European Civil Rights Prize for the General Secretary and founder of the Society for Threatened Peoples

Sinti and Roma honor Tilman Zülch

Tilman Zülch, General Secretary and founder of the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), was honored with the European Civil Rights Prize of the Sinti and Roma in Berlin on Thursday. The award is endowed with 15,000 Euros in prize money. During the ceremony at the Foreign Office, the chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, Romani Rose, praised Zülch's commitment and said: "The commitment of an individual that is not willing to accept obvious injustice can make a change in social reality if it becomes a commitment of many others and sparks political action." He thanked the 74-year-old human rights activist for the many years of support and for an admirable life's work in advocating for human rights."

An international jury had decided to honor Zülch with the award, reasoning that it is also due to Zülch that the Sinti and Roma are now one of the four recognized national minorities in Germany. Based on the principle of humanity, he advocated on behalf of the Sinti and Roma in Germany and Europe since the 1970s, fighting against the ongoing discrimination and social exclusion. Rose recalled that Zülch had organized the 1981 World Roma Congress in Göttingen which was attended by 300 delegates from 21 countries. The STP played a crucial part in creating awareness of the genocide against the Sinti and Roma and in preserving a memory of the crime.

In 2002, Zülch was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit for his human rights work. In 1968, he founded the "Aktion Biafra-Hilfe" from which the Göttingen-based Society for Threatened Peoples emerged. To this day, he fights against genocide and racism all over the world. The STP has representative offices in six countries, a consultative status at the United Nations and a participatory status at the Council of Europe.

The European Civil Rights Prize – which was now awarded for the fourth time – was established by the Documentation and Cultural Centre and the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma as well as the Manfred Lautenschläger Foundation. Former prize winners include Simone Veil, former President of the European Parliament, and Thomas Hammarberg, former Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe.

Tilman Zülch - Secretary General - is available for further questions: Tel. 0551 49 906 24 or politik@gfbv.de.