What does majority rule mean minority rights

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The protection of the national minorities in Germany and their languages ​​is guaranteed by provisions of German law as well as international agreements.

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Our constitution prohibits any form of discrimination on the basis of language or on the basis of homeland and origin (Article 3 Paragraph 3 Clause 1 of the Basic Law). In addition to legislation, the administration at all levels of the state and the judiciary are bound by this. This already protects minorities in Germany. There are also other regulations and agreements.

Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

external linkOverview of the reports of the Federal Republic of Germany on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and opinions of the Council of Europe

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The Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of National Minorities prohibits any discrimination against a person because of his or her membership of a national minority. It also protects members of these minorities from being assimilated against their will. It also obliges the member states to protect civil liberties and to undertake extensive promotional measures for the benefit of national minorities.

For Germany, the Framework Convention came into force on February 1, 1998 and has the status of a federal law.

The signatory states must fully inform the Council of Europe about the implementation within one year of the entry into force. After that, they have to report every five years. An advisory committee of independent experts supports the Council of Europe in its control tasks.

European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

Minority and regional languages ​​traditionally spoken in a country are to be protected and promoted with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages ​​as a threatened aspect of European cultural heritage.

In Germany, six minority languages ​​are protected under the Charter:

  • Danish
  • North Frisian
  • Sater Frisian
  • Romanes
  • Lower Sorbian
  • Upper Sorbian

The regional language Low German, which is spoken in eight of the sixteen German federal states, is also protected as an independent language.

The state measures provided for in the Language Charter relate to various areas of life.

This includes the following measures:

  • Teaching the language and in the language
  • Use of regional or minority languages ​​in front of administrative authorities
  • Use of the language in radio and press, in cultural activities and institutions as well as in economic and social life

Implementation of the language charter

The signatory states have the option of choosing between several commitments from the above-mentioned areas of life. Each contracting party must apply at least 35 paragraphs or paragraphs from the obligations listed in the Language Charter.

In the Federal Republic of Germany, the federal states are responsible for the implementation of the language charter and only to a lesser extent the federal government. Prior to the signing of the Language Charter by the Federal Republic of Germany, the federal states were given the opportunity to commit themselves to the implementation of individual measures, adapted to the different living conditions of the individual minority and language groups on site. The obligations of the respective countries therefore vary in detail - depending on the minority and / or language group residing there.

The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages ​​is also an agreement of the Council of Europe. It came into force for Germany on January 1, 1999. Like the Framework Convention, the Language Charter is a federal law in Germany. Like all other signatory states, Germany must submit a report on the implementation of the Language Charter to the Council of Europe every three years, from July 2021 every five years. The Council of Europe is supported in its control tasks by a committee of experts.

Bundestag electoral law and party law

The so-called five percent clause and the so-called basic mandate clause state that in Bundestag elections, when allocating the seats to the state lists, only those parties are taken into account that receive at least five percent of the second votes or that have won a direct mandate in at least three constituencies. These regulations do not apply to parties of national minorities (Section 6 (3) sentence 2 of the Federal Election Act).
In the Federal Election Act, special regulations were also made for district election proposals and the state lists of parties of national minorities with regard to the requirement of supporting signatures (Section 20 (2) sentence 3, Section 27 (1) sentence 4 of the Federal Election Act).

According to the Political Parties Act, parties of national minorities are privileged in terms of state funding and in collecting foreign donations (Section 18 (4) sentence 3, Section 25 (2) No. 3b of the Political Parties Act).

European Union Roma Strategy

During the Hungarian Council Presidency in 2011, the European Union asked the member states to draw up a report on national strategies or political packages of measures for the integration of the Roma by 2020. The report of the Federal Republic of Germany "EU framework for national strategies for the integration of the Roma up to 2020 - Integrated packages of measures for the integration and participation of the Sinti and Roma in Germany" was submitted to the European Commission on December 23, 2011.

Since then, the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Home Affairs has been compiling a report every year at the request of the European Commission on the progress made in implementing these packages of measures (so-called progress reports). In accordance with the requirements of the EU, the reports refer not only to the German Sinti and Roma who are recognized as a national minority in Germany, but also to foreign Sinti and Roma living in Germany.

more on the subject

Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

    Language Charter

      EU Roma strategy