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10. The Hague Recommendations regarding the Education Rights of National Minorities and Explanatory Note (1996)
(Recommended by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, 1 October 1996)

INTRODUCTION

In its Helsinki Decisions of July 1992, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) established the position of High Commissioner on National Minorities to be "an instrument of conflict prevention at the earliest possible stage". This mandate was created largely in reaction to the situation in the former Yugoslavia which some feared would be repeated elsewhere in Europe, especially among the countries in transition to democracy, and could undermine the promise of peace and prosperity as envisaged in the Charter of Paris for a New Europe adopted by the Heads of State and Government in November 1990.

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EXPLANATORY NOTE TO THE HAGUE RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING THE EDUCATION RIGHTS OF NATIONAL MINORITIES

General Introduction

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Article 26 of the Declaration refers to elementary education as compulsory. It engages States to make technical and professional education generally available and higher education accessible on the basis of merit. It also makes clear that the objective of education should be the full development of the human personality and the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. [...]

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[...] Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stresses that the objective of education is the promotion of understanding, tolerance and friendship among nations, racial and religious groups. In this spirit, and with integration in mind, the intellectual and cultural development of majorities and minorities should not take place in isolation.

Curriculum development

Since the end of the Second World War an ever-growing number of international instruments have placed increasing emphasis on the objectives of education. According to these instruments education is required not only to provide strictly academic or technical training but it is also required to inculcate such values as tolerance, pluralism, anti-racism and international and inter-communal harmony. [...].

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Final remarks

The subject of minority education rights is a sensitive issue in a number of participating States of the OSCE. At the same time the educational process has the potential to effectively facilitate and strengthen mutual respect and understanding between the various communities within participating States.

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