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Appendices > Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities


Open for signature by the member States of the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg, on 1 February 1995. Entry into force: 1 February 1998.

The Convention is the first legally binding multilateral instrument concerned with the protection of national minorities in general. Its aim is to protect the existence of national minorities within the respective territories of the Parties. The Convention seeks to promote the full and effective equality of national minorities by creating appropriate conditions enabling them to preserve and develop their culture and to retain their identity.

The Convention sets out principles relating to persons belonging to national minorities in the sphere of public life, such as:

  • Non-discrimination
  • Promotion of effective equality
  • Promotion and preservation of culture, religion, language and traditions
  • Freedom of peaceful assembly
  • Freedom of association
  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • The right to access to and use of the media,
  • Freedoms relating to language and education
  • Transfrontier contacts and co-operation
  • Participation in economic, cultural and social life
  • Prohibition of forced assimilation.

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