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Traveller communities

Dialogue relaunched to solve nomadic Jenish woes

The federal government wants to set up two new working groups to address issues concerning the Jenish traveller community such as provision of camp sites, as well as education and culture. A previous such attempt in November met with failure.

The travellers’ organisations have until the end of January to nominate candidates to these working groups, according to Anne Weibel, spokesperson for the Federal Office of Culture, who confirmed the information published in the Tages-Anzeiger.

Half of the 28 places available will be reserved exclusively for travellers and the other half will be filled by representatives from the federal government, cantons and communes. The selected members will be evenly redistributed into two working groups. All activities of the working groups will be held under the auspices of the culture office.

Claude Gerzner, spokesperson of the Movement of Swiss Travellers, welcomed this redistribution of members in the working groups. He called for the problem of camp sites for travellers to be resolved.

Daniel Huber, president of the umbrella organisation for Jenish people, wants education and culture to be discussed, in order to address prejudice against the community.

The cabinet had previously created a working group in summer but it was dissolved in November when the travellers’ representatives stormed out of a session in protest. They felt they were not being heard and that the composition and functioning of the working group was too bureaucratic.

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