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Press release, 02.05.2022

Two Council of Europe delegations will visit Switzerland from 2 to 6 May 2022 to review the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The meetings will focus on the situation of Swiss communities recognised as national minorities, i.e. national linguistic minorities, Yenish, Sinti and Manouches, as well as members of the Jewish community. Topics will also include language policy, in particular efforts to promote Italian and Romansh, as well as the challenges that Switzerland's multilingual cantons are facing.

The delegations of experts will participate in meetings with representatives of the federal government, the cantons and the communes. They will also meet with the associations that represent the interests of the recognised national and language minorities as well as with non-governmental organisations.

Their trip's itinerary includes talks in Chur with umbrella organisations promoting the Romansh and Italian languages and cultures and with the authorities of the cantons of Graubünden and Ticino. The experts will also meet with the authorities of the bilingual cantons of Bern, Fribourg and Valais. Together with the foundation Future for Swiss Travellers, the experts will visit two stopping places used by Yenish, Sinti and Roma communities.

Following their visit, the independent experts will submit reports with recommendations for Switzerland that will have been approved by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The Swiss authorities will be given the opportunity to comment on them in advance.

Visits to review the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages take place regularly. Switzerland ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in October 1998. The Framework Convention entered into force in February 1999. The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages was ratified in 1997 and entered into force in Switzerland in 1998. On 1 October 2021, the Federal Council adopted Switzerland's combined report on the implementation of these two related Council of Europe conventions, and this week's visit is based on the combined report.

Switzerland, whose identity is based on pluralism and the coexistence of different linguistic and cultural communities, is committed to protecting and promoting minority languages and minorities. It is also taking action at international level, as this issue is a priority of the Human Rights Guidelines 2021–24 of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). In addition, President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis has set the diversity of languages, cultures and opinions in Switzerland as a priority for his presidential year.

 

Contact

FDFA / DIL:
Sophie Heegaard, international human rights Section, tel. 058 462 01 16, sophie.heegaard@eda.admin.ch

Federal Office of Culture:
Fiona Häusler, Head of Languages and Society Service, Culture and Society Section, tel. 058 462 92 98, fiona.haeusler@bak.admin.ch
 


Further information:

FDFA website (Directorate of International Law (DIL)), on this topic
Federal Office of Culture (FOC) website on this topic (available in German, French, Italian, Romansh)
Uffizi federal da cutura: Charta europeica da las linguas regiunalas u minoritaras


Address for enquiries:

FDFA Communication
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel. Communication service: +41 58 462 31 53
Tel. Press service: +41 58 460 55 55
E-mail: kommunikation@eda.admin.ch
Twitter: @SwissMFA


Publisher:

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Last update 28.01.2022

  • FDFA Communication answers media queries Mondays to Fridays during office hours and operates a weekend emergency on-call service.

Contact

FDFA Communication

Federal Palace West
3003 Bern

Phone (for journalists only):
+41 58 460 55 55

Phone (for all other requests):
+41 58 462 31 53