PACE asked to consider the recommendations of the Venice Commission.
The parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution on the controversial law on education in Ukraine.
Previously, the law condemned the neighbouring country for the fact that it violates the linguistic rights of national minorities.
The resolution, which was supported by 82 of an MEP, it is recommended to amend the law and implement good education in languages other than Ukrainian.
While neighboring countries – Hungary and Romania – PACE also recommended to meet Ukrainian minorities living on their territory.
“Country” publishes the text of the document.
The full text of the PACE resolution
1. The parliamentary Assembly is concerned about articles on education in the minority languages of the new Law on education, adopted on 5 September 2017 by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and signed on 27 September 2017, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.
2. The neighboring country claimed that the act violates the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, and raises sensitive legal issues falling also under the scope of Ukrainian legislation. The Assembly expresses regret that there was no real consultation with representatives of national minorities in Ukraine on the new wording of article 7 of the Law adopted by the Verkhovna Rada. The Assembly notes that the Ukrainian authorities have provided the text of the Law on education of the European Commission for democracy through law (Venice Commission), to obtain a conclusion, which should be submitted before the end of 2017; however, the Assembly expresses dissatisfaction with the fact that this step had not been taken before the adoption of the Law on education. In addition, the Assembly is aware that in March of 2017, the Advisory Committee on the framework Convention for the protection of national minorities adopted its opinion on Ukraine (4th meeting), which should become public in early 2018, and that the report on Ukraine, submitted by the Committee of experts of the European Charter for regional or minority languages (ETS No. 148), is considered by the Committee of Ministers.
3. The Assembly took note of the serious concerns on a number of legal issues. She believes that it is important to perform obligations based on the European Convention on human rights (ETS No. 5), the framework Convention for the protection of national minorities (ETS No. 157, “the framework Convention”) and the European Charter on regional languages or minority languages, as well as to facilitate constructive dialogue between the various stakeholders. In this respect, for the Assembly of three interrelated principles should guide stakeholders towards a more coordinated arrangements.
4. The first is that knowledge of the official language of the state is a factor of social cohesion and integration, and States have the right to promote the teaching of the official language and to request that the state language was the language of instruction for all.
5. The second issue is that, as stated by the Advisory Committee on the framework Convention: “Language is an important component of individual and collective identity. For many persons belonging to national minorities, language is one of the main factors for their identity and the identity of the minority.” Thus, when States take measures for the promotion of the official language, they should go hand in hand with measures for the protection and promotion of minority languages. If this is not done, the result is assimilation, not integration.
6. The third principle is the principle of non-discrimination. This principle applies not only to the recognition and effective protection of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, as enshrined in the framework Convention, as well as to the specific rights enshrined in the European Charter for regional or minority languages, but also to the “enjoyment of any right established by law “in accordance with article 1 of Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on human rights (ETS No. 177).
7. For Assembly these three principles are important elements of the broader concept of paramount importance, which in fact underlies the whole of the framework Convention: the concept of “living together”.
8. Based on the above principles and the comprehensive concept of “living together”, the new legislation, it seems, does not provide a proper balance between the official language and languages of national minorities.
9. In particular, the new legislation entails a significant reduction in rights previously recognized “national minorities” in relation to their own language education. Those national minorities, who previously had the right to have a monolingual school, and a full curriculum in their native language, now find themselves in a situation when education in their native languages may be provided (along with the education in the Ukrainian language) only to the end of primary education. The Assembly is not conducive to “living together”.
10. In planning reforms it is necessary to provide the flexibility to avoid making hasty changes to the detriment of the quality of education provided to students belonging to national minorities.
11. In this respect, the three-year transition period may be too short. The Assembly therefore urges the Ukrainian authorities to show flexibility in relation to the duration of the process and to take measures appropriate to the specific conditions of the communities concerned and the situation in different areas.
12. The Assembly is aware that the Ukrainian minorities in neighbouring countries are not entitled to monolingual education in their native languages and do not benefit from agreements designed to promote bilingual education. Therefore, the Assembly recommends that the authorities of neighboring countries that legitimately call for the protection of its minorities, be ready to offer the Ukrainian communities in the respective countries, similar agreements with those that are claimed in respect of its minorities.
13. The Assembly encourages Ukraine to examine best practices in member States of the Council of Europe in the field of teaching official languages with the use of special teaching methods designed for schools using regional languages or minority languages, as the language of education.
14. The Assembly decides to monitor the developments in Ukraine in relation to the protection and promotion of regional or minority languages.
15. The Assembly urges the Ukrainian authorities to fully implement the forthcoming recommendations and conclusions of the Venice Commission and amend accordingly the new Law on education.
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