Advisory Committee of the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities to visit Switzerland

Press release, 05.03.2018

A delegation of experts from the Council of Europe will visit Switzerland from 5 to 8 March 2018 to receive information on implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The meetings and various visits in the country will focus in particular on the situation of groups within the Swiss population recognised under the Framework Convention as national minorities, namely the national linguistic minorities, the Yenish, Sinti and Manouche people, and the Jewish community.

The delegation will take part in meetings with representatives of the Federal Administration and cantonal and communal authorities, and with federal parliamentarians. It will also meet several associations representing the interests of the different recognised national minorities and other minority groups, and with NGOs working in this area.

It will travel to the canton of Graubünden to hold talks with the cantonal authorities and umbrella organisations promoting the Romansh and Italian languages and cultures. Together with representatives of the federal Foundation established to secure the future of the Swiss traveller communities, the experts will visit a transit area used by travellers from abroad and one inhabited by Swiss Yenish, Sinti and Manouche communities. A meeting will also be held in Bern with representatives of associations that defend the interests of the Swiss Jewish community. In addition, the experts will meet groups that are not recognised as national minorities under the Framework Convention including the Swiss Roma and leaders of the Muslims to discuss questions regarding integration and dialogue.

Following the visit, the Council of Europe committee of experts will adopt, by summer 2018, an opinion on Switzerland’s implementation of the Framework Convention. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will then adopt the conclusions and recommendations with regard to Switzerland, taking into consideration the observations submitted by Switzerland.  Such visits by experts from the Council of Europe to verify the application of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities take place at regular five-year intervals in all countries that have ratified the instrument. This is its fourth visit to Switzerland. Switzerland ratified the Framework Convention in October 1998. It entered into force on 1 February 1999.

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