German State of Rhineland-Palatinate Recognises Roma as National Minority

01 February 2006

According to a report by BBC News, on 25 July 2005, the German State of Rhineland-Palatinate became the first German state to officially recognise the Romani language and culture when it signed an agreement recognising German Sinti and Roma as a national minority. The agreement requires that the government provide financial support of Roma and Sinti Culture and protect the Romani language. Furthermore, as a minority group, Roma will be able to use the Romani language in official state settings, and Romani and Sinti history will be taught to all students attending state schools.

There are approximately 80,000 Roma and Sinti in Germany with approximately 8,000 living in Rhineland-Palatinate. The Federal German state has considered Roma and Sinti a national minority since 1995, but previously they have not received any of the legal protection, political privileges, or reserved representation given to other minority groups.

(BBC News)

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