Strasbourg has hosted a high-level conference dedicated to the 20th Anniversary of the validation of “the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities” and “The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages” in the frames of the chairmanship of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

The Conference attended by high-ranking government officials including the ministers, representatives of a number of international organizations, also the members of the Consulting Committee of the Framework Convention and the Committee of Experts of “The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages” discussed the problems encountered by the national minorities in the member countries of the Council of Europe in the current period.

At the conference our country was represented by Etibar Najafov, the Head of the Department of Interethnic Relations, Multiculturalism and Religious Issues of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan. He delivered his speech on “The Languages and Education of the Minorities in the Republic of Azerbaijan” at the session “The Languages and Education of the National Minorities in the Multilingual Society”.

Etibar Najafov reported on Azerbaijan’s successful fulfillment of the commitments concerning education in the languages of the national minorities of the Framework Convention “On the Protection of National Minorities” of the Council of Europe ratified by Azerbaijan through the Law dated 16 June 2000. Pointing out the high-level solution to the social, economic and cultural issues of the national minorities residing in the country in the frames of Azerbaijan’s policy of multiculturalism, he dwelt upon the important actions carried out by the state to protect the ethnic-cultural values of the national minorities here.

Based on the definite facts, the Head of the Department informed the conference participants about the activities of 377 primary and secondary schools in the languages of national minorities. He focused the attention of the conference participants to the fact that education is carried out completely in Russian in 18 secondary schools in the country, whereas in the Russian branch of 326 schools 90 thousand pupils get their education in the mentioned language. Moreover, Etibar Najafov, who spoke of the activities of schools in Jewish, Lezghi, Talysh, Avar, Sakhur, Udi, Kurd, Khinalig and the languages of other minorities, also touched upon the actions taken by the state in providing the national minorities with the educational materials in their own languages and emphasized the positive impact of these activities on the national minorities’ integration processes in society.

The official of the Presidential Administration focused to the attention of the conference participants the conformity of the policy pursued by the Azerbaijani government in the field of education for the national minorities with Article 14 of the Framework Convention of the Council of Europe “For the Protection of National Minorities”, also Items 3 and 4 of Article 4 of the UN “Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to the National or Ethnic, Religious and Language Minorities”.