In 1998 the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities entered into force. This study evaluates how the standards of the Framework Convention function in reality and whether the interests of minorities are best served by this form of protection by the international community. The author assesses the use of international principles on rights for minorities in Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria, three states with a difficult socio-economic situation and large minority populations. Two specific principles embodied in the Framework Convention are focused upon. The first, the principle of non-discrimination, is discussed with regard to the Roma minority in Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria, the Muslim minority in Bulgaria, and in relation to the Benes Decrees affecting the Hungarians and German minority in Slovakia. The second principle, protection of linguistic rights, is discussed in relation to the Hungarian minority in Slovakia and Romania and to the Roma minorities.
• A detailed examination of the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, which entered into force in 1998 • Looks specifically at the minorities of Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria • Of particular interest in light of the recent accession of other Eastern European countries to the European Union