Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Sinti and Romani Rights in Germany: A Declaration

On two occasions in the Church of Reconciliation's history, in 1980 and 1993, Sinti and Romani peoples have maintained a hunger strike in the Discussion Room of the Church in opposition to the German government's attempt to deport them back to nations where they have been persecuted for centuries. I have just had the opportunity to look through some of the press cuttings and official statements from that time when I saw a familar name on one of them...

DECLARATION

1. Recognising our duty to protect and promote the dignity of peoples, we place ourselves agains any form of discrimination of people, and thus also against the discrimination of Sinti.

2. We want to do everything in our respective churches, wich which we can deconstruct this aforementioned prejudice and awaken understanding for the particular situation of these, our people living among us.

3. At the same time we request that in this respect both the Bavarian State government and the government of the Federal Rupublic of Germany produce an explanation with respect to the situation soon.

Munich, the 10th September 1980

Johannes Hanselmann, Regional Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Bavaria

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Archbishop of Munich and Freising

Given that ASF were in Dresden two weeks ago campaigning for the rights of those Romani from Kosovo who fled here during the Civil War, it's a shame that the issue is still here, over thirty years later. Incidentally, His Holiness has spoken out quite often to protect the rights of migrants and refugees. It's nice to see it is not merely a Vatican position he's defending but one he's had for many years since...

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