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   Posted by Robert on 07/19/01 at 6:09 PM

Subject:   Re: O Uoorzycah (UN Appeal)

Message Posted

In Reply to: O Uoorzycah posted by Robert Brytan on 07/15/01 at 5:45 AM:

Germany Forcing Minority Resettlement Commission on Human Rights

55th Session of the Commission on Human Rights / Item 10 of the Provisional

Agenda / Written Statement of the Society for Threatened Peoples
Disregard of the Cultural Rights of the Sorbian People in Germany

Sorbian Settlements threatened

Since the German reunification, the Society for Threatened Peoples has
observed with concern growing repression and disregard of the cultural
rights of the old-established and autochthonous national minority of the
Sorbs in Germany. The small western Slav nation of the Sorbs has lived in
the area of Lusatia in the territory of the eastern German states of Sachsen
and Brandenburg since the 6th century. Sixty thousand people profess their
Sorbian origins, only half of them still speak the language of their
predecessors. A study made by theEuropean Commission counts Sorbian as one
of the European languages threatened with extinction. A decade has passed
since German reunification. The German government had, already in 1998 under
the leadership of the former Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, begun dismantling the
measures taken to protect the language and culture of the Sorbs. Instead of
undertaking strong efforts to save the Sorbian language, the government had
begun to halve their subsidy for the Foundation for the Sorbian People
(Stiftung fuer das sorbische Volk). The Foundation maintains the majority of
the organisations of the Sorbian people in the fields of education and
culture. Sorbian schools, nursery schools, media, etc are threatened with
their existence.

The settlements of the Sorbian people are continuing to be threatened with
destruction by the quarrying of brown coal. Already in the period of the
communist German Democratic Republic, which suffered under a chronic
shortage of raw materials, numerous Sorbian villages had been torn down
recklessly, and residents were forcibly resettled because they stood in the
way of the mining of brown coal. This process is being continued in the
Federal Republic of Germany after reunification. Although the Sorbian
settlements enjoy special protection in the constitution of the German state
of Brandenburg, the Brandenburg parliament passed a special law on the
extraction of brown coal, on the 11th of June 1997. It permitted the
electrical company, RWE, to tear down Sorbian villages which were found on
the planned route of the excavators from the open-cast mine. The
German-Sorbian village of Horno (German)/Rogow (Sorbian) was dissolved on 27
September 1998, forced resettlement is threatening its inhabitants.

The Society for Threatened Peoples appeals to the UN Human Rights Commission
to demand a stop to the disregard of the rights of the Sorbian people in
Germany, in that the Commission: demands active measures and strengthened
efforts to save the Sorbian people by the German government;
calls upon the German government to maintain the Foundation for the Sorbian
People and to revise the cutting of supporting funds;
calls upon the German government to emphatically respect the traditional
settlement areas of the Sorbian people and to preserve the German-Sorbian
village of Horno/Rogow.


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