Minority rights

Protest march against exclusion and forced eviction of Roma in Cluj / Romania, Juli 2015 © Fotis Filippou

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

Important successes of the Central Council in minority policy

Collaboration with national and international committees

The protection of minorities – instruments and legal basis


Related topics and contributions: