Council of Europe (CoE)
Comment by the Information and Press Department on the protection of national minorities’ rights by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic
We regret to point out the unwillingness of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights to take note of systemic infringements on the rights of Russian speakers in some of the Council of Europe countries.
In particular, Dunja Mijatovic remains conspicuously silent about the outrageous situation with human rights in Ukraine, where the authorities are consistently infringing on the rights and interests of a sizable Russian-speaking community. We have not received any response to our numerous appeals to the Commissioner, which included concrete examples and evidence of Kiev’s policy of language discrimination and coercive Ukrainisation of all spheres of life in the country.
The Commissioner made a statement on the protection of national minorities’ rights only once, in a comment she made a year ago (on October 29, 2019) where she attempted to equate the language policies of different Council of Europe countries, in particular, Kiev’s policy of squeezing the Russian language out of its education system, community life and media with Russia’s efforts to promote the development of both the Russian and the minority languages in the country.
We believe that this approach runs contrary to the principle of impartiality inherent in the Commissioner’s mandate and urge Dunja Mijatovic to finally take active measures to protect the rights of Russian speakers in Ukraine, bearing in mind that the Kiev authorities see a tolerant attitude towards their policies as an exemption, and that this example is being emulated in some other European countries.