SILESIAN AUTONOMY MOVEMENT - USA
P.O. BOX 15823, CLEARWATER, FL 33763-5823, USA. msz@republikasilesia.com
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WARSZAWA A RUH AUTONOOMI S'LOONSKA

SLOONSKO TRAGEDIA
 
 

IN ENGLISH

Dear Friends,

Silesians in Poland make up a community of more than one million people. Nonetheless, founder-members of a minority movement, the Union of Population of Silesian Nationality, had to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights after the Polish Supreme Court ruled in 1998 that a Silesian nation does not exist. One of the biggest national minorities in Central Europe must now wait for a verdict of the European Court, which will rule whether Poland is obliged to recognise our nationality.

Although the Republic of Poland ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, Silesians are officially regarded only as an ethnic group within the Polish nation. According to sociological research, about 15-20% of Upper Silesian people regard themselves Silesian, and as a nation separate from Poles, Czechs or Germans, but are refused official recognition by the State authorities. Moreover, those people are considered “separatists without national awareness”, in official propaganda.

Most likely the European Court will rule on our case in this spring or summer. We believe that the verdict will coincide with principles set out in the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, of which implementation by national/European structures we consider much more important to minorities than merely its ratification.

We kindly ask you to inform members of your association, party, your compatriots, governments of your region/nation and state, about our struggles and the situation of Silesians. Your assistance will be a great honour to us.

Yours sincerely,
 

Foreign Department of
the Silesian Autonomy Movement
www.raslaska.org 


FOR RIGHTS OF SILESIAN NATION !

EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
STRASBURG MAY 17th, 2001
 
 

Silesians in Poland make up a community of more than one million people. Nonetheless, founder-members of a minority movement, the Union of Population of Silesian Nationality, had to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights after the Polish Supreme Court ruled in 1998 that a Silesian nation does not exist. One of the biggest national minorities in Central Europe must now wait for a verdict of the European Court, which will rule whether Poland is obliged to recognise our nationality.
Although the Republic of Poland ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, Silesians are officially regarded only as an ethnic group within the Polish nation. According to sociological research, about 15-20% of Upper Silesian people regard themselves Silesian, and as a nation separate from Poles, Czechs or Germans, but are refused official recognition by the State authorities. Moreover, those people are considered “separatists without national awareness”, in official propaganda.

ABOUT SILESIA

Silesia is a Central European country partitioned between three states: Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany. It consists of two historical regions: Lower and Upper Silesia. Its area is 44.992sq.km (Lower Silesia - 26.592 sq.km. Upper Silesia - 18.400 sq.km).It borders Saxony and Brandenburg (Germany), Wielkopolska and Małopolska (Poland), Moravia and Bohemia (the Czech Republic) and Slovakia.
The capital and the largest city of Silesia is Wrocław (Breslau). Silesia`s other major cities include Legnica, Goerlitz, Opole (historical capital of Upper Silesia), Katowice, Gliwice and Opava. At present three artificial regions exist in Silesia, which respect neither regional traditions nor historical boundaries.

POPULATION OF SILESIA
About 8 million people. Nowadays ethnic Poles, descendants of Polish new settlers who moved to Lower Silesia after 1945, constitute more than 95% of Lower Silesian population. The situation is different in Upper Silesia, where about 40% of the inhabitants are ethnic Silesians. The Upper Silesian population consists of ca. 25% of people of Silesian nationality (about 1 000 000 people), 10% of Germans and about 65% of Poles. Moravians and Czechs also live in the Czech part of Upper Silesia.

ABOUT SILESIANS

Under the communist regime/1945-1989/ the Silesian were either forced to leave their motherland or become Polish. According to historical research more than 90% of Lower Silesians /of German nationality/ and about 50% of the Upper Silesian population had to leave their homes and move to Germany. The rebirth of the Silesian nationhood and autonomism took place in late 1980‘s due to democratic changes in Poland and in the Central Europe. Nowadays the Silesian Autonomy Movement, the Upper Silesians‘ Association and the Silesian Academic Association are very active movements advocating autonomy for Silesia.

OUR GOALS
Our main purpose is to protect our own identity. We will vigorously oppose all attempts of assimilation against our will. At the same time, remaining faithful to Silesian tradition of openness, we declare our readiness to cooperate with all national and ethnic groups living in Silesia in order to develop this land in every respect. Together with regionalist and minority groups, we will promote the model of a society diversified nationally, culturally and linguistically. A society whose keystone is common rights and civic liberties. We want to see a state that acts as a guarantor of these rights and not as a bureaucratic machine strangling the freedom of the individual. We proclaim categorical war on all forms of collectivism and centralism.
By signing the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Rights of Minorities, Poland indubitably moved in the right direction. However, we believe that modernising Polish society will require developing new approaches to issues of honouring and guaranteeing national and minority rights. This becomes a stronger imperative with the European unification process.

Since we believe in justice we hope that the European Court of Human Rights will not deprive our nation of a right to be recognised as such.
 
 
 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SILESIA, SILESIANS AND OUR POLITICAL AND CULTURAL ACTIVITIES, PLEASE WRITE TO:

SILESIAN AUTONOMY MOVEMENT - USA
P.O. BOX 15823, CLEARWATER, FL 33763-5823, USA.

SILESIAN AUTONOMY MOVEMENT,
Plac Wolno¶ci 7, 44-200 RYBNIK, POLAND,
http://www.raslaska.org,
e-mail: foreign.dept@raslaska.org



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