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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