MK welcomes Council of Europe report on National Minority status, but condemns inadequate government response
Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall has welcomed the publication of an Opinion from the Council of Europe which includes a number of recommendations which relate to the Cornish as a national minority.
The Opinion was produced by the relevant Advisory Committee from the Council of Europe which visited the United Kingdom in March 2016 to assess how the UK Government and other public bodies are complying with the articles of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
It is the first Opinion on the Framework Convention published since the Cornish were recognised as a national minority in April 2014.
MK Leader Cllr Dick Cole has described the findings of the report as being of “far-reaching significance.”
- Recommended that central government reconsider “the decision to cut all funding for the Cornish language in view of the disproportionate impact such a measure will have on the delicate process of revitalising a minority language when access to other public financial resources is limited.”
- Raised concerns that the present constitutional set-up mitigated against Cornish recognition as “Cornwall is grouped together with Devon and other counties in the Southwest region ...”
- Called for a Cornish “tick-box” on the 2023 census.
- Called for a “dialogue with representatives of the Cornish minority to ensure that cultural policy is developed in a way respectful” of its traditions and identity.
- Recommended that the BBC Charter be revised to safeguard broadcasting in minority languages and to “introduce BBC support for the Cornish language.”
- Suggested that the UK Government “consider the possibility of adopting a Cornish Language Act.”
- Recommended that the authorities “engage in a dialogue with the Cornish minority … to allow for a more systematic provision of teaching in and of the Cornish language.”
- Criticised the ongoing review into parliamentary constituencies at Westminster which would adversely affect the Cornish national minority.
- Called for the creation of an “institutional presence for Cornwall” at the British and Irish Council (which presently includes the representatives from the UK and Republic of Ireland, plus the governments of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.”
Also published today was the UK Government’s comment on the Opinion Report, but sadly it ignored all the recommendations which related to the Cornish.
Cllr Dick Cole stated:
“The UK Government’s recognition of the Cornish through the Framework Convention was a landmark decision, but the Opinion demonstrates that the Cornish are not being treated in the same manner as the other national minorities within the UK such as the Scots and the Welsh.
“The Opinion shows a great deal of empathy and understanding for the situation in Cornwall, for which we are grateful. But we are bewildered at the response from the UK Government, which fails to address the recommendations produced by the Advisory Group.
“We would challenge Cornwall’s MPs and the UK Government to show due respect to Cornish culture and identity by supporting all the recommendations contained within the Opinion, wholeheartedly and without reservation.”