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Section I, Article 3

Hans-Joachim Heintze

From: The Rights of Minorities: A Commentary on the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

Edited By: Marc Weller

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 20 April 2024

Indigenous peoples — Minorities — Human rights remedies — Refugees

This chapter comments on Article 3 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM). Article 3 consists of two paragraphs. Article 3(1) states that, every person who belongs to a national minority has the right freely to choose to be treated or not to be treated as such and no disadvantage shall result from this choice or from the exercise of the rights which are connected to that choice. Article 3(2) states that, persons belonging to national minorities may exercise the rights and enjoy the freedoms flowing from the principles enshrined in the present framework Convention individually as well as in community with others. The most complicated and controversial issue of the FCNM is that of personal scope of protection, meaning the definition of the term national minority. Due to the lack of a definition in the FCNM, the Advisory Committee takes into consideration the position of the reporting state party, which, in general expresses its policy through declarations or reservations mentioning the recognized minorities. In addition, it appears that the states parties do not consider Article 3(2) to be an independent norm, but a part of the obligations under Articles 1 and 3(1). Hence, the qualification of minority rights as individual or collective ones can be considered a primarily academic issue.

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