Institut für Minderheitenrecht an der EURAC

Die EURAC in Bozen

Es gibt in Europa verschiedene Institutionen - staatliche, europäische und zivilgesellschaftliche - die sich mit den Fragen der Minderheiten in Europa beschäftigen. Wir haben schon mehrmals über das European Centre for Minority Issues in Flensburg berichtet. Doch auch im Süden - in Südtirol - gibt es ein interessante Einrichtung, die sich bereits erfolgreich seit Jahren mit Minderheitenthemen beschäftigt:  Das Institut für Minderheitenrecht an der EURAC (Europäische Akademie in Bozen). Das Institut beschäftigt sich mit Fragen des Minderheitenschutzes und der kulturellen Vielfalt. Das Hauptaugenmerk liegt dabei auf der Erforschung des gesellschaftlichen Zusammenhaltes und der Governance in pluri-ethnischen Gesellschaften sowie der Migration in Minderheitengebieten.


Drei thematische Schwerpunkte ​gliedern die Arbeit:

Minderheiten, indigene Völker und territoriale Governance​
Nationale Minderheiten, Migration und kulturelle Vielfalt
Europäische Institutionen und Minderheitenschutz

Ausgehend vom Südtiroler Autonomiemodell möchte das interdisziplinäre Team mit empirischen Studien und der Entwicklung theoretischer Konzepte Antworten auf Fragen des friedlichen Miteinanders in pluri-ethnischen Gesellschaften geben. Neben der Forschungsarbeit bietet das Institut auch Beratung und Schulungen zu Minderheitenthematiken an.

Es lohnt sich ein Blick in den Jahresabschlussnewsletter des Instituts zu werden. Zitiert sei hier die Einleitung des Institutsleiters Günther Rautz:
Günther Rautz
The collapse of the bipolar world order 25 years ago, in 1989, had the effect of a liberating blow and put an end to a long period of economic, political and social stagnation. This is particularly clear in the case of European minority protection. Although the Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE had been established decades earlier, it was not until the decade following the fall of the Iron Curtain that the subject of minority protection was removed from the sole authority of the state and permanently raised to the international level. 

Only three years after the fall of the wall, the European Charter of Regional or Minority Languages was drawn up by the Council of Europe. Three years later, in 1995, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the flagship of minority protection in Europe, was adopted. In 1999, the Council of Europe established the office of the European Commissioner of Human Rights in Geneva. One year after the fall of the wall, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) was opened in Warsaw. Two years after that, in 1992, the Office of the High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) was established in The Hague.

10 years ago, in 2004, the possible accession of eight young post-Soviet democracies motivated the European Union to include respect and protection for minorities as a criterion for EU membership and to monitor the progress made by the candidate countries in this field through the Copenhagen Criteria.

25 years after the annus mirabilis 1989, and 10 years after the enlargement of the EU, in 2014 the countries of Europe have become integrated states with a duty to respect the decisions taken by the international organisations to which they are affiliated. However, it is also true that in the decade of enlargement, the European Commission ‘groomed’ candidate countries in the direction of minority protection, but no attempt was made to impose such values within the old members of the Union. European law expert Bruno de Witte identified this hypocrisy and commented that the Europe of the EU saw minority protection as an export item that was not designed for domestic consumption.

100 years after the outbreak of the First World War, Churchill’s metaphor of the Iron Curtain is more topical than ever before: The East-West rhetoric is back on the political scene and jeopardizes the above-mentioned positive developments in international law and peaceful coexistence. Ukraine’s desire to join the European Union provoked Moscow’s aggression in Crimea and against Ukraine and is paralyzing the UN Security Council and other international bodies like the OSCE. On the other hand, the EU has bolstered sanctions against Russia over its support for separatists in Ukraine. The presence of a substantial Russian minority in the Baltic states could destabilize Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, which joined the EU only ten years ago in 2004. Hence, the Ukraine crisis will also be a litmus test for the peacekeeping capacities of international organization and will show if society is capable to learn from history.

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