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FRAMEWORK CONVENTION CHALLENGE
A campaign is gaining momentum in Cornwall/Kernow to subject the delayed UK Government's draft second compliance report on the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities to the Council of Europe, to judicial review before it is formally submitted. The campaign headed by John Angarrack of Bodmin had its
Cathal Ó Luain pour Celtic League le 17/02/07 21:14

A campaign is gaining momentum in Cornwall/Kernow to subject the delayed UK Government's draft second compliance report on the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities to the Council of Europe, to judicial review before it is formally submitted.

The campaign headed by John Angarrack of Bodmin had its first hearing on Friday 26th January 2007. The initial hearing, presided over by Judge Mitting, did not receive a warm welcome by all accounts. In a letter, dated 29 th January 2007 to the Administrative Court Office in London, Mr Angarrack stated:

"The idea for this statement must derive from my outlining to the judge the fact that the report refers to UK ethnic monitoring programmes, which in turn reference some 79 different 'ethnic' groups. The purpose behind raising this issue was to highlight the fact that the defendant is refusing to reveal which of these groups are covered by the Convention, and this is one of the anomalies in the report requiring judicial scrutiny.

One might have though that such an argument was persuasive. However, Justice Mitting made no comment on the point being made, merely seizing the opportunity to make the above assertion. No evidence was produced in support of Justice Mittings assertion.

In the course of his deliberations, Justice Mitting asserted that the purpose of the claim was to get the Cornish recognised as a national minority. I had to point out that the purpose of the claim was not to get the Cornish recognised as a national minority, but to get the Government to establish fair, consistent and clear implementation procedures, and within those procedures have the Cornish treated the same as other groups who are in analogous, or relevantly similar, situations.

In the course of making the above statement, Justice Mitting said that UK ethnic monitoring programmes identified 79 'national minorities'. When I pointed out that UK ethnic monitoring programmes identify 'ethnic groups', a dismissive sweep of the arm accompanied the judges comment, "national minorities, ethnic groups, whatever!". This 'who cares?' attitude permeated the whole hearing."

Mr Angarrack is concerned that the second UK draft compliance report is not only unclear and deliberately ambiguous, but treats the Cornish as a separate case altogether. Page 8 of the report, due to be sent to Europe by the 20th Feb 2007, states that the Government will not provide a list of the groups that are covered by the Convention, but clearly highlights the fact that the Cornish are excluded. Mr Angarrack said in a communication with the League that:

"The Cornish are the only UK indigenous language group, UK Census 2001 group, and UK ethnically monitored group, to be specifically targeted in this way."

Mr Angarrack further points out that:

"It is therefore in the public interest that the Courts help put an end a bizarre situation whereupon a Chinese businessman lands at Cornwall's Newquay Airport to find that his state-sponsored culture and billion speaking language community are protected and promoted by UK taxpayers under a Convention designed to keep alive threatened European cultures; whilst the endangered identity, language, history and culture of the small indigenous European community he arrives amongst is excluded from the Convention. [Comment 162, 2 nd report and 189, 1st report reveal UK Convention compliance taking the shape of funding for "peripatetic Chinese language teachers" and "Chinese New Year Festivities"]."

J B Moffatt Director of Information Celtic League

13/02/07

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The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues. TEL (UK) 01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609 (voir le site)
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