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Convention “Overcoming the Conflicts in Thai Society” Held by Siam Intelligence Unit and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Dr. Rainer Adam (Regional Director of Friedrich Naumann Foundation) Bangkok, Thailand
Politically speaking, democratic governance or democracy is nothing than a system to manage conflicts in society where power is controlled and changes of power built in the system
For this we have the usual institutions, the constitution, the division of powers, the checks and balances, in short “liberal democracy” based on the rule of law where everybody is equal before the law
The majority vote decides, the minority accepts the decisions and develops alternatives solutions to gain power at the ballot box in order to implement their blueprint for development
Minorities are protected by law and enjoy equal treatment than anybody else, civic rights are guaranteed by the constitution, they include the freedom of association, opinion and peaceful public protest
As you know the Germans are latecomers to modernity in terms of the acceptance of democracy
Within a hundred years they started three wars, two of them with a world wide dimension which left 50 to 70 million people dead (among them 40-52 million civilians) in World War II
The extreme nationalism of the Nazi dictatorship and the intolerance and denial of human rights this degenerated type of nationalism brings with it destroyed our German civilization and annihilated Germans of Jewish faith and other German minorities
Upheavals of European history have shown that the protection of national minorities is essential to stability, democratic security and peace
Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities on European Level and the “ Grundgesetz” (Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany) on German level
A pluralist and genuinely democratic society should not only respect the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity of each person belonging to a national minority, but also create appropriate conditions enabling them to express, preserve and develop this identity
Creation of a climate of tolerance and dialogue is necessary to enable cultural diversity to be a source and a factor, not of division, but of enrichment of society
The Danish ethnic minority is located in Southern Schleswig, Germany
The Danish minority is represented by the South Schleswig Voter Federation (SSW) in the “Landtag” of Schleswig Holstein with reserved seats.
The SSW is not subject to the general requirement of passing a 5% vote threshold in order to receive proportional seats in the state parliament. In the most recent 2009 election, the SSW received 4.3% of the vote and four seats.
The SSW is also represented in several municipal parliaments.
Across Europe, politicians try to be culturally sensitive to Muslim citizens, who total 16 million, or 3 percent, of the 495 million people in the 27-member European Union
Muslims in Europe come from diverse ethnic and national backgrounds
It is estimated that there are 3-4 million Muslims living in Germany
Former Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble of Germany has proposed that Islam be taught in schools with Christianity and Judaism
In Germany there is respect, discretion, and caution for the religious feelings of all people, regardless of which faith they follow. The Basic Law (Constitution) provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies are contributing to the generally free practice of religion in Germany.
The law at all levels protects this right in full against abuse, either by governmental or private actors
Balancing respect for religious beliefs and free speech remains delicate. In Germany, federal law bans references to religion "deemed able to disrupt the public peace."
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