Newsletter April 2021

Dear members of the non-kin-state working group,

It has been a while since we were last in touch during the annual meeting of non-kin-state working group in Constanta, Romania. Therefore, I would like to update you with news from our working group.

But first of all I would like to say a few words about the current health situation in Europe and around the world:

The World Health Organization WHO has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a pandemic. As a result, measures must be taken worldwide to contain it. In addition to government measures, all civil societies are called upon to contribute to this. As an organization, we would like to urge you to also take action in this sense - if you have not already done so. A very important aspect is to raise the awareness of all members of society. We therefore ask you to provide information in an appropriate manner about:
- the disease COVID-19,
- necessary containment measures, and
- individual behavioural recommendations (hygiene recommendations, distance rules etc.).
The information should (if not already done so) at least be disseminated via the internet presence of your association.  When selecting information, please pay particular attention to published government information and legal regulations. Supplementary information from the WHO can be found under:

We thank you for your cooperation and wish you and the members of your organization good health.


And now to the news:

1. News: New coordinator of working group non-kin-state Arvid Martens
After serving as co-coordinator of the working group during the annual meeting in Constanta, Romania in 2019 and supporting the previous coordinator during this event, new coordinator assumed full responsibility for the working group at the beginning of 2020.
He wants to take the torch from the predecessor, and build on it in order to extend the activities and the potential of the community.
Bahne Bahnsen continues to act on behalf of the Presidium as a representative in the working group non-kin-state.

2. News: The next meeting of the non-kin-state working group
The next meeting of the non-kin-state working group will take place as a side event during the annual FUEN Congress on 03-06.09.2020 in Gorizia/Gorica/ Gurize/Görz hosted by FUEN member organization of Slovenian minority in Italy, under condition, that travel restriction related to covid-19 have been lifted.
During the planned meeting, members will have an opportunity to discuss about future activities, main focus and plans of the implementation of goals set by the non-kin-state working group. The meeting will also concentrate on the topics of youth work and the extinction of minority languages.

3. News: FUEN on a mission to facilitate cooperation with Breton community in France.
On January 10-11 2020 a FUEN delegation visited the Breton community in France. Together with a big assembly of defenders of the Breton language and culture, FUEN Vice Presidents Gösta Toft and Bahne Bahnsen, accompanied by Bérengère Vogel, project coordinator, took part in a meeting at Ti Ar Vro (Breton Cultural Centre) in Vannes, where Mr. Bahnsen presented the FUEN and Mr. Toft talked about the Minority SafePack Initiative, for which the 1 128 385 statements of support were submitted to the European Commission.
7295 people in France supported the MSPI with a signature. FUEN and Breton community in France decided during the meeting to extend their cooperation in areas of language and culture promotion.
More information:

4. News: Biikebrennen in Northern Germany
The Commissioner of Federal Government for late resettlers issues and national minorities, Prof. Dr. Bernd Fabritius, visited the settlement area of the Frisian minority in Northern Germany in February.
At the beginning of his visit to the Frisian mainland, Commissioner Fabritius, took part together with the Member of the German Parliament Astrid Damerow in Bjarnbiike,  Biikebrennen of Frisian children in the Frisian-danish school Risum Skole/Risem Schölj in Risum-Lindholm. During the visit, Commissioner Fabritius met the leadership and the members of the FUEN member organisation Frasche Rädj / Friesenrat Sektion Nord and other Frisian organizations of Northern Germany.
The Frisian word "Biike" comes from the name Bake and means "fire mark". In its present form the fire originated in the 19th century and goes back to the old carnival fires that were supposed to drive away the winter. For the cohesion of the community in the far north, customs such as Biikebrennen always had a social character, which has been preserved until today. Since 2014, Biikebrennen has also been on the list of intangible cultural heritage of the German UNESCO Commission.
More information:

5. News: Option of traditional sorbian family names for women could be introduced
Key issues paper for an amendment of the German law on names was published, which addresses the Sorbs' demand.
This amendment was strongly supported by the Commissioner for late resettlers issues and national minorities, Prof. Dr. Bernd Fabritius.
According to Sorbian traditions, it is customary to add a certain ending to the family name of women depending on their marital status: Married women usually add -owa to their surname, more rarely -ina. For unmarried women, the suffix -ec or -ic (Upper Sorbian) or -ejc or or -ojc (Lower Sorbian) is usually used. Up to now, the German law on names did not permit such gender-specific family names. This could change and this would allow especially Sorbian women to use a female version of the family name according to their traditions.
More information:

6. News: MYnority MYsay! – Podcast of YEN has been made public
The idea of the podcast was born during the last autumn seminar of YEN "Gather up!"For each episode someone will be a guest and will offer insights into different minority cultures from all over Europe. Two episodes are now available, one in German and one in English on Spotify and The first 2 episodes are about non-kin state minorities Sinti and Roma, and Sorbs.
GERMAN Episode "A German Sinti about Sinti and Roma"
ENGLISH Episode " A Lusatian Sorbe about digitalization"
More information and links to the podcast:
We would like to receive news from the member organisations of the Non-Kin-State working group. Please send us information about news in your minority and association work, we would like to help with publication.

Please send the information to

Please do not hesitate to contact me shall you need more information.

Best regards from Berlin,
Arvid Martens
Non-kin-state working group