FUEN CONGRESS 2012 IN MOSCOW
FUEN explores Russia – Minority Congress in Moscow
There are about 190 minorities and nationalities in Russia. More than 230 languages are being spoken. “Russia is a multifaceted country, which surely cannot be explorer in detail within four days. However, I think that we and our 170 guests know a little more now that we travel back home today”, said FUEN-president Hans Heinrich Hansen, feeling positively about the 57th Congress of FUEN, the umbrella organisation of the minorities in Europe.
The programme ranged from a ballet performance in the Bolshoi-Theatre to contributions about the situation in the Northern Caucasus. The Congress in Moscow – in the German-Russian House and organised by the association of the Germans in Russia – dealt with three main topics: the general situation of the minorities/nationalities in Russia and in the states that were part of the Soviet Union in the past. In particular the significance of linguistic diversity in Russia was explored. A discussion took place on the negotiations between the Council of Europe and the Russian Federation about the ratification of the European Language Charter that already are going on for three years. Additionally FUEN started on the elaboration of its fourth fundamental right: namely the Right to Language. Before the delegates started to work on these subjects, the congress started with a word of welcome by the newly elected President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, which was read out to the audience.
The situation of the nationalities was one of the main topics for discussion under the motto of “Russia – the unknown multi-ethnic state”. Based on discussions and lectures an ad-hoc working group was formed during the congress, which drafted a congressional statement. This statement calls upon the government in Moscow to implement the existing laws in practice. Many of such laws have been enacted in the field of the protection and the promotion of nationalities, minorities and languages. It also calls for the ratification of the Charter for Regional or Minority Languages by the Russian government.
The Director for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, René Weingärtner, had a message to the members of FUEN. “We want to work together with you – cooperation between civil society and the Council of Europe is very important to us. That is why we want you to consider how in the future we may improve our cooperation in a tangible way”, said Weingärtner.
Three Members of Parliament represented the European Parliament. The chairman of the Intergroup for national minorities, Csaba Tabajdi, praised the cooperation with FUEN, which he wants to intensify during the second half of the parliamentary period.
The discussion on the European Citizens’ Initiative, one of the focus areas of FUEN, which is supported by MEP Iuliu Winkler (FUEN member from RMDSZ, Hungarians in Romania) and by the Intergroup and several FUEN-members, led to an active exchange of views. The idea to start a Citizens’ Initiative and to collect 1 million signatures to improve the situation of the autochthonous minorities in Europe was clearly welcomed in the contributions by the members and FUEN was urged to continue to work actively on its realisation.
At the Assembly of Delegates of FUEN – the highest decision-making body of the organisation, the delegates had to decide about six resolutions (Hungarian minority in Romania; Sorbs from Lusatia, Germany; Danish minority from Germany; Balkars from Russia; Western Thrace Turks from Greece; Greeks from Istanbul/Turkey) and three congress statements (Western Thrace Turks, Germans from Russia and a statement on the situation of the minorities in Russia). All resolutions and statements were adopted. Four applications for membership were also accepted: the Association of the Carinthian Slovenes SKS, the Burgenland Croats from Vienna and their Croatian Centre, the Balkars-Karachay from BarsEL and the EBLUL Member State Committee Germany were admitted as members by the delegates of the FUEN-Congress. FUEN consists now of 94 member organisations
Resolutions and statements
Resolution submitted by Sydslesvigsk Forening: Free und unrestricted reception of TV-signals
Resolution submitted by the Ecumenical Federation of Constantinopler: Right of victims of gross violations of human rights
Resolution submitted by the representatives of the Western Thrace Turks in Greece: Rights of the Turkish minority in Greece
Statement on the “urgent situation of the repressed Balkar people in the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic of the Russian Federation.”