Why has the RNC chosen Germany for the seat of
its European central office?
More than any other country, Germany incorporates the continuity of
the persecution of the Romani people through history. Nothing is comparable
with the Nazi genocide on Roma, and no current policy is comparable with
the power Germany exerts in today's Europe.
Germany has a special role in coordinating Romani East-West migrations,
characterized by two main factors;
It is strongly affected by events in eastern Europe, including migration,
due to its geographic position and to its expanded contact network with
Since reunification, it has begun to redefine its political role in both
domestic and international affairs, often using foreign policy as an instrument
for securing public support on the short-term domestic political front.
Fighting immigration and immigrants has proven to be such an issue, with
the Roma as the traditional scapegoat on the top of the list of unwanted
foreigners "flooding" Germany.
In it's passivity toward the Romani situation,
Germany already falls behind its obligations as a member of the international
community and the EC: It refuses to acknowledge the Roma as an national
minority, it refuses to implement European and international resolutions
and recommendations, it refuses to allow naturalization of Roma born in
Germany or even renaturalization of Roma who lost their citizenship during
the Nazi dictatorship. German authorities also continuously refuse to take
part in round table discussions with Romani representatives, other than
those appointed and directed by the Federal Government itself. German police
have been repeatedly criticized by international organizations - recently
by the UN-Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in its
session in Geneva on 11-12 August, 1993 - for its passive role in violent
attacks by right-wing radicals against minority groups.
Germany also refuses to implement the Geneva Convention on Refugees:
It's Asylum and Aliens Acts include no administrative regulations for applying
the Convention, a fact that has often been criticized by UNHCR and refugee
organizations. Some 200 applications in accordance with the Geneva Convention
were filed by Romani families in May 1990, and have never been processed
according to procedure, despite repeated petitions by Romani organizations,
lawyers and members of the Bundestag.
The unique quality of Germany's active measures
are recognizable in its efforts to tie economic aid to restrictions on
migrations: Germany has signed treaties with a number of eastern European
governments (Poland, Czech Republic, Rumania, Slovakia, Croatia), allowing
indiscriminate deportation of stateless refugees (e.g. from former Yugoslavia)
to the partner countries. The partners are expected to prevent potential
refugees from leaving or crossing their territory without necessary visa.
By declaring its neighbors "secure third states," (transit through which
does not entitle refugees to file an asylum application), while at the
same time refusing international cooperation on support for refugees and
on eliminating human rights violation, Germany has provoked a chain reaction
across Europe: No state can allow itself to confront the problems of the
Romani refugees constructively, for fear of carrying the burden of granting
protection and security alone. Thus, eastern European governments have
followed the model introduced by Germany with each of the parties and have
signed bilateral treaties among themselves, aiming to restrict the movement
of potential refugees.
Despite the fact that the treaties are an instrument
to restrict Romani migration, the economic aid granted by Germany in return
for cooperation in preventing migration is not specified in terms of development
aid intended for the benefit of the Romani community. Thus, Germany has
succeeded in establishing a precedence for using western economic aid as
a tool for restricting freedom of movement, rather than controlling the
protection of human rights. By doing so, it not only fails to assume responsibility
towards minority rights in a changing eastern European society, but it
also encourages restrictions imposed on minorities.