European Treaty Series - No. 148

European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
Strasbourg, 5.XI.1992

Preamble
The member States of the Council of Europe signatory hereto,
Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its
members, particularly for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles
which are their common heritage;
Considering that the protection of the historical regional or minority languages of Europe,
some of which are in danger of eventual extinction, contributes to the maintenance and
development of Europe's cultural wealth and traditions;
Considering that the right to use a regional or minority language in private and public life is an
inalienable right conforming to the principles embodied in the United Nations International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and according to the spirit of the Council of Europe
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;
Having regard to the work carried out within the CSCE and in particular to the Helsinki Final
Act of 1975 and the document of the Copenhagen Meeting of 1990;
Stressing the value of interculturalism and multilingualism and considering that the protection
and encouragement of regional or minority languages should not be to the detriment of the
official languages and the need to learn them;
Realising that the protection and promotion of regional or minority languages in the different
countries and regions of Europe represent an important contribution to the building of a
Europe based on the principles of democracy and cultural diversity within the framework of
national sovereignty and territorial integrity;
Taking into consideration the specific conditions and historical traditions in the different
regions of the European States,
Have agreed as follows:
Part I – General provisions
Article 1 – Definitions
For the purposes of this Charter:
a

"regional or minority languages" means languages that are:

Select target paragraph3