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ECMI Minorities Blog: Resolving Minority Language Disputes: A New Approach to Language Rights in Northern Ireland?

In diverse, post-conflict societies, the significance of language can reach far beyond heritage, identity, and culture. In Northern Ireland, a three-year political deadlock which paralysed the devolved Executive until an agreement, New Decade New Approach, was reached in January 2020, provides a clear example of what can happen when language becomes highly politicised. This blog piece looks at how language rights became a core point of contention in Northern Irish politics, what elements converged to make cross-party consensus possible, and how policy can support a much-needed new approach towards minority language rights.

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Meeting with OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Lamberto Zannier

Continuing a series of introductory meetings with key strategic partners of the ECMI, Director Vello Pettai met on 13 May with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Amb. Lamberto Zannier. Although obliged to stick to a Flensburg-The Hague video conference due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was extremely productive, highlighting several key areas where the ECMI could contribute to the HCNM’s work both thematically and geographically.

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ECMI Minorities Blog: Pandemics of Exclusion: The Scapegoating of the Roma in Romania

This blog post addresses the scapegoating of the Roma community in Romania during the Covid-19 pandemic, whereby this national minority is being directly blamed for the reckless spreading of the corona virus among the general population. After outlining some of the underlying psychological and psychosocial mechanisms of scapegoating, this piece argues that this instance of scapegoating is part of a wider phenomenon whereby this national minority has been consistently blamed for countless of the Romanian society’s ills. The conclusion of the blog post is that this constant scapegoating of the Roma community is constitutive of power strategies meant to uphold existing hierarchies, which underpin and reproduce the marginalisation of the Roma community.

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Director confirms stronger regional focus during his inaugural visit to the Minister President of Schleswig-Holstein and in front of the ECMI Executive Board

Despite the restrictions caused by COVID-19, the ECMI continues to work on various projects and future strategic and research planning. A new strengthened research area of the Centre focusing on minority issues in the German-Danish border region has been one of the priorities of the new director. Until recently, the ECMI statutes did not allow the Centre to research minority issues in the region in which it is based. The statutes have been recently changed by the founders so that this new research initiative can be developed. 

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