The Central Council advocates the support and protection of the German Sinti and Roma as a national minority. There are four long established national minorities in Germany: the German Sinti and Roma, the Danish minority, the Frisian ethnic group, and the Sorbian people. On 11 May 1995, the Federal Republic of Germany legally recognised the German Sinti and Roma as a national minority by signing the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe. The result of the civil rights work of the Sinti and Roma, it was an important success for the Central Council and its state associations.
In addition to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities serves as the guideline for the implementation of minority protection in Germany. By signing the Framework Convention, the federal government undertook “to promote the conditions necessary for persons belonging to national minorities to maintain and develop their culture, and to preserve the essential elements of their identity, namely their religion, language, traditions and cultural heritage.” At the same time, the Framework Convention prohibits any discrimination against anyone belonging to a national minority, and aims to protect the existence of national minorities within the respective territories of the State Parties by taking appropriate measures.
As part of its work on minority rights, the Central Council calls on the federal and state governments to take the German Sinti and Roma into account when implementing the obligations arising from the international agreements. The Central Council represents the interests of the minority vis-à-vis national and international political institutions and committees. It also participates in legislative initiatives of the Federal Parliament that are relevant to minority policy. At the state level, the Central Council advocates the conclusion of contractual arrangements (“state treaties”) between its state associations and states governments, which would implement the protection of minorities in line with the Framework Convention.
Current demands of the Central Council regarding the protection of minorities
Germany-wide regulation concerning the protection and preservation of graves belonging to the victims of Nazi persecution
Participation of the representatives of Sinti and Roma in broadcasting councils and state media authorities
Measures in the field of education
Important successes of the Central Council in minority policy
The official recognition of the German Sinti and Roma as a national minority
Schleswig-Holstein amends its state constitution to include the German Sinti and Roma in the minority protection article
Collaboration with national and international committees
The Minority Council
Round Table on the National Minorities at the German Federal Parliament (Committee for Internal Affairs)
Joint conferences of the German federal and state governments and the minorities on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
Advisory committee for issues related to the German Sinti and Roma
Advisory Council of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency
Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN)
Human Dimension Implementation Meetings of the OSCE
The protection of minorities – instruments and legal basis
State treaties and framework agreements
The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights