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The role of bilateral treaties in the protection of national minorities in Central and Eastern Europe

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The following article gives a short analysis of the bilateral treaties signed in Central and Eastern Europe between 1992 and 1996, with special regard to their provisions on the protection of national minorities. On the one hand, the bilateral treaties refer to the reinforcement of the existing state borders and, on the other, they establish commitments regarding the protection of national minorities. The minority provisions included in the treaties are analysed and compared according to four criteria: structure, content, system of implementation and impact. Special attention is paid to the implementation and to the possible impact, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of these treaties. The outcome and importance of such treaties would always be influenced by the fact that most of them had been negotiated without the participation of the minorities concerned. The conclusion states that the bilateral treaties could contribute to the improvement of minority protection and set examples for other arrangements. The short form of this study was presented as a working paper at the fourth session of the UN Working Group on Minorities (Geneva, 25-29 May 1998).


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