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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: Adrian Schaefer-Rolffs, Kai-Uwe Schnapp
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: Democracy can, according to Robert Dahl, be understood as a political system in which those affected by a decision have a proper chance to take part in making this decision. Although it is accepted by political theorists as well as many men and women on the street, this norm is not easily implemented in all situations. One situation in which implementation might not be as straightforward is the proper political participation of any kind of minority, be it national, ethnic, religious, cultural or otherwise. This question of minority political participation has grown in importance in Europe over the last decades. This is the case, because European nations are beset by a total of more than 300 national and ethnic minority groups with over 100 million members. Awareness and appreciation of this fact has massively increased recently in terms of politics as well as with regard to discussion in the social sciences. While there are at least some explicit perceptions of the institutional quality of participatory rights and facilities across Europe, there is almost no empirical account of the role and the perception of political rights and/or institutions that foster minority political participation.
  • Topic: Governance, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Denmark
  • 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: Sabrina Colombo, Federica Prina, Alkistis Zavakou, Fulvia Ghirardi
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: References to 'intercultural dialogue' are not uncommon in international documents. In particular, Article 6(1) of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (hereinafter FCNM) reads: The Parties shall encourage a spirit of tolerance and intercultural dialogue and take effective measures to promote mutual respect and understanding and co - operation among all persons living on their territory, irrespective of those persons' ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious identity, in particular in the fields of education, culture and the media.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Mass Media, 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: Tobias Akerlund
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: In recent years Georgia has seen positive developments on the policy level as well as on the ground concerning media. The Law on Broadcasting already obliged the Georgian Public Broadcaster to highlight the concerns and issues of relevance to minorities, in addition to airing programs in minority languages. To improve the situation for minorities in Georgia, The National Concept for Tolerance and Civil Integration was adopted in 2009 and contains provisions to remedy deficiencies with regard to media. Despite these positive developments, however, access to information remains an impediment to integration into wider society as Georgia‟s minority communities are largely distanced from mainstream media due to a lack of quality information in the languages they understand.
  • Topic: Non-Governmental Organization, Mass Media, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Jiayi Zhou
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: In the two decades after independence, Georgia's open economy and lax immigration policies have engendered, for the first time, immigration from far outside of the region. On the streets of Tbilisi, the most conspicuous of these migrants are from India, China, and the countries of Africa. Of those from India, a substantial number are students of medicine, or enrolled in other professional courses. Africans in Georgia are mostly driven by work opportunity with a few students in higher education institutions. Chinese immigrants, on the other hand, are almost entirely driven by economic opportunities. A modern Chinese presence in Georgia began in the 1990s with the beginning of Chinese state-owned investment ventures in the region, as well as a burgeoning restaurant scene. In 2000s, this expanded to encompass a trickle and then an influx of Chinese migrant shop owners and market vendors. The third wave of migration occurred in 2010 as a result of contract construction workers. As of today, there are around 1,000 Chinese now divided into five groups: specialists, businessmen, shopkeepers, contract workers, and those in the restaurant and catering sector. This paper will focus on the history of Chinese migrants in Georgia, driving causes, their level of integration (or lack thereof), vulnerabilities, and their status in Georgian society. It will also cover increasingly large-scale economic ventures in the country, the status of Chinese as a foreign language in Georgia, and the role of the PRC Embassy in the Chinese community.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Immigration, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, Asia, Georgia
  • 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: Thomas Liles
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: While Adjara's Islamic identity has been in decline, the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) has increased its presence in Adjara's capital Batumi and western lowlands since the 1990s. Today Islam retains a strong presence primarily in the republic's eastern highlands (upper Adjara), specifically in the Khulo district and to a lesser extent in the more rural areas of the Shuakhevi and Keda districts. With financial support from the state, the GOC maintains a growing presence in upper Adjara, and conversions to Christianity in the area are becoming more common. Simultaneously, certain segments of the region's Muslim population express dissatisfaction with perceived state discrimination, mainly resulting from the lack of state funding for local Islamic institutions and the difficulties of legally registering such institutions. With the creation of the new Administration of Georgian Muslims (AGM) in May 2011 and the passage of a new law on the registration of minority religious groups in July 2011, this discontent may well subside. However, it is still too early to tell whether these laws will have a significant effect in upper Adjara.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Conor Prasad
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: In early May 2011, an Administration of Georgian Muslims (AGM) was established. Although founded with government help and by government officials, it is officially a non-governmental organisation (NGO) whose aim is to manage and address problems and issues affecting Georgia's diverse Muslim population. The new administration replaces the semi-independent, Baku-based Caucasus Board of Muslims (CBM) which until recently was the governing body for Georgia's Muslims.
  • Topic: Islam, Governance, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Georgia
  • 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: Federica Prina
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: Indicators to measure the performance of international human rights treaties are increasingly a requirement in the assessment of the impact of legal standards. In the case of national minority standards, the Council of Europe's Secretariat of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) began its work on indicators in 2008. A study to theorize and conceptualize political indicators describing the performance of the FCNM was produced in the areas of legal and political adaptation of provisions in the states parties to the instrument. The study concluded that further efforts should be made to encompass performance indicators assessing the direct impact of the FCNM on the lives of persons belonging to national minorities. Meanwhile, there has been no parallel process by the Council of Europe to compile indicators of impact for its other legally binding instrument that is of special relevance to national minorities: the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (the Charter). This paper provides a preliminary conceptual framework for the development of indicators to measure the impact of the Charter in the states parties to the instrument, using a policy-to-outcome approach.
  • Topic: International Law, Governance, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: Tove H. Malloy
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: What does Green minority action do to our traditional views of minorities as conflict-prone, rights claiming entities that defy definition and pose constant tension in normative political theory? Normally concerned with justification of such issues as the right to existence, the right of self-determination, the protection of culture and language, and steeped in discourses of politics and struggles for recognition as well as of identity and difference, and multiculturalism versus egalitarianism, political theory has confined itself to addressing minority issues in terms of normative accommodation. The arrival on the scene of Green political thought has not c hanged this (as yet) but the empirical facts may force normative political theorists to engage with Green theory as well as impel Green political thought to address normative minority accommodation. It is the possibility of the latter that I will explore in this paper.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Denmark, Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Iryna Ulasiuk
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The dissolution of the Soviet Union brought to the fore claims of linguistic minorities which had been ignored far too long. In almost all of the former Soviet republics language became an impetus to national revival and an important instrument in consolidating the newly independent states. At times excessively accentuated and overly politicized, the language issue demanded immediate reaction. It was not, therefore, surprising, that almost all of the former Soviet republics rejected to various degrees the legal dogmas which had been created in the Soviet Union and moved towards the weakening of the bonds within the former USSR, the lowering of the status of the Russian language as a symbol of long-term oppression and, as a consequence, the strengthening of the position of the titular language. Belarus has somewhat stood aloof in the process. With Russian being the de facto main language, and Belarusian playing largely a symbolic function, the position of other languages spoken by minority groups residing within the territory of Belarus seems indeed precarious. The present paper seeks to identify the main tendencies in the development of language legislation in the area of education, which has traditionally been considered as determinant for the survival of the language, in Belarus. It investigates the place of the Belarusian legislation in the field of education reserved for the language rights of the titular nation and those of national minorities.
  • Topic: Education, Governance, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Belarus