The ECMI Minorities Blog is a space for reflection and analysis of current issues, national or international, related to national, ethnic, and linguistic minorities. Blog posts published here may discuss relevant legislation and policies, flag issues of discrimination and inequality or outline other issues of relevance to minority communities. It is open to authors with a longstanding experience in research concerning minorities, as well as those who are at the beginning of their academic careers.
Content of blog posts
Authors wishing to publish on the ECMI Minorities Blog are encouraged to bear in mind the following points:
- The ECMI Minorities Blog is intended as a research blog, rather than an opinion or advocacy blog.
- Posts should be based on research performed at academic standards and should be consistently referenced.
- The readership of the ECMI Minorities Blog goes beyond academic audiences, and includes members of national minorities, journalists, and members of the public that take an interest in minority issues. As such, blog posts should be written in a non-specialist language, and items that might be obscure to the public should be explained either in the text or in the Endnotes.
- Please bear in mind that the opinions expressed in blog pieces published on the ECMI Minorities Blog are those of the authors. They shall not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the European Centre for Minority Issues or those of its staff.
Length of posts and referencing
- The length of a blog post should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words.
- References should be inserted as hyperlink in the text. Those references that cannot be hyperlinked should be included in the Endnotes, using the APA style.
- Explanations, clarifications etc. should be included in the Endnotes; however, for reasons of readability, we recommend keeping these to an absolute minimum.
Submission of posts
Before submitting a post for publication on the ECMI Minorities Blog, please consult with the blog editors concerning the topic you are proposing and the timeframe for publication. Please send your enquiries to Dr. Sergiusz Bober email@example.com and Dr. Andreea Cârstocea firstname.lastname@example.org
2022-03-25National Minorities and the War in Ukraine. ECMI Miniblog Series
In view of the recent events in Ukraine, the editors decided to create a special section on the ECMI Minorities Blog dedicated to reflections on the situation and impact of war on national minorities in and outside of Ukraine.
2022-07-26ECMI Minorities Blog. Events in Tajikistan’s Pamir – A Vicious Cycle of Unresolved Conflicts?
In 2022, Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Region saw several demonstrations of the non-recognised Pamiri minority. The government, unsurprisingly, reacted with force: the internet was shut down in the whole region, many local leaders were detained and persecuted. This is not the first time that confrontation between Pamiris and governmental representatives appointed by the capital Dushanbe takes place, with similar events happening in 2012, 2014, and 2021. In this blog piece ECMI Researcher Aziz Berdiqulov looks more closely at those events, puts them in a long-term perspective, and offers a possible way out of the fatal cycle of tensions.
2022-07-25ECMI Minorities Blog. Russian Migrants in Central Asia – An ambiguous Reception
One of the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the imposition of western economic sanctions on the country and further autocratization of its political system. Both factors have resulted in a significant outward migration of Russian citizens, with Central Asia being one of frequent destinations due to the geographic proximity and widespread use of Russian language. At the same time, for many Russians the region remains a terra incognita, perceived primarily through the presence of the Central Asian labour migrants. In this blog piece, ECMI Researcher Aziz Berdiqulov examines this recent phenomenon by discussing specifically the cases of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan as receiving countries, through the prism of different initiatives addressing the influx, social attitudes concerning the newcomers and reactions of the Russian minorities present there. Furthermore, the author tries to assess whether the new situation has the potential for changing the hitherto pattern of relations between Russians and Central Asians.
2022-07-10ECMI Minorities Blog. Minorities and the War in Ukraine: Navigating the ‘Perfect Storm’?
Where do European minority issues stand following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? What are the dimensions of this crisis that pose a particular challenge to the European minority rights regime? Does the renewed sense of purpose among liberal democracies augur a revitalization of minority issues or continued business as usual? The ECMI’s Director Vello Pettai looks at the stakes involved with the war in Ukraine. Already before the crisis, minority issues were operating in an increasingly crowded landscape of societal concerns: populism, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic. Russia’s aggression has brought together a further cocktail involving autocratization, kin-state activism and geopolitical disorder. Key institutions governing and promoting the European minority rights regime will need to be regrouped before a new impulse for minority issues can be found.
2022-07-08ECMI Minorities Blog. Roma as Tokens? Reference Groups and the Practice of Deciding First and Informing After
In Sweden, the Roma have the right to contribute to and influence policy measures that affect them. Authorities often fulfil their obligation to include Roma through the so-called reference groups. The authors see several problems with this model. First, the reference groups are deprived of agency, as they are often not involved at early stages in the planning, but rather informed and consulted on ready-made decisions. Second, an emphasis is placed on “Romani organisations” when nominating and selecting representatives, which encourages rapid creation of new organisations with few members and activities, little transparency, and affected by gate-keeping as the power is kept between a few individuals. Last, the emphasis on linguistic and cultural competence deprives many individuals of influence and the possibility of being heard, especially those who have been subject to harsh assimilation
2022-06-29ECMI Minorities Blog. The Response of International Organisations and Roma Civil Society to the Plight of Ukraine's Roma Refugees in Europe
The Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine has triggered the unprecedent human displacement crisis with more than 13 million individuals uprooted from their homes. It is estimated that among 5,7 million people who fled abroad, at least 100,000 belong to Roma minority – one of the most vulnerable and marginalized minority groups. In this blog entry, the author examines how the international institutions and Roma civil society organisations stepped in to support Roma refugees and combat discrimination in their accessing rights and resources granted to those fleeing the war in Ukraine.
2022-05-20ECMI Minorities Blog. Ukraine’s National Minorities Trapped by the War: The Cases of Ethnic Romanians and Hungarians
In this blog entry, the author continues looking into the effects of the war against Ukraine on its minority communities, by highlighting the cases of two minorities with traditional residence areas in the western part of the country - ethnic Romanians and Hungarians. The author concludes that both minorities, either through the engagement of their civil society, religious, and educational institutions or individuals, have become a well-integrated part of an overall civil society architecture in western Ukraine emerging during the war. Moreover, all-Ukrainian civic identity features prominently in relation to both communities.
2022-05-16ECMI Minorities Blog. Indigenous Peoples and National Minorities in the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine
On February 24, 2022, Russia launched an offensive against Ukraine simultaneously in the north, east and south of the country. Thus, Russian troops expanded their temporary occupation of Ukrainian territories, which began in 2014. Millions of Ukrainian citizens, including indigenous peoples and national minorities, found themselves in the temporarily occupied territories. Residents of those regions are suffering from lack of food, utilities and medical care, and live under the pressure of the Russian troops. Their opposition to the invasion is met with detentions, intimidation, torture and executions. Under such conditions, the usual policy of diversity management is reduced to the struggle for the life of every citizen. This blog piece is dedicated to the current situation in the temporarily occupied regions of Ukraine and pays particular attention to the communities of indigenous peoples and national minorities.
2022-04-25ECMI Minorities Blog. Disinformation, Digital Nationalism and the Hungarian Minority in Ukraine
The Hungarian minority in Ukraine living mainly in the region of Transcarpathia (Zakarpattia Oblast) has not yet been directly exposed to the horrors of the war. However, roughly since 2014, it has been targeted by online propaganda and disinformation serving the interests of the Kremlin in both Russian and Hungarian media. Several studies have demonstrated how the right-wing media supporting the Hungarian government have come increasingly under Russian influence either directly by translating pieces from Russian media outlets, or indirectly by channeling the talking points of the Kremlin. This digital propaganda has merged with the offline diffusion of ideologies supporting the illiberal democracy that Viktor Orbán declared official policy in Hungary in his infamous speech from 2014. This blog post explores the intricate web of nationalisms that influence political opinions among the Hungarian minority in Ukraine.
2022-03-29ECMI Minorities Blog. Ukraine’s National Minorities Trapped by the War: the Cases of Ethnic Greeks and Bulgarians
As the war against Ukraine erupted on 24 February 2022, national minorities found themselves among its first victims, both as individuals and communities characterized by unique knowledge, language, and culture. This piece looks into the immediate effects of the war on ethnic Greeks and Bulgarians, and potential lessons learned for the state of Ukraine and its minorities from these tragic events. Whereas ethnic Greeks strive for physical survival in a besieged city of Mariupol and its surroundings, ethnic Bulgarians have mobilized in support of refugees. Those situations highlight the role of minority community leaders in voicing support for the Ukrainian authorities and as facilitators of aid from kin-states, as well as turn minority civil society organizations (CSOs) into agents of change of nation-wide significance.
2022-03-11ECMI Minorities Blog. How to Lose (the Almost) Guaranteed Representation – Recent Developments concerning Roma Parliamentary Representation in Hungary
As the Roma National Self-Government in Hungary failed to draw up its electoral list for the 2022 elections, it seemed that nobody would represent the most populous minority in Parliament; at least not within the framework of the preferential mandate system. This blog post covers the circumstances and developments behind this paradoxical situation and explains how uncompromising political wings have caused this outcome. The incumbent Roma minority advocate in Parliament and his allies worked hard to prevent anyone else from obtaining the first position on the electoral list and thus becoming a member of parliament, while the other political wing within the Roma self-government ruled out the re-election of the sitting advocate. As the author points out, however, the main problem lies in the very nature of the system, namely in the lack of real internal competition. Interestingly, as recent developments show, other Roma politicians may get elected on the party lists of both sides of the political spectrum.
2022-02-10ECMI Minorities Blog. German Minority as Hostage and Victim of Populist Politics in Poland
On 4 February 2022, the Polish Journal of Laws published a new ordinance of the Minister of Education and Science, implementing cuts in the funding of education of German as a minority language. Consequently, the hourly length of such lessons will be significantly reduced. This regulation applies exclusively to the German minority, and the official motive for introducing discriminatory measures is to improve the situation of Polish diaspora in Germany. This is the first time after 1989 when the Polish state authorities introduce a law limiting the rights of Poland’s citizens belonging to a national minority (in this situation children), as a retaliation for the alleged situation of a kin-community elsewhere. Importantly, the adopted regulations are not only discriminatory towards one of the minorities; their implementation may in fact contribute to the dysfunctionality of the entire minority education system in Poland. This is also an obvious violation of the constitutional principle of equality before the law, the right of minorities to ‘maintain and develop their own language’, international standards of minority rights protection, as well as a threat to the very functioning of human rights protection mechanisms in the country.
2022-01-28ECMI Minorities Blog. National Minorities and the Future of Europe
The Conference on the Future of Europe, which was finally launched on 9 May 2021, has opened “a new space for debate with citizens to address Europe’s challenges and priorities”. The initiative uses three channels for citizens’ participation: the Multilingual digital platform, European Citizens’ Panels, and Conference Plenary. Content-wise it is grounded on the indicative list of nine topics covering wide range of areas from climate change to sports. This blog post draws attention to the importance of involving national minorities in the process, both regarding participation and issues covered. The Conference should strive to reach out to various population groups, including the ones in minority or marginalized position. Moreover, the Conference could serve as a good opportunity to reconsider the EU’s position with regard to the protection of national minorities: in a complex and increasingly diverse Europe, the EU has to take responsibility and search for innovative models of diversity management, including the protection of national minorities. Provided that it leads to some tangible action, the Conference might be a valuable step forward.
2021-12-21ECMI Minorites Blog. On Hyphenated Identities
In the spring of 2021, the Danish Borderland Association published the book Danskerne findes i mange modeller – portrætter af 15 unge med bindestregsidentitet by Marlene Fenger-Grøndahl. The book consists of fifteen interviews with young so-called cultural ambassadors of the Borderland Association, as well as essays on the history of the Danish-German borderland and the concept of a hyphenated identity that the young respondents refer to. In minority research, the concept of a hyphenated identity is both used and contested. However, the interviews underline that the concept can serve as an important backdrop for the empowerment of young people with minority identities. This ECMI Minorites Blog entry is written by Garbi Schmidt, professor of Cultural Encounters at Roskilde University.
2021-11-18ECMI Minorities Blog. Native Others: What Implications Does the Law on Indigenous Peoples Have for Ukraine’s Indigenous Population?
In July 2021, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted a Law on Indigenous Peoples. It provides a framework for the protection of the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Crimean Peninsula, namely Crimean Tatars, Karaites and Krymchaks, and excludes Mariupol Greeks as a minority potentially qualifying for the status of the fourth indigenous group residing outside of Crimea. What was the general context of the adoption of the Law? What rights does it envisage? And what could the Law potentially bring to the recognized indigenous peoples? This blog post attempts to answer these questions.
2021-09-30ECMI Minorities Blog. Less equal than others: National minorities and the overlooked challenge of socio-economic inequalities
Socio-economic inequalities are part and parcel of people’s everyday life in any society; yet for people who belong to ethnic, linguistic, religious, or cultural communities, these inequalities tend to be markedly greater than for others. Quite often, national minority communities face higher hurdles in accessing employment and gaining incomes on a par with those of the majority, and have lower access to adequate healthcare services, housing, education, or public services in general. And yet, a conversation about the socio-economic inequalities facing minority communities, the specific challenges they face, or the ways in which their participation might be improved is largely absent.
2021-08-04ECMI Minorities Blog. Why Scottish and Welsh Speakers Will Miss European Structural Funds
In this blog piece Craig Willis investigates the contribution of European Structural and Investment Funds projects in the period between 2007-2013 and 2014-2020, in order to ascertain direct and indirect links to the four Celtic languages, following the separation of cultural funds from the ESIF into Creative Europe and Erasmus Plus from 2007. He shows that, given that the speakers of such languages often reside in economically peripheral areas (at least in higher percentage terms), their livelihoods and everyday culture in the traditional speaking areas (even for non-speakers) are affected by availability of structural funds.
2021-07-19ECMI Minorities Blog. Identity Disputes and the EU Enlargement: The Case of North Macedonia
The Bulgarian veto on the EU membership negotiations with North Macedonia in 2020 has once again brought to attention the identity dispute between the two nations and the implications for the accession process. At the core of the dispute lies a rather static understanding of the nation: the fact that nation is a dynamic phenomenon is almost fully ignored in the political discourse, at least on the Bulgarian side. However, bringing identity disputes and the question of national minorities’ protection to the fore is an attempt to divert the public’s attention from state weakness and the reasons behind it, such as state capture, while the EU accession process gets instrumentalized once more.
2021-06-24ECMI Minorities Blog. Unable to Stay, Nowhere to Go: The Hidden Reality of LGBTIQ Homelessness in the European Union
June Pride Month has been one of the most celebrated dates worldwide over the past years. From 1969 onwards, LGBTIQ minorities have taken over the streets across the world to make their voices and claims heard, and to fight for full equality. Although many achievements have been made since then, important gaps still remain to be addressed when it comes to LGBTIQ rights in the European Union. This blog post sheds light on the hidden issue of LGBTIQ homelessness and looks at how the political environment in the EU during recent years has further impacted already vulnerable sexual and gender minorities.
2020-12-15ECMI Minorities Blog. Hate to the Extreme(s): The Distorted Uses of Religion and Culture in Europe
We live in unsettled and challenging times: apart from the unprecedented situation that the pandemic is imposing on humanity, we are at the same time struggling with manifestations of extreme hate in multiple settings, though not unrelated ones. This post explores how two, very different at the outset, manifestations of extreme hate, namely far—right and Islamist extremism, may be relying and reinforcing each other.
2020-12-09ECMI Minorities Blog. Armenia-Azerbaijan at War and New Uncertainties for the Minorities of Nagorno-Karabakh
Fresh violence broke out in the Nagorno-Karabakh region on 27 September this year with drastic consequences. Notwithstanding exchange of territories, the future of Armenians and Azeri people of Karabakh remains uncertain with regards to their rights and who will guarantee them. We analyse the reasons alongside its protracted instability.
2020-10-05ECMI Minorities Blog. The Impact of COVID-19 on Roma Communities in Non-EU Countries in Eastern Europe
The ECMI and the University of Leicester implemented the joint research project ‘Marginality on the Margins of Europe – The Impact of COVID-19 on Roma Communities in Non-EU Countries in Eastern Europe’. In this blog piece, authors present preliminary findings from the research, which show disproportionate negative impact of COVID-19 on Roma communities in all major areas of life (education, healthcare, employment, and housing) throughout the seven countries analysed.
2020-09-15ECMI Minorities Blog. A silent response from Central Asia about human- and minority rights violations in Xinjiang
Concerns about large-scale human and minority rights violations the Chinese state is continuously inflicting on the Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups are reported on almost daily bases across the world. Despite such developments, Central Asian states prefer to maintain positive relations with China, instead of confronting it over the human- and minority rights situation in Xinjiang. This blog piece aims to answer what the reasons behind their silent response are.
2020-07-29ECMI Minorities Blog. Securitising the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact on democracy and minorities.
Months into the pandemic, citizens have been disappointed globally about government responses and handling of the disease that, in countries like the USA or Brazil, have led to a loss of tens of thousands of human lives. In a situation where states fail to protect and support their citizens or exhibit a lack of commitment to do so, we need to ask a simple question: Has the pandemic become a human security issue? This analysis goes against a backdrop of the observation that COVID-19 has already emerged as a major national security threat, with an impact on international security. The crisis is also shifting how the transatlantic partners think about security and pushes a search for the right kind of response at the institutional level to this new challenge. All security responses are inextricably linked, but it is still questionable whether they can mitigate effects of the pandemic on a population, especially on the most vulnerable.
2020-05-26ECMI 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.
2020-05-11ECMI 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.
2020-04-09ECMI Minorities Blog. The Spanish Roma community in the time of coronavirus. A narrative perspective.
The idea of the present blog piece is to provide a reader with a snapshot of the narratives concerning the Spanish Roma community produced during the coronavirus pandemic in Spain. Sources analysed in this piece allow a claim that conspiracy theories and anti-Roma stereotypes are not absent in coronavirus-hit Spain. Such narratives are produced mostly spontaneously by prejudiced individuals, while in certain cases also the mainstream media are contributing to the promotion of the antigypsyist views.
2020-03-30ECMI Minorities Blog. Corona or Minority Crises?
The Corona Crisis affects us all. Almost silently the virus reached Europe a few weeks ago and today it is the most discussed topic in the media and in our society. Many questions have been raised: “How can I get to work?”, “What consequences does the virus have for my children and their schooling?” or “Is it still reasonable to visit my parents/ grandparents?” Not to mention the many pressing economic questions concerning the future of jobs and the security of livelihoods. One question, however, also shouldn’t be neglected: "What has been the effect of the corona crisis on minorities?"
This blog represents a collective effort by the staff at the ECMI to bring together a variety of information and observations as to how corona is impacting on minority lives, minority policies, cultural diversity and social harmony.
2020-03-11ECMI Minorities Blog. The Symbolic Power of Place Names: Why having multilingual signs can be challenging?
The recently published Fifth Opinion on Denmark by the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) attracted remarkable attention in the Danish media and in the border region because it again pointed out the lack of bilingual signs in the four municipalities in Southern Jutland. Among four recommendations for immediate action, the Advisory Committee has urged the authorities to “create an environment conducive to the display of bilingual signs at the entrance of the four municipalities traditionally inhabited by a substantial number of persons belonging to the German minority”. The problem (absence) of bilingual signs is persistent in the Danish case, and interestingly enough it appears to be a major unresolved issue with regards to the protection of the German minority in Denmark.
2020-01-07ECMI Minorities Blog. A post-election update on the Brexit implications for Celtic Languages in the UK
Amongst all the Brexit noise there has been limited scrutiny on specific impacts, including from the angle of traditional native minority languages. This article aims to highlight potential future implications on Celtic languages that Brexit could have on themes related to: legal instruments, funding opportunities, regional economic impact, pan-European cooperation opportunities, and independence movements. In this, particular focus is given to potential short and long term implications of what still remains a hypothetical unknown phenomenon.
2019-12-18ECMI Minorities Blog. Towards Evidence-Based Minority Policy: Processing of Ethnic Data and Monitoring the Quality of National Minority Protection
Collection of ethnic data is a tool and not a goal. It should be part of a systematic and carefully considered process throughout which the crucial questions on “what type of data or ethnicity and/or race are processed, using which definitions and for which purposes are they collected” are clarified.
2019-12-04ECMI Minorities Blog. Why the States Fail to Secure Their Minorities: Securitisation and Minority Rights
Sharing spaces in diverse societies and creating fair policies to manage diversity is not always a smooth process, and significant presence of the minorities more often than not leads to some form of insecurity. A notion that minorities pose a threat to the society and social order is used as an excuse by the governments to turn against them, often employing different forms of violence.
2019-11-12ECMI Minorities Blog. Regulating Hate Speech Online for Minorities: “Regulate First, Ask Questions Later”?
Read the first ECMI Minorities Blogpost on Hate Speach regulation, written by ECMI Senior Researcher Dr. Topidi.