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  • Author: Andrea Peinhopf
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: In this paper I explore the situation of ethnic minority women in Georgia, focusing on gender -based violence, economic empowerment and political participation. Importantly these are not distinct topics, but interrelated phenomena: domestic decision-making structures and violence are the main obstacles to increased female participation in the political and economic spheres. Conversely, women's second-rate role here has diminished their ability to become financially independent and publicly recognized, which could strengthen their domestic position. Over the past years the Georgian government has introduced several legal measures directed at alleviating some of the problems Georgian women encounter and strengthening their position in society, including the National Action Plan on Gender Equality (2011-2013), the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (2012-2015), as well as action plans on domestic violence (2011-2012), and trafficking in human beings (2011-2012). However, according to the UN Gender Thematic Group, consisting of domestic and international organizations with a gender focus, implementation of the national action plans has been uneven, with the National Action Plan on Gender Equality significantly lagging behind.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Human Rights, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Zora Popova
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: Dispersed all over the territory of the continent, Roma constitute the largest ethnic minority in Europe, which according to the estimates consists of 10-12 million people. Present in almost every country in Europe and sharing some similar cultural features, Roma are often referred to as 'transnational'. The heterogeneity of the group even within the different national states and the lack of structural ties among the communities at national and international levels, challenges the appropriateness of any generalization of issues and large scale approaches to addressing them. At the same time, Roma communities all over Europe share low social status and identical challenges to their integration in mainstream societies, which constitutes them as a transnational marginalised group.
  • Topic: Globalization, Human Rights, Regional Cooperation, Governance, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Romania
  • Author: Aidan McGarry, Annabel Tremlett
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: European institutions are now developing two new initiatives that are significant in their scope and outlook. First, a common 'EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies' is underway for 2020, aimed at creating a set of common policy aims and outcomes for all member states. This Framework is attempting to place the responsibility for Roma integration in the hands of member state governments, who have been hitherto unwilling or unable to address the socio-economic and political disadvantage of Roma. Second, the Council of Europe and the EU (in a joint action) have established a new; 'European Academic Network on Romani Studies' (2011-2013), recognizing the importance of quality research in understanding the complexities of such historically disadvantaged and heterogeneous communities. These initiatives provide the opportunity to draw on our experiences as researchers in this field and highlight the gaps in our knowledge along with methodological and theoretical caveats and challenges that still need to be addressed.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Socialism/Marxism, Governance, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Monica Andriescu, Sergiu Gherghina
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The processes of nation and state formation have been challenged in specific ways by the transitions in post-Communist Europe. The number of ethnic minorities, their territorial concentration and strength generated situations in which either state division was imminent (e.g. former Yugoslavia) or secession threats were latent. Many political actors transformed these situations into (personal or own group) advantages. Among the new democracies in which ethnicity could be considered a relevant societal division, Romania is an appealing case due to its developments over time. The violent clashes between the majority population and the Hungarian minority in 1990, in the aftermath of regime change, appeared to set the pace of the inter-ethnic relations after the regime change. In this context, the politicization of ethnicity to spawn national and ethnic solidarity in Romania was the logical consequence. How did this process influence the evolution of inter-ethnic relations in post-communist Romania?
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Romania
  • Author: Zora Popova
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education (EDC/HRE) was adopted in 2010 and signed by 47 member states. The endorsement of the Charter was recognized as a major achievement of almost 10 years of developing ideas and strategies, public and political debates, intensified discussions among institutions and stakeholders, international consultations, policy provisions and decision implementation.
  • Topic: Education, Human Rights, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Zora Popova
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: Voting is a fundamental democratic right that empowers people to exercise their civil control over the politics and politicians, over the different branches of power, over the development paths of their countries. Democratic electoral systems in Europe vary greatly. But the electoral systems alone, although contributing to the specific architectures of the national democracies, are not the only factors that determine the quality of the democracy in place. Focused on legislation, rules and procedures, policy analysts sometimes tend to look at voters as "beneficiaries" and not as the active subjects who in fact have the power to change the status quo or to contribute to deformities of the political system in place, by not exercising their political and civil rights.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, Governance, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Liefke Dolmans, Elisabeth Kühn
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: One of the founding principles of the European Union is the recognition that every individual is of equal value. On top of this, the 2000 Race Directive reaffirms the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin. Discrimination and inequality are nevertheless still major problems for vulnerable ethnic and national minorities in Europe, as the results of the most recent EU MIDI-survey describes. Bearing in mind the principle of equality, it is not surprising that two new equality concepts arrived at the Council of Europe and EU level in the last years: 'The new commitment to equality and non-discrimination' and 'full and effective equality.' In a communication Note from July 2008, the European Commission expressed its desire for this 'renewed commitment to non-discrimination and equal opportunity,' which proposes a shift from formal equality to a more substantive equality approach. In this paper, we will consider whether this statement is an exemplary expression of an assumed development in the EU, namely that of broadening and strengthening equality and non-discrimination legislation and, furthermore, whether a possible development from formal to substantive equality is also effectively taking place. We analysed whether this trend is only visible in the European Commission or also present within other players in the non-discrimination and equality field. We then sought to understand whether this trend is visible in theory as well as practice. This paper furthermore analyzes whether this trend enlarges the protection scope against discrimination for national minorities, or if this equality manifestation truly supports national minorities to be recognized as equals with the majority.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Eben Friedman
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The European Union's (EU) strategy for recovery from the economic crisis that began at the end of the first decade of the 2000s is organized around three priorities: smart growth, sustainable growth, and inclusive growth (European Commission 2010: 9). While the three types of growth are presented as mutually reinforcing, explicit attention to minorities in general and to Roma in particular comes only under the heading of inclusive growth, defined as "empowering people through high levels of employment, investing in skills, fighting poverty and modernising labour markets, training and social protection systems so as to help people anticipate and manage change, and build a cohesive society" (European Commission 2010: 17). As part of the "European Platform against Poverty" planned in the area of inclusive growth, the European Commission (EC) calls on Member States "[t]o define and implement measures addressing the specific circumstances of groups at particular risk (such as one-parentamilies, elderly women, minorities, Roma, people with a disability and the homeless" as a means of "rais[ing] awareness and recognis[ing] the fundamental rights of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion, enabling them to live in dignity and take an active part in society" (European Commission 2010: 19).
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Human Rights, Governance, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Tamara Jovanovic
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: This working paper explores the role of some recent components under the European Union legal and political aegis and its coexistence with the CoE, here approached as a potential advancement of the protection, promotion and preservation of national minority groups in European Union member states. Although the European Union has been slow in the development of clear competences on minority rights, several considerations pertinent to national minorities can be depicted across the European Union frameworks. The European Union treaty is committed to the safe guard of human rights and the respect for minorities in its 'values article' which are applicable under Community Action. This basis is further accompanied by other policy functions which stimulate action on the promotion and preservation of minority identities, in particular in the fields of language and culture. Such policies are prescribed in different degrees of European Union competences and modes of implementation, ranging between formal legal effects and informal political consequences, generating varied forms of Europeanization. At the same time, nearly all European Union member states are bound by additional transnational regulations on human and minority rights, such as those developed by the Council of Europe. This level of transnational human rights is gradually also becoming embodied into European Union structures, while already embodied by most European states' constitutions. By taking account of some developments under each process, their interaction, but also coexistence, this paper aims to identify how Europeanization and transnational forces can help to construct and sustain a policy field, namely a national minority policy.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Haileyesus Taye Chekole
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: Ethiopia is an ancient country with a rich diversity of peoples and cultures. Paleontological studies identify Ethiopia as one of the cradles of humankind. ―Dinknesh or ―Lucy, one of the earliest and most complete hominoids discovered through archaeological excavations, dates back to 3.5 million years (Milkias, 2010). Ethiopia‟s geographical and historical factors have had a great influence on the distribution of its peoples and languages. Ethiopia embraces a complex variety of nations, nationalities and peoples, and linguistic groups. Altogether, its peoples speak more than 80 different languages, comprising 12 Semitic, 22 Cushitic, 18 Omotic and 18 Nilo-Saharan languages (Central Statistic Report, 2007). This makes Ethiopia a mosaic of languages and culture. The country has always maintained its independence, even during the colonial era in Africa. Ethiopia‟s membership in multilateral governmental organizations started as a member of the defunct League of Nations. Ethiopia was one of the founding members of the United Nations and has been playing an active role in African affairs. It specifically played a pioneering role in the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). In fact, the capital city, Addis Ababa, has been a seat for the OAU since its establishment and continues serving as the seat for the African Union (AU) today.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations, Ethiopia
  • Author: Tove H. Malloy
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The international approach to unilateral legislation with extraterritorial reach is quite clear. General principles of customary international law entrust the state where national minorities reside with the task of securing the rights of all persons within its jurisdiction. Preferential treatment of national minorities by their kin-state is considered the exception unless it is established through bilateral treaties, or as a minimum agreed among the parties involved. The League of Nations system was the first European multilateral attempt to provide protection for minorities outside the mother state through bilateral treaties. After the collapse of the League of Nations system and the transfer of international protection of minorities to the United Nations system, bilateralism was not specifically promoted but nonetheless carried over as the main approach to kin-minority protection. This approach came under pressure after 1989 and the collapse of Communism when a number of countries adopted unilateral laws on kin-state minorities and compatriots living abroad. The bilateral approach received renewed attention, therefore, as part of the multilateral approach promoted by the international community after 1989.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Governance, Sanctions, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, United Nations
  • Author: Alexander Osipov
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the phenomenon of public fora which are designed to represent certain ethnic groups and are set up through popular vote. The academic and practical interest in such "congresses" results from the fact that over time it has been shown that these endeavors have: (1)proven to be viable and durable organization structures for about two decades; (2)secured flexibility in their establishment and functioning;(3) provided for mass participation in public discussions and voting; (4) avoided "identity trap" and most complexities related to setting qualifications and the selection of eligibility criteria for the participants; (5) been a bridge between minority activists and public authorities. At the same time, the real practical outcomes, the ability to act independently and visibility of the "congresses" on the political landscape are far from being obvious, and this raises questions about the reasons for such doubtful achievements and the very meaning of "representation" in such a context.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Abel Kirsch, Tarmo Tuisk, Mait Talts
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The Estonian National Report on Strategies for Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2006-2008 has been prepared within the framework of EU Open Method of Coordination and in accordance with updated aims and principles adopted by the Council of Europe in March 2006.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Estonia
  • Author: Michal VaÅ¡eèka
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The report of the Slovak team is divided into three parts. The first one describes social inclusion policies of Roma in Slovakia in general. The second evaluates inclusion policies of the National Action Plans on social inclusion by analyzing focus groups with experts, and the third one brings analysis of particular inclusion policies. The paper finally brings also rather theoretical input whether Roma have where to integrate and describes structural problems of social inclusion policies.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Slovakia
  • Author: Mitja Žagar, Miran Komac, Mojca Medvešek, Romana Bešter
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The main purpose of this report is to evaluate the cultural policies introduced in the Slovenian National Action Plan (NAP) on Social Inclusion (2004-2006) in terms of their impact on promoting social inclusion of ethnic minorities. Cultural policies are here understood in a broad sense of the word – encompassing all policies that pay regard to any aspect of culture, be it culture in the sense of creative artistic activities (theatres, music, etc.) or in the sense of specific cultural/ethnic identity of the target groups.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Slovenia
  • Author: Antoinette Heltzer, Marcus Persson, Elin Lundin
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The position of ethnic minorities, their integration and assimilation into the society where they exist, along with ethnic majorities, has been an area of conflict, an area of discrimination, and an area of social tension. This report examines a policy of inclusion working next to a policy to fight exclusion as Sweden tries to establish a dual program including “soft” measures within culture and “hard” measures within the structuraleconomic sphere to counteract poverty and abuse as a means to promoting inclusion in a multicultural society.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Sweden
  • Author: Tom Trier, Eleonora Sambasile
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: With resolution 1415 of January 2005, the Council of Europe encouraged Georgia to keep up with its commitments and obligations following the change of leadership with the 'Rose Revolution', inter alia, by recommending that the Georgian Parliament sign and/or ratify a number of pending European conventions, honouring the obligations made when Georgia joined the Council of Europe in 1999. In the resolution, the Council of Europe urges Georgia to: a. sign and ratify the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages and the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities, before September 2005; and to b. ratify the revised European Social Charter and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, also before September 2005.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe
  • Author: Christopher Decker, Roxana Ossain
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) and the Romanian Department of Inter-Ethnic Relations (DRI) organized the third event of the Improving Inter-Ethnic Relations through Enhanced Minority Governance Project on 16–17 March 2005 in Sinaia, Romania. The head and both deputy heads of the DRI attended the roundtable along with numerous members of the human rights/minority rights NGO community. Additionally, some members of national minority organizations attended. The fundamental purpose of the meeting was to provide civil society an opportunity to discuss the draft law with representatives of the Romanian Government and to offer suggestions to improve the draft. It was noted that this was the first time that civil society organizations national minorities have been able to have a forum to discuss a draft law before it was presented to parliament. This report seeks to provide an account of the discussions that took place during this meeting.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Europe, Romania
  • Author: Christopher Decker, Aidan McGarry
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: ECMI and the DRI organized the second event of the “Improving Inter-ethnic Relations through Enhanced Minority Governance” project on 17–19 March 2005 in Sinaia, Romania. The head and both deputy heads of the DRI attended the roundtable along with national minority members of the Romanian Parliament and representatives of the national minority organizations represented on the Council of National Minorities. There were two fundamental purposes for the meeting. One was to provide the group with background information on the three major issues that will feature in the draft law on the status of national minorities, namely: defining a national minority; the status of national minority organizations under Romanian law; and cultural autonomy. The second purpose was to facilitate dialogue between the national minorities and the government concerning these main issues to be addressed in the draft law, so as to allow the government to hear the concerns and wishes of the national minority groups. It was noted that this was the first time that national minorities have been able to have a forum to discuss a draft law before it was presented to parliament. This report seeks to provide an account of the presentations and discussions that took place during this meeting, including some of the theories and practicalities of differing forms of definition, laws concerning NGOs and political parties, and models of cultural autonomy used in European states.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christopher Decker
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: ECMI organized the first event of the “Improving Inter-Ethnic Relations through Enhanced Minority Governance” project on 3 February 2005 in Bucharest, Romania. The deputy prime minister, the head of the Department for Inter-ethnic Relations and four members of parliament attended the meeting. ECMI and two experts met with the group in the Government Building to discuss the issues surrounding cultural autonomy and the draft law on the status of national minorities. The purpose of the meeting was to provide the government with information concerning the issue of cultural autonomy for the draft law on the status of national minorities, which is currently being drafted by the Hungarian Democratic Union from Romania (UDMR) and the other 18 national minority parties represented in the Chamber of Deputies. This report seeks to provide an account of the presentations and discussions that took place during this meeting, including the theory and practicalities of cultural autonomy and the model of cultural autonomy used in Estonia.
  • Topic: Demographics, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Europe, Estonia, Romania