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European Regional Forum on Minority Issues

May 6 – 7, 2019

9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Registrations are closed

Education, Language and the Human Rights of Minorities

"The rights of linguistic minorities are human rights that must be respected, including in relation to the appropriate degree of use of minority languages. Education deals with what is perhaps the central linguistic right of minorities, and is also fundamental to the maintenance of linguistic diversity. A language that is not taught is a language that will ultimately vanish. The benefits of education in the mother language are now fairly well established scientifically through studies of minority children in different parts of the world."

This conference, organised by the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues and the Tom Lantos Institute, will provide regional insights for the development of a set of guidelines and recommendations focusing on education in, and teaching of, minority languages. Discussions at the conferences will also inform the recommendations of the 12th session of the UN Forum in 2019.

Other objectives include:

-Raising awareness of the ways in which the education in, and the teaching of, minority languages is anchored in international human rights obligations;

-Providing a platform for more informal exchange on practical challenges of minority language education in Europe among various stakeholders;

-Identifying and discussing the central issues of topical concern related to education and minority languages in Europe;

-Amplifying the voices of minority communities in assessing and improving minority language education policies and offering expert input into their specific concerns.


The format of the regional forum will consist of plenaries and 4 panel sessions over the 2 days. The panel sessions will address 4 key topics:

  •  Human Rights pertaining to minority language education in Europe
  •  Constitutional regulation and public policy objectives: justifications and practice
  •  Pedagogical approaches
  •  Quality, Management and Resources

Following presentations by experts and panellists, there will be an opportunity for participants to make interventions, on the panel topic, as part of the discussions and dialogue. Once registration has closed, you will receive an email with instructions about how to sign-up to the speakers' list and with details about the rules of interventions.


The Forum shall be open to the participation of states; intergovernmental organisations including United Nations agencies and mechanisms; national human rights institutions and other relevant national bodies; academics and experts on minority issues; representatives of minorities as well as civil society organisations specialising in minority issues.

Participation is open to individuals involved in minority issues within Council of Europe Members States.

Participant Funding

There is limited funding for a very small number of individual participants, covering their travel, accommodation, subsistence and visas. The funds are prioritised for members of minorities to enable greater and diverse participation considering gender and geographic distribution. Priority will be given to minorities in Council of Europe Member States that are outside the European Union, in the first instance.

If you require funding, please download the Funding Application Form below and submit it to All requests for funding must be received by 8th April 2019.

Working languages: English and French


Start: May 6, 2019
9:00 AM
End: May 7, 2019
6:00 PM
UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues and the Tom Lantos Institute

European Parliament, Rue Wiertz, Leopold Quarter, Brussels, Belgium

Wiertzstraat 60
1047 Leopold Quarter Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest

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