Minority Issues in Western Europe and the OSCE High Commis- sioner on National Minorities HANS-JOACHIM HEINTZE 1. Introduction During the summer of last year (2000), the world was confronted with a series of terrorist attacks by militant groups in Spain and Northern Ireland which show that there were quite a number of explosive conflicts in Western Europe involv- ing minorities. These terrible terrorist attacks demonstrated with clarity that minority conflicts can threaten security and stability on the European continent. But, in contrast to the minority problems in the former East bloc, they do not generally appear on the agenda of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). That is surprising, as these conflicts certainly ought to be a subject of concern to the OSCE. 1 Consequently, we must investigate why the OSCE, which seeks to promote security in Europe and beyond, ignores Western European minority problems and why (with the single exception of the Roma issue which is not restricted to Central, Eastern or South-Eastern Europe) only minority issues in the former East have been discussed by the CSCE/OSCE. This is even more surprising given that a number of conditions for the CSCE’s preoccupying itself with
International Journal on Minority and Group Rights – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2000
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