Romani Organisations unite against right-wing campaign in Germany

The German daily Junge Welt reported on January 28, 1999, that twenty-seven organisations, among them the Hessen-based Union of Sinti and Roma, had formed an alliance to call upon the centre-right opposition parties CDU/CSU to stop a signature campaign against the amendment of the German law on citizenship. Shortly following their election in October 1998, the coalition government comprising the Social Democratic Party of Germany and the Greens/Union 90 announced, as part of a package programme for the new govern-ment, that it would seek to amend the frequently criticised law on German citizenship. The present law is based on the blood-principle of national belonging - the notion that citizenship is awarded on an ethnic basis - and rules out the possibility of dual citizenship. The planned changes have divided the right-wing opposition into nationalist and tolerant camps, especially after the CSU began the signature campaign against the amendment in December. Roma, especially among the large Turkish and Yugoslav communities, would benefit from the proposed amendment to the law.

In other German news, on January 27, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported that German border guards had refused entry to two separate groups of Czech and Slovak Roma because they did not have the required amount of money - fifty German marks (approximately 25 euros) per day - to enter the country. The report claimed that the majority of people crossing the German border were not required to prove that they had the necessary amount of money.

(Junge Welt, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

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