On Monday, 19 October 2009 the Federal Foreign Office and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) are hosting a conference in Berlin on issues concerning national minorities in inter-State relations.
Delegations from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Russia will attend the conference. The discussion will focus on the practical implementation of the HCNM’s “Bolzano/Bozen Recommendations” on issues concerning minorities in the very culturally and ethnically diverse region of Central Asia.
The conference will be chaired by the Knut Vollebaek, current High Commissioner and former Foreign Minister of Norway. Vollebaek, who became High Commissioner in 2007, presented the Bolzano/Bozen Recommendations last year. The document contains important guidelines for governments on possibilities for supporting members of their own individual ethnic groups living abroad as ethnic minorities.
The post of the High Commissioner on National Minorities was established in 1992 as an instrument of conflict prevention. Today the HCNM assists the OSCE’s 56 member states in identifying tensions related to national minorities early on and in developing approaches for resolving those tensions.