Saturday, 27 September 2008

Breizh 44

BREIZH - MASS MEETING ON RE-UNIFICATION ISSUE

Over 10000 people took to the streets of the ancient Breton capital of Naoned/Nantes last Saturday (20th September 2008) to demand the re-unification of Brittany.

The demonstrators - a large proportion of which were young people - were calling for the re-unification of Breizh/Brittany, in addition to increased rights for the Breton language and more legislative powers. Chanting slogans such as "Justice for the Bretons", "One solution: autonomy for Brittany" and "We want it, we'll have it - re-unification", the protesters showed the strength of feeling for re-unification that continues to grow (five years ago a similar demostration attracted 5000 supporters) for this part of the French administrative region of Loire Atlantique, which was cut off from the rest of the Breton nation in 1941.

In the last year there has been growing tension in the French department where Naoned/Nantes and its Breton envrons is currently located. Last November three Breton political activists appeared before a French court in Saint-Nazaire accused of causing vandalism to public property, following a spate of '44=bzh' grafitti (44 is the number given to the Nantes French department). The graffiti appeared on signs where public funded advertising by the President of the French Pays de la Loire region, Jacques Auxiette, attempted to show Loire-Atlantique as the Pays de la Loire region.

There was a festival atmosphere to the demonstration with pipe bands and Breton dancing, with musicians such as Alan Stivel and Jean-Louis Jossic also present. A number of elected officials also took part in the parade, including Jean-Yves Le Drian, President of Brittany, Patrick Mareschal, President of General Advice for Loire-Atlantique and Jean-Louis Jossic, Cultural Assistant to the Mayor of Nantes.

Many activists from Brittany Reunie called for re-unification and Jean-Louis Jossic called for a referendum on the issue. The Union Democratique Bretonne (UDB) also had a large contingent of supporters in Naoned/Nantes for the event. A UDB youth member Gael Briand said: "it's such a good thing that youth of Brittany participated to this demonstration! It means that the cultural movement is getting younger so it's good news for the future... it was also a great success for UDB and UDBy..."

The Celtic League have been a long campaigner of Breton unification. At its 2000 AGM it reiterated its earlier call to reunify the historic Brittany with the resolution:

"This AGM of the Celtic League:

Reiterates its call to the Breton Regional Council and the Department Council of Loire-Atlantique to demand that the French Government re-unify historic Brittany in line with the wishes of the people made clear in recent opinion polls."

J B Moffatt

Director of Information

Celtic League

23/09/08

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.

TEL (UK) 01624 877918
MOBILE (UK) 07624 491609

Internet site at:

http://celticleague.net/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Our languages are Europes heritage

Just a quick note on two subjects; 1) to highlight the story below and 2) to bring to your attention the all new singing and dancing Eurominority website.

‘Regional’ languages recognised as ‘part of France’s heritage’

Brussel - Bruxelles, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 Ecrit par Davyth Hicks

The clause that “Regional languages are part of France’s heritage” will be included in Article 75 of France’s Constitution following a vote in the Senate yesterday. The Senate’s decision followed a second vote last week in the National Assembly calling for the introduction of the clause. The move has been given a qualified welcome by ‘regional’ language supporters, with the NGO EBLUL calling for France to go the extra mile and ratify the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

As reported on Eurolang, recognition was previously voted down by the Senate in June following a vitriolic response from the French Academy, which had called for the withdrawal of the proposed clause because recognition of ‘regional’ languages would, it said, "undermine national identity". This provoked a huge outcry from language supporters, many of whom have seen their languages become endangered because of an ongoing French state policy of eradication.

Marc le Fur, the Breton UMP deputy who pressed for the clause, expressed his “great satisfaction” yesterday on the Senate’s decision.

In a press release EBLUL President, Neasa Ní Chinnéide, while welcoming the move, added that, “EBLUL stresses that the regional languages of France also belong to a European and global linguistic heritage. It is hoped that this recognition will reinforce the European policy of meaningful linguistic diversity on the continent. On this point, EBLUL also expects that France, which currently holds the Presidency of the European Union, ratifies the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which would give its languages a concrete and pragmatic European framework, for their development.

The statement continued that, “EBLUL believes it is high time that France puts an end to its policy of destruction of its autochthonous languages that has undermined its credibility both in Europe and internationally, and that concrete measures be taken quickly to translate this recognition into realities.”

The President of the Academy of the Basque Language, Andres Urrutia, hailed the reform as an "important and significant", but adding that this is only a "first step… It is not enough to recognize the heritage of the Basque language, it more important that this heritage is alive,” he said. (Eurolang 2008)

EBLUL
http://www.eblul.org/

Diwan
http://www.diwanbreizh.org/

Ya d'ar Brezhoneg
http://ouiaubreton.com/

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Breton Number Plates

Looking good (the other one is for Corsica). It'd be nice to see the UK government allowing something similar for Kernow but there is fat chance of that I suppose.

The new plate will carry both the Breton flag -Gwen ha Du- and the name for Brittany in Breton -Breizh-. A surprising move for the centralist state that is France!

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Constitutional Recognition of 'Regional' Languages

The status of the Breton language took an unusual turn last Thursday (22nd May), as a proposed amendment to the French Constitution was voted for by the French National Assembly in Paris.

The amendment states that the 'regional' languages of France are part of the heritage of France, but the new amendment will only apply to Article 1 of the Constitution and not the much disputed Article 2, which states that the language of France is French. The amendment has therefore received only a lukewarm response by Breton nationalist parties like the Union Démocratique Bretonne, because of its restricted nature.

Also campaigners are asking why, earlier this month, Members of the National Assembly rejected recognition of the 'regional' languages of France, only to seemingly change their mind with this latest amendment. The new amendment still needs to be ratified by the French Senate, which seems likely, but whether this new amendment will change anything in real terms remains to be seen.

Some, like 2007 French Presidential Candidate Francois Bayrou, see the amendment as an important step towards the ratification by France of the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages, but most, understandably, remain highly sceptical.

See related articles in Celtic News at:

http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 2606
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 2601
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 2561
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 2422
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 2176
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 2144
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 2082
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 2074
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 1613
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 997
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 648
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 108

UN criticises French state over minority language policy

The French government has once again come in for International criticism for its failure to give appropriate support and recognition to minority languages.

In its latest report (E/C.12/FRA/ CO/3… May 2008) the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights says:

"29. The Committee remains concerned about the lack of official recognition of minorities within the territory of the State party. With specific regard to cultural rights, the Committee further notes with concern that some of these rights are not respected - such as the right to use a minority language, which can only be exercised in community with other members of the minority group.

30. The Committee notes with concern that the State party has not made sufficient efforts in the field of preservation and promotion of regional and minority languages and cultural heritage. The Committee also notes that the absence of formal recognition of regional and minority languages has contributed to the constant decline in the number of speakers of such languages."

The Committee goes on to recommend:

49. The Committee, while taking note that the recognition of minority groups or collective rights is considered by the State party to be incompatible with its Constitution, wishes to reiterate that the principles of equality before the law and prohibition of discrimination are not always adequate to ensure the equal and effective enjoyment of human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights, by persons belonging to minority groups. The Committee therefore recommends that the State party consider reviewing its position with regard to the recognition of minorities under the Constitution, and recognise officially the need to protect the cultural diversity of all minority groups under the jurisdiction of the State party, in accordance with the provisions of article 15. In this regard, the Committee reiterates the recommendation formulated in its previous concluding observations(E/C.12/1/Add. 72, para. 25) that the State party (i) withdraw its reservation to article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to article 30 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and (ii) consider ratifying the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, as well as the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

The full report of the Committee which covers a wide range of economic, social and cultural issues can be found at: http://www2. ohchr.org/ english/bodies/ cescr/docs/ co/E.C.12. FRA.CO.3. doc

The full text of the International Covenant on Economic, Social andCultural Rights can be found at: http://www2. ohchr.org/ english/law/ cescr.htm

J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League
26/05/08

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on abroad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.

TEL (UK) 01624 877918 MOBILE (UK) 07624 491609

Internet site at:
http://celticleague .net
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/

Sunday, 6 April 2008

France and its minorities

The the Celtic League

The French Culture Ministry has responded to concerns expressed by the Celtic League. General Secretary of the Celtic League, Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, had pressed the French government to give some indication when it would honour its commitments and fully implement the Charter for Regional and Minority Languages.

The full response is set outbelow:

You asked the Minister of Culture and Communication about the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of its implementation.

As you know, the Constitutional Council claimed that some of the Charter's provisions were against the Constitution. During the debate about the ratification of the Lisbon treaty, last January, some MPs presented some amendments aiming at the legal recognition of France's regional languages. These amendments were voted against. On this occasion, the Minister of Justice committed herself, on behalf of the government, to set up a parliamentary debate on the question of regional languages.

France's regional languages have been, however, valued in many different ways, as the action taken by the civil service has proven. This action has developed in a significant way over the last few years, as seen by the progresses done by the Ministry of Education in matters of teaching or by the part played by the general commission to French language and the languages of France within my services. This action comes within the scope of the European plurilingualism, around such priorities as the aid to publication, to live shows and multimedia creation, which appear high up on the list of priorities in matter of multilingualism during the discussion organised by France on 26th September under its European Presidency.

Yours faithfully Xavier North

See related articles in Celtic News at:

http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 2422
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 2176
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 2144
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 2082
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 2074
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 1613
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 997
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 648
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 108

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Celtic League Brittany speaks out on Tibet

The Breton branch of the Celtic League has launched a swingeing attack on Chinese repression in Tibet.

Branch Secretary, Gi Keltik, says that "by continuing to engage inhuman rights violations at home and abroad", China has breached a contract with the International Olympic Committee to improve its human rights record ahead of the 2008 Olympics.

In a bitter condemnation of the International Olympic Committee he has told Committee President, Jacques Rogge: "Your silence against China's continuing human rights violations not only encourages delegations who bid for future Olympic Games to make false promises, but also fails to uphold the founding principles of the Olympic movement itself"(see below).

All Celtic League National branches have been urged to add their voices to international protests against the murder of protesters and human rights violations by Chinese security forces who occupy Tibet.

D. Jacques Rogge
President of (IOC)
Château de Vidy
Case Postale 3561007
Lausanne
Switzerland

Dear Dr.Rogge,

As a member of the Celtic League, Brittany/France/ Europe, I am writing to request that you take a stand as the President of the International Olympic Committee against China's continuing human rights violations.

As you are well aware, while bidding for the 2008 Olympic Games, China repeatedly promised to improve its human rights record and it was based on that promise Beijing was granted the right to host the 2008 Games.

As you are also well aware, China has not kept that promise. In violation of the UN Convention on Refugees. Chinese reporters whose only crimes are telling the truth and in Tibet, China continues to trample on the Tibetan culture, society and people.

In 2001, the Chinese government and the International Olympic Committee signed a contract for the 2008 Olympics. By continuing to engage in human rights violations at home and abroad, China has breached that contract. As the counter party to that contract, it is your right and duty to demand that China honor the terms of that contract.

But the present situation goes beyond a contract. "The goal of Olympism", as enshrined in the Olympic Charter, "is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity."

The goal of the modern Olympic movement, isn't "sport", but the usage of sport to promote "harmonious development of man" , "peaceful society", "human dignity."

Your silence against China's continuing human rights violations not only encourages delegations who bid for future Olympic Games to make false promises, but also fails to uphold the founding principles of the Olympic movement itself.

Ultimately, if the Chinese government insists on perpetuating its human rights violations, like last week (W :11), you must move the Games into a democratic state…

Thank you in advance for your consideration, and courage.

Sincerely yours.

Breizh-Branch Sec. : Gi Keltik

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Local Elections in Brittany

Taken from Nationalia: http://www.nationalia.info/en/

Out of all the autonomist parties in the historical region of Brittany, which comprises the région of Brittany and the Loire-Atlantique département, Union Démocratique Bretonne (UDB, Breton Democratic Union) tends to attract the largest share of the vote, usually in coalition with other leftist parties, especially the Green Party.

UDB currently has one regional councillor and several town councillors but no mayors.

The party advocates the reunification of Brittany and devolution of powers to the region.Parti Breton – Strollad Breizh (Breton Party) is also presenting candidates for election. Following in the footsteps of nationalist parties in other European nations, such as Scotland or Catalonia, the Breton Party’s motto is ‘An emancipated and unified Brittany’.

Other noteworthy Breton parties include the secessionist and socialist Emgann (Battle) and the Parti Fédéraliste de Bretagne (Federalist Party of Brittany).

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