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2011-EC-Bozen-Bolzano-MiglioriVIENNA, 25 May 2011 -- Italy's OSCE PA Delegation, in co-operation with the Autonomous Province of Bolzano-Bozen, held a seminar on "The Protection of National Minorities: The Bolzano Recommendations and the OSCE Policy" in Bozen-Bolzano, Italy on 20 May.

The seminar, aimed at following up on the Bolzano Recommendations on National Minorities in Inter-State Relations, was attended by 120 delegates from 24 participating States. With the goal of developing best practices on protecting the rights of minorities in order to prevent inter-ethnic tensions, the seminar included addesses by Luis Durnwalder, President of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano-Bozen; PA Vice-President and Head of the Italian Delegation Riccardo Migliori; Amb. Knut Vollebaek, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities; and Matteo Mecacci, Rapporteur of the OSCE PA's Third Committee.

In his address, Mr. Migliori noted that the Bolzano recommendations have generated intense debate in many parliaments. "The biggest challenge countries are now facing," he said, "is how to transform the Bolzano recommendations into legally binding legislation in participating States. The Italian Delegation to the OSCE PA proposes to regularly organize seminars to review how States have progressed."

Mr. Mecacci said that in addressing the issue of national minorities, the OSCE should support the work of its institutional instruments such as the HCNM and ODIHR. What is fundamental, however, "is that the OSCE develops mechanisms at the political level that can provide solutions to the emerging conflicts among participating States on this issue," Mr. Mecacci said.

"The question of the rights of national minorities cannot be solved and monitored only at the national level," he said.