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CONSEU (Conferència de Nacions sense Estat d'Europa)


Barcelona, 3rd of October 2005

CONSEU LogoThe VI Assembly of the Conference of Stateless Nations of Europe (CONSEU), after examining and discussing for three days about the topic "New immigration and stateless nations in Europe: challenges and solutions" has drafted the following considerations:

1) Even though migration flows constitute a traditional phenomenon in the European continent, the causes that provoke them are new. Nowadays, the number of immigrants arriving to Europe is increasing considerably due to three major reasons. Firstly because the differences between the North and the South have never been so deep. Secondly, because of the frantic exploitation of the resources carried out by the Northern countries in the areas where immigrants comes from. And in the third place due to the globalisation of communications and information.

2) This situation is not being counterbalanced by effective European cooperation policies with appropriate means and resources and able to foster a sustainable economical and social development in the immigrant's countries of origin. Moreover, when arriving to Europe, the immigrants' conditions worsen because they face accommodation difficulties and need to regularize their working status –even though the working market is actually demanding more labour hand.

3) In this context, those who ultimately suffer the causes and consequences of emigration are members of excluded and persecuted peoples in their native territories for their belonging to linguistic and cultural minoritised communities. In general terms, these people are not received in the new countries as members of downtrodden peoples deserving special attention but as merely citizens of the states that keep them oppressed and, in the best of cases, as victims of restrictive immigration laws instead of full citizens with full rights.

Consequently, the participants of the VI Assembly of the CONSEU:

1) Demand, in accordance with articles 15-18 of the Universal Declaration of the Collective Rights of Peoples (which constitutes the basic doctrine of the CONSEU), respect for the rights of peoples and individuals, specially those excluded both for their poverty and for the lack of recognition of their rights as a distinctive people.

2) Commit ourselves to collaborate in projects aiming at improving the socio-economic conditions of the migrant's countries.

3) Denounce the stateless nations' lack of political power to implement policies regarding the migration phenomenon or to manage immigration itself, given the fact that the States keep for themselves full power to legislate, regardless of the guidelines drawn by the European institutions.

In order to face the challenges of migration, which are also affecting us, the participants of the CONSEU, being as we are citizens of stateless nations, have concluded that:

1) If, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to a nationality and no one can be denied the right to change it, this principle should also be applied to immigrants. Their individual rights must be combined with their right and duty to become members of the new community. It is not about imposing integration or assimilation upon immigrants; it is about inviting them to participate in a project of collective life. It must be reminded, though, that this participation will be a fact if the receiving members of the society and the newcomers respect each other for what they are, regardless of whether they are recognised at a state level or not. The recognition of the immigrant for what he/she is constitutes the fundamental basis for the newcomer to acknowledge the receiving society for what it is.

2) The immigrant must have the right to contribute to the enrichment and configuration of the collective life through their countries' cultural knowledge They must also have the right to vote in the elections that might affect him directly, a previous step to fully participate in the new society's political life.

3) The reciprocal respect between newcomers and receivers must be favoured by the civil society, which should provide itself with appropriate organisations to approach the immigrants and help them to get documents of residence and work papers, healthcare, accommodation, etc. Good living-standards would make their adaptation faster and easier and would open the door to a real cultural exchange, and at the same time would prevent the formation of ghettoes.

4) Stateless nations, being as they are receivers of new immigration, should have the political power to implement policies through their public institutions. Immigrants, then, could be received as members of distinctive peoples rather than simply members of a determinate state.

5) Language plays a very important role in the life of the community and is one of the key elements to foster the relationship between receivers and newcomers. In the context of the stateless nations:

a) The language of the nation must be a socialisation tool, a link amongst speakers of different languages and the common language of those who share a territory and want to build a community based on respect. Therefore, it must also be the language of education, institutional communications and new technologies.

b) Immigrants should be informed about the “real” country they have migrated to, what is the language and the culture of the territory. This is particularly important in stateless nations with languages minoritised by state policies. They should also be informed about the real causes of language fragmentation, impoverishment and minorisation.

c) Information programmes should be launched in order to make the newcomers see the need to contribute to the nation-building process through language. To do so, the members of the stateless nation must set a good example using the common language everywhere and without shifting to the most powerful.

d) Promoting the teaching and usage of the language is crucial. In this process, national institutions –if they exist-, social movements and civil society must play a very important role in making the endangered language more prestigious and counterbalance the power of the state language –which could be official or co-official in the national territory.

e) European institutions should distinguish between language policies to be implemented in minoritised communities and those addressed to groups of immigrants with different languages. This should be so because the indigenous languages are the result of individual and collective rights of people living in a territorial community, whereas the languages of the immigrants must be placed in the field of individual rights since the speakers are not living in the territory where the collective rights should be applied.

Finally, the participants of the VI Assembly agree to call for the VII Assembly by the end of 2006 under the theme "Proposals by stateless nations on the reform of the international organisations (UN and others)".

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