chapter  9
56 Pages

Against marginalisation

The right to effective participation
WithJoseph Marko, Sergiu Constantin

The third Thematic Commentary of the Advisory Committee under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) on the ‘Effective Participation of Persons Belonging to National Minorities in Cultural, Social and Economic Life and in Public Affairs’ (ACFC 2008) already highlighted that ‘effective participation, full and effective equality and promotion of national minorities’ identity and culture’ are ‘the three corners of a triangle which together form the main foundations of the Framework Convention’ (ibid., para. 13, emphasis added). This is in line with our understanding of the identity/diversity – equality – participation nexus in Chapter 5 (Figure 5.1) that none of these three ‘corners’ can correctly be understood in isolation, but that they must always be put in relation to each other. Seen from this perspective, we can now pull the various threads of the book together with regard to effective participation concerning questions already encountered in previous chapters. For instance, in Chapter 6, section 6. 3, we learned that the Finnish majority ‘frames’ the legitimacy of minority claims and that the president of the Sami parliament, in principle one of the most prominent examples of the institutional representation of the cultural, economic and political interests of indigenous peoples in Europe, deplored the lack of political influence that the parliament has in actual fact. Hence, the overall problem is raised: what do we mean by effective participation if legal obligations laid down in international and national law and the establishment of corresponding institutions do not suffice? And how is it possible to measure efficacy?