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Resolution CM/ResCMN(2016)15 on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by Estonia

Publisher Council of Europe: Committee of Ministers
Publication Date 26 October 2016
Citation / Document Symbol CM/ResCMN(2016)15
Other Languages / Attachments French
Cite as Council of Europe: Committee of Ministers, Resolution CM/ResCMN(2016)15 on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by Estonia, 26 October 2016, CM/ResCMN(2016)15, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/58355a5b4.html [accessed 21 November 2017]
Comments (Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 26 October 2016 at the 1269th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)
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The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Articles 24 to 26 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (hereinafter referred to as "the Framework Convention"),

Having regard to Resolution a href="https://search.coe.int/cm/Pages/result_details.aspx?Reference=Res(97)10" title="Rules adopted by the Committee of Ministers on the Monitoring arrangements under Articles 24 to 26 of the Framework Convention for the protection of national minorities (Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 17 September 1997, at the 601st meeting of t">Res(97)10 of 17 September 1997 setting out rules adopted by the Committee of Ministers on the monitoring arrangements under Articles 24 to 26 of the Framework Convention;

Having regard to the voting rule adopted in the context of adopting Resolution Res(97)10;[1]

Having regard to the instrument of ratification submitted by Estonia on 6 January 1997;

Recalling that the Government of Estonia transmitted its State report in respect of the fourth monitoring cycle under the Framework Convention on 2 May 2014;

Having examined the Advisory Committee's fourth opinion adopted on 19 March 2015;

Having also taken note of comments by the Government of Estonia and other governments,

Adopts the following conclusions in respect of Estonia:

The authorities are invited to take account of the observations and recommendations contained in sections I and II of the Advisory Committee's fourth opinion. In particular, they should take the following measures to improve further the implementation of the Framework Convention:

Recommendations for immediate action:

- continue with efforts to further reduce the number of persons without citizenship by facilitating access to citizenship for long-term residents;

- increase efforts to ensure that the Language Act is implemented in a flexible way, taking into account the linguistic rights of persons belonging to national minorities; refrain from imposing fines on employers for violation of the Language Act, and replace the penalising approach with a policy of positive incentives;

- ensure that persons belonging to national minorities, in areas where they reside traditionally or in substantial numbers, have the effective possibility to use their minority language in relations with local authorities, in writing and orally; review the conditions required for the display of traditional local names, street names and other topographical indications intended for the public in minority languages, alongside Estonian, in areas where persons belonging to national minorities reside traditionally or in substantial numbers;

- monitor the implementation of the requirement of teaching of 60 per cent of the study workload in Estonian in Russian-language secondary schools and, with a view to introducing the required flexibility into the system, ensure that the range of subjects taught in minority language schools, in particular the vocational ones, generally is not undermined by a lack of qualified teachers capable of teaching specialist subjects in Estonian.

Further recommendations:

- facilitate the process of the establishment of Cultural Councils by all the relevant minority groups, in particular the Russian minority, and proceed with the review of the existing legislation with a view to covering all relevant groups;

- establish a data collection system which would record the number of racist or ethnically motivated crimes and incidences of hate speech; reconsider existing limitations in the Penal Code on investigations in cases of incitement to hatred on various grounds;

- monitor, in consultation with all interested stakeholders, the implementation of the development strategy "Integrating Estonia 2020"; continue to involve national minority representatives in the formulation and/or prioritisation of policies under the implementation plan of the strategy;

- enhance efforts to promote access to employment of persons belonging to national minorities through broader measures, beyond language training, and ensure that particularly affected regions receive targeted support to address the specific effects of the economic crisis on their local economy.

[1] In the context of adopting Resolution Res(97)10 on 17 September 1997, the Committee of Ministers also adopted the following rule: "Decisions pursuant to Articles 24.1 and 25.2 of the Framework Convention shall be considered to be adopted if two-thirds of the representatives of the Contracting Parties casting a vote, including a majority of the representatives of the Contracting Parties entitled to sit on the Committee of Ministers, vote in favour".

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