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16/12/2005
Bundestags-Arbeitskreis für nationale Minderheiten
in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Pressemitteilung von Sydslesvigsk Forening


BERLIN/ FLENSBURG.
Das Bundesinnenministerium in Berlin hatte am 14.-15. Dezember die vier anerkannten
nationalen Minderheiten und die Sprachminderheiten in Deutschland zu einer
Implementierungskonferenz nach Berlin eingeladen, wo der Kulturträger der dänischen
Minderheit Sydslesvigsk Forening, der Südschleswigsche Wählerverband und der
Dänische Schulverein die Interessen der dänischen Südschleswiger vertraten.

STAND DER MINDERHEITENPOLITIK
In der Konferenz zeigte man den Stand der Minderheitenpolitik in Deutschland auf,
vorgreifend einem Besuch der Expertenkommission des Europarates, die im Januar
2006 die Bundesregerung besucht, um zu kontrollieren, wie die europäische
Sprachencharta und die Rahmenkonvention betr. nationale Minderheiten eingehalten
wird, und um auf evtl. Mängel hinzuweisen.
Diese Kommission besucht in regelmäßigen Abständen die Länder, die die Charta und
die Konvention ratifiziert haben, und trifft sich dabei auch mit den respektiven
Minderheiten.
Am 11. Januar 2006 ist die Expertenkommission im Flensborghus in Flensburg, wo sie
sich mit den dänischen Südschleswigern, den Friesen und den Sinti & Roma trifft.

DANK UND ABSURDITÄT
In der Implementierungskonferenz dankte der Minderheitenbeauftragte der
Bundesregierung Hans-Peter Kemper den Minderheiten für die gute Zuisammenarbeit
und sprach sich positiv um die Zukunft des Minderheitensekretariats beim
Bundesinnenministerium in Berlin aus. Es sei aber noch nicht alles geregelt.
Danach kamen die nationalen Minderheiten sowie die Sprachminderheiten zu Wort.
Dieter Paul Küssner, Vorsitzender des Sydslesvigsk Forening und des Gemeinsamen
Rates der dänischen Minderheit in Südschleswig, und Flemming Meyer,
Landesvorsitzender des SSW, schilderten das Jubiläumsjahr der Bonn-Kopenhagener
Erklärungen und die Landtagswahl in Schleswig-Holstein im Februar sowie die
Turbulenzen danach. Sie mahnten das Absurde an, dass die Gleichstellung auf dem
schul- und kulturpolitischen Sektor in Schleswig-Holstein noch nicht erreicht ist und bis
2008 hinausgeschoben ist, und dass Kreise und Gemeinden Kürzungen beim dänischen
Schülertransport durchführen werden - und dies gerade im Jubiläumsjahr der
Erklärungen. Küssner und Meyer dankten abschließend für die Einrichtung des
Minderheitensekretariats in Berlin.

DÄNEMARK UND DIE ERKLÄRUNGEN
Dieter Paul Küssner verwies auf ein Treffen mit dem dänischen Aussenminister Per Stig
Møller in Kopenhagen, wo der Minister deutlich machte, dass die Bonn-Kopenhagener

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Erklärungen die Grundlage für die Kopenhagen-Kriterien von 1993 bilden, die die EU
beschlossen hat, und deren Erfüllung Voraussetzung für die Aufnahme neuer Länder in
die EU ist. Auch - so der Minister - waren die Erklärungen eine nicht unerhebliche
Grundlage für das aussenpolitische Verhalten Dänemarks im Balkankonflikt. Er sei ohne
Verständnis dafür, dass man sich in Deutschland augenscheinlich auf
minderheitenpolitischem Rückzug befinde.

GESETZGEBUNG BEI DER GLEICHSTELLUNG NOTWENDIG
Küssner und Meyer unterstrichen in der Implementierungskonferenz, dass es notwendig
sei, die Gleichstellung auf gesetzlichem Wege herbei zu führen, da der Bund und das
Land Schleswig-Holstein augenscheinlich die Problematik auf der Basis der Freiwilligkeit
nicht lösen können. Ein solches Gleichstellungsgesetz wäre auch ein positives Signal in
Richtung auf Europa, meinten die beiden Vorsitzenden.
Die schleswig-holsteinische Minderheitenbeauftragte Caroline Schwarz bedauerte die
Situation, sah aber keine Lösungsmöglichkeiten vor 2008. Sie unterstrich die
Vollgültigkeit der SSW-Landtagsmandate und bedauerte bzw. distanzierte sich von
gewissen Aussagen nach der Landtagwahl - insbesondere von ihren eigenen
Parteifreunden.

NEUER VORSITZENDER DES MINDERHEITENRATES
In Verbindung mit der Implementierungskonferenz tagte auch der Minderheitenrat,
bestehend aus Vertretern der vier anerkannten nationalen Minderheiten in Deutschland.
Jan Nuck von den Sorben wurde fur ein Jahr neuer Sprecher des Minderheitenrates und
löst den dänischen Südschleswiger Dieter Paul Küssner ab, der das Amt ein Jahr inne
hatte.
Der Minderheitenrat wird Bundesinnenminister Wolfgang Schäuble vorschlagen, die
nationalen Minderheiten zu einem Hearing einzuladen, wenn z. B. ein neuer
Minderheitenbeauftragter ernannt wird.
Der Rat nahm des weiteren zur Kenntnis, dass Bundestagspräsident Norbert Lammert
zugesagt hat, die Minderheitenpolitik seines Vorgängers Wolfgang Thierse weiter zu
führen und sich mit dem Bundestags-Arbeitskreis für nationale Minderheiten zu treffen,
den der Minderheitenrat initiiert hat. Im Arbeitskreis treffen sich Minderheitenvertreter mit
Abgeordneten und Beamten des Bundestages.

DER ARBEITSKREIS
Die nächste Sitzung im Bundestags-Arbeitskreis für nationale Minderheiten findet am 8.
März in Berlin statt. Abschließend lädt er ein zu einem »Parlamentarischen Abend«.
Der Arbeitskreis wird sich auf seiner Sitzung mit der Föderalismus-Diskussion
auseinander setzen unter dem Gesichtspunkt der Schwierigkeiten des Schullasten-
Ausgleichs der Sorben, mit Subventionsfragen unter dem Gesichtspunkt der Ausnahme
der Minderheiten und der Kultur bei Kürzungen, mit dem Antidiskriminierungsgesetz, mit
dem FUEV-Minderheitenkongress in Bautzen im Mai 2006 sowie ggf. der Präsentation
der deutsch-dänischen Grenzregion als minderheitenpolitisches Kompetenzzentrum.



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2005/12/06 
“Greece should work off its complexes”
Witten, Press Release by ABTTF
 
When  the photos of the Muslims, who had to perform their ritual prayer at religious feast
in stadium corridors in Athens due to places of worship lack, were published in the
press,  “Greece should work off its complexes by opening worship places” says Halit
Habipoglu, chairman of  (ABTTF).
 
Greece resists not to open the places of worship, mosques, in Athens in spite of all
international pressures. 200.000 Muslims live in Athens, 15.000 of them are Turks and
still there is not a place of worship where the Muslims can perform their ritual prayer. In
this sense, Greece is the only country that does not have a mosque in its capital city in
EU – 15.  The Church is the most important player that is aganist the mosque project
which was a hot debate before Olimpic Games. The Church has principal privileges
stemming from its historical role in the formation of Greece nationalism. Also Greece is
an semi – theocratic state and this contribes the power of the Church as well. None of
the political parties including Socialist – Communist parties have been able to discuss
the privileged position of the Church.
The only conflict between the Church and the politics was about the elimination of the
religious classification on the national identitiy cards few years ago. The Church has a
determining role in politics and this was its first defeat. It still resists aganist the mosque
project in Athens.  
 
Islam Center project was a hot debate before and during Olimpic Games but the Church
pressed for an contra decision to be made with a last minute move and it was decided
that the building was to be constructed 40 km out of the city. The project was then
suspended due to two reasons; Muslims found this decision humiliating and also the
strong resistance of the ones, who thought that a mosque near to Athens airport would
give the image of an Islam country, affected the suspension process.
 
The ones who suffer most from this ambiguity are the Muslims while they are to perform
the worship at unhealthy locations. The situation of the ones who would like to perform
their feast ritual prayer collectively at Ramazan Feast clarifies the seriousness of the
problem. About 5000 Muslims had to take shelter in a stadium corridor while it was
raining heavily.
 
“This is a very clear form of religion freedom violation” says Halit Habipoglu, chairman of
(ABTTF) “The difficulties that the Muslims had to live to perform their feast ritual prayer
collectively are opprobrium for my country, Greece. Putting obstacles in religious
activities because of complexes and prejudices is unapprehensible. Greece should not
ignore the difficulties of the Muslims” emphasizes. Habipo?lu. Besides the mosque

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project that has not been able to applied until now, there are work of arts that are from
Ottoman Empire time and these are either not in use or been used as museum.
Habipo?lu continues as “These work of arts should be opened for worship. In Greece all
the affairs that are related with Muslims are under the control of the Church. To be able
to get permission from the metropolital; the minaret of the mosques built in Western 
Thrace must not be taller than campanile. We demand our rights, warranted by
international treaties, to be able to select our müfti,  we demand Greece to approve the
authorization of the müfti and the authoritized müfti will be responsible for the affairs
related with Muslims. We demand these requests to be satisfied to be able to survive as
a minority in a semi – theocratic country”.
 
More detailled information:

ABTTF
Johannisstraße 50
58452 Witten
Germany
Tel. +49.(0)2302 / 913291
Fax. +49.(0)2302 / 913293
E-Mail: news@abttf.org
Homepage: www.abttf.org


2005/12/05 
Press release by Political Movement "Rainbow"
Florina / Lerin
 
Surprised, bitterly disappointed and peeved, the European Free Alliance-Rainbow
witnessed recently- through the reports of the Greek Helsinki Monitor- and for yet
another time, Greek diplomats and members of the Greek Parliament grossly and
shamelessly lying in front of an international organization. This time, the Parliamentary
Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Council of Europe, where Greece
was reproached for the way it treats its Macedonian minority.
Our country, along with France, Turkey, Georgia and 5 other countries, has not yet
ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) of
the CoE (acting hypocritically, however, Greece was among the first countries to initially
sign the FCNM back in 1997).
Greek diplomat Georgios Ayfantis tried to justify this attitude on the 22nd of November in
Paris. Not surprisingly, he was aided by the New Democracy MP’s Miltiadis Varvitsiotis
and Elsa Papadimitriou and the guilty silence of their PASOK colleagues Theodoros
Pangalos and Athanassios Alevras. Among other, Mr. Ayfantis made the following
“amazing” statements:
 
“..These people (Slavophones) are free to speak their Slavic idiom and teach it in private
schoolsx”

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Until today, Greece’s immovable position on the linguistci issue is that the Macedonian
language is non-existent. Instead, in the Greek province of Western Macedonia, very
few elderly bilinguals speak an “oral Slavic idiom”. Maybe Mr. Ayfantis and the
“luminaries” that guide him could then explain how it is possible for an “oral idiom” to be
taught in schools and tell us how many of these schools exist in Greece.
 
“..The majority of them (Slavophones) do not wish to become a member of a minority, as
being a minority member means being marginalized.”
 
With minimum words, the Greek diplomat succeeded to describe what Greece has
“accomplished” during the last century, regarding the minorities in its soil. Integration
through violent assimilation or marginalization, since the people who are not “integrated”
cannot freely express their different ethnic identity or learn their mother tongue. At the
same time, he indirectly admits that these “Slavophones” are more that just some
thousands of elderly people. What Mr. Ayfantis didn’t explain is why Greece is refusing
Macedonians and other ethnic or linguistic groups the ability to state their particular
identity through the official national censuses, depriving them even from the basic right
of self-identification.
 
“..Historically, minorities have been used to break up states as in the case of Yugoslavia.
This is why Greece does not ratify the FCNMxIf Greece were to ratify it, there would be
no improvement for the man on the street, just more work for Greece in the Council of
Europe.”
 
According to the Greek official position, Greece is an ethnically and linguistically
homogenous state, with the exception of the so-called “Muslim” minority in W. Thrace.
Judging from Mr. Ayfantis’ statement, though, it seems that this is not exactly the case
since a clear fear towards the “non-existent” minorities is more than obvious. If Greece
had no minorities, what’s the reason of using Yugoslavia as an-misleading and
unfortunate-example?
If we put things under the same perspective, aren’t the Greek minority schools in
Southern Albania and the Greek-Orthodox minority in Turkey (by far smaller in numbers
than the Macedonians in Greece) also destabilizing factors? Yet, Greek diplomacy and
politicians pledge for the Greek minorities’ rights in neighboring countries with clarion
voice and in every given opportunity.
In any case, if Greece was so afraid not to have the fate of Yugoslavia, then why it
gladly and immediately signed the FCNM, while now is refusing to ratify it? Did
minorities appear in the country only after 1997 and never existed before? Or is it just
because ratification would mean more work for Mr. Ayfantis and his over well-paid
colleagues, as he also naively admitted?
 
“xThe FCNM was a useful tool for the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the fall of
the Milosevic regime but is irrelevant today.”  
 

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In other words, Greece signs, ratifies and implements the international conventions only
when they serve Greek interests or when they are used for others. When this is not the
case, Greece degrades, forgets and defames the conventions.
 
“xThe few (Slavophones) who are represented by (Macedonian minority party) Rainbow
are people who want to get secession from Greece and join FYROM, supported by
people in FYROM.”
 
When the total absence of arguments to justify what cannot be justified leads to libelous
imputation and defamation, the answer should be clear. EFA-Rainbow will file a
denunciative complaint  against Mr. Ayfantis and his superiors. This way, they will be
forced to prove their outrageous allegations shamelessly uttered  when Greece is
continuously sitting on the “accused dock” of the international community. They must
realize, at last, that modesty, patience and tolerance cannot be interpreted as
weakness._
 
The Press Office of EFA -Rainbow  



2005/12/02 
European Free Alliance- Rainbow delegation visited Brussels during the last days
of November to participate at a UN Conference  focused on Roma and other
minorities in “old” EU member states.
Florina/Lerin,
Press release by Political Movement “Rainbow”
 
At its presentation, EFA-Rainbow referred to the extremely difficult conditions almost all
minority groups in Greece still have to face, something that’s also recorded to the
reports published by various international organizations. In particular, the Macedonians
in Greece have to confront the inflexible and highly hypocritical attitude of the Greek
authorities and their ongoing refusal to participate in a dialogue that could improve
today’s- unacceptable for an EU member state- conditions in issues like the Macedonian
language.

Therefore, the strict and continuous control of the implementation of the Copenhagen
criteria for all EU members (not selectively only for the new or the candidate ones) and
the imposition of sanctions if necessary, are of utmost importance
 
The EFA-Rainbow delegation was also received by the EFA-EPP President Mrs. Nelly
Maes and additionally met with parliamentarians and European Commission officials, in
order to brief them about all issues concerning the Macedonians in Greece.
Consequently, the Petition Commission of the European Parliament has initially
accepted the Petition application  that EFA-Rainbow filed last summer and forwarded it
to the European Commission for thorough examination.

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The Petition refers to the clear violation of the European Convention for Human Rights
from Greece. Among other things, it requests the revocation of the racist law 1266/1982
that deprives until today from the forcibly expatriated Macedonian political refugees
during the Greek Civil War (1946-1949), the right to return to their birth places.
 
During the visit of the EFA-Rainbow members to Brussels, Mrs. Nelly Maes met with a
highly-ranked diplomat of the Greek Embassy in the Belgian capital. Despite the fact that
a meeting request with the Greek Ambassador was sent from EFA-EPP about a month
ago before the visit, as well as the repeated attempts to get an answer, this was
received literally the last moment and under the precondition that only Mrs. Maes would
be present.
 
This comes as no surprise, judging from the recent similar incident (early November)
when the Greek Ministry of Education excluded EFA-Rainbow from the scheduled
meeting with the president of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN).
Therefore, EFA-Rainbow would like, for yet another time, to invite the Greek authorities
to start a mutually beneficial dialogue. After all, they need to realize that this elusive &
cyclical policy has led only to deadlocks so far and does not even remotely belong to a
European Union at the 21st century._
 
The EFA- Rainbow Press Office




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