educational situation have not been adopted at
national level.

The Advisory Committee welcomes the comprehensive legal and
institutional measures taken by the Dutch authorities both at national
and local levels to combat discrimination. At the same time, it
considers that the overall tone of the public discourse in the
Netherlands and the new integration policy, with its particular focus on
the preservation of the Dutch identity, have had negative consequences
on the preservation of a climate of mutual understanding between the
majority population and the ethnic minorities."


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