Ålands fredsinstitut
The Åland Islands Peace Institute

Hamngatan 4
AX-22100 Mariehamn, Åland, Finland
Tel. +358 18 15570
For more contact information click here.

Peace cups

Support peace work. The cup ''A Piece of Peace'' is sold to the benefit of the ÅIPI.

More information here.

Download our brochure






Publication about
the Åland Example


Read more here.

Sia podcast europaradet oktober 2014 kopia
”Tougher climate for minorities and diversity in Europe”

The xenophobic, nationalist and even violent-prone climate in Europe in recent years is highly problematic for all who belong to various minority groups, argues Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark. After two years as president of the Council of Europe's Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark, Associate Professor of International Law, completed her term of office in Strasbourg in September, when she presented for the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe a final report on the situation of minorities developed in European states during the last two years.

The Advisory Committee's report notes that the number of political parties whose ideology is based on antisemitic, Islamophobic, anti-Gypsy and xenophobic grounds has increased during the period from June 2012 to May 2014. The messages of such organizations, which are sometimes amplified in the media and through social media, pose a direct threat to persons belonging to national minorities, who face a heightened risk of harassment and physical attacks. In some countries the deep polarisation of society along linguistic lines leaves minorities particularly vulnerable to escalating tensions.

Another conclusion that Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark highlighted in Strasbourg, is that while it is positive that legislation on minorities has been introduced in many countries, this in itself is not at all sufficient. States have a vital role in actively affirming and promoting an integrated, inclusive and diverse society, says Spiliopoulou Åkermark. A further key challenge for public authorities is the fact that national minorities are not homogeneous groups, making communicating with and accommodating them a challenging process, as well as attending to their legitimate needs through appropriate and adaptable solutions.

Furthermore, Spiliopoulou Åkermark finds that issues concerning minority language education, as well as the persisting marginalization of the Roma remain as acute problems in Europe.

Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark has been an expert member of the Council of Europe's Advisory Committee, in 2002-2006 and in 2010-2014, i.e. during eight years in total. Her mandate as president of the Committee (2012-2014) has included monitoring visits and Committee Opinions adopted concerning, among other, Ukraine, Denmark, Bulgaria and Russia.

The Advisory Committee's report for 2012-2014 is available here.

A podcast with Spiliopoulou Åkermark commenting and developing her thoughts about the report is available here.