The 20th January 2007 marks the deadline for recommendations to be sent on the UK Government's draft Framework Convention Compliance Report.
The compliance report is 3 years overdue and keeps the Council of Europe (CoE) informed about how the European state signatories are upholding the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCPNM).
The FCPNM is not a legal document and the CoE state that provisions made under the Convention should be applied in good faith. However, this leeway has not encouraged the state Governments of France and the UK to include the Bretons or the Cornish under the provisions of the Convention. France is one of the few EU countries not to have even ratified the Convention, despite the pressure it has applied to new member states to sign up.
The Celtic League is in the process of writing to the 2007 French presidential candidates to ask, if successful in their candidacy, if they will sign the FCPNM and have written to the Home Office in London with the following letter:
"Dear Mr Naysmith
(Ian.N aysmith [at] ...)
Draft UK Framework Convention Compliance Report
I am writing to you firstly to express our disappointment at the Government's decision not to include the Cornish ethnic minority under the provisions of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
We feel that this is regrettable for various reasons, many of which we have outlined over the years in our correspondence to various Government departments.
Our main concern at this moment is with the draft UK FCC report and would like to highlight and question you over what we believe to be some salient points.
The report states that the Government included the organisations that made representations for the Cornish to be included within the scope of the FC in its consultation process. However the Celtic League made such representations on a number of occasions, but we were not included, as far as I could tell, in any consultation process. We would therefore like to know how you went about this consultation and how you chose the organisations to include in this process. We therefore must question the fullness of your inquiry.
Additionally the draft report further states that you are not convinced that a move away from the RRA formula can be justified, but you fail to give a reason for drawing this conclusion. It seems that there is no option for the inclusion of the Cornish, within the provisions of the FC, outside of presenting a civil court case. This as you are probably aware is an expensive and potentially risky course of action.
In contrast however, the draft report mentions other ethnic groups that the government indicates receive official support as per the Convention (FCPNM), who, we are fairly sure, do not have Race Relations Act case law references either ( e.g. Chinese, Black people). We would therefore like to know if this is evidence of the Government employing double standards.
We look forward to receiving your response.
Phil Woolas MP, Minister for Local Government and Social Cohesion
Mr Antti Korkeakivi, Executive Secretary, Council of Europe, Directorate General of Human Rights - DG II Ms Elena Jurado, Administrator Council of Europe , Directorate General of Human Rights - DG II"
J B Moffatt Director of Information Celtic League