The International Celtic Congress
Resolutions of the 1995 Annual General Meeting
held at Lorient, 31 July 1995
Radio and television services in the Celtic languages
- The International Celtic Congress congratulates the Scottish media for the advances made in television services in Scottish Gaelic, which have increased enormously over what they were 20 years ago to 350 hours a week, and in radio services which have increased significantly as well. We encourage the Scottish media to work to ensure that Scottish Gaelic services are broadcast everywhere in Scotland and elsewhere in the United Kingdom.
- The International Celtic Congress praises the Irish Government for funding at long last the Irish Gaelic language television station, TeilifÌs na Gaeilge. We look forward to the launch of this new and important service, expected to begin in 1996. We offer praise as well for the local Irish-language radio stations, RaidiÛ na Life in Dublin and RaidiÛ na bhF·l in Belfast offering these essential services to local communities in welcome addition to the national radio service, RaidiÛ na Gaeltachta.
- The International Celtic Congress encourages BBC Radio Cornwall, West Country Television and BBC Southwest to establish a minimum service for Cornish speakers which amounts to 5 minutes per day per speaker on radio (2.5 hours per day) and to 2 minutes per day per speaker on television (30 minutes per day).
- The International Celtic Congress recognizes the excellent advances made in bilingual broadcasting by Radio Vannin in the Isle of Man, and looks forward to continued expansion of this service.
- The International Celtic Congress demands that similar services be made available to speakers of Breton in Brittany in recognition of the rights of Bretons to normal media services as citizens of the French Republic and the European Union. The Celtic Congress urges, as an absolute minimum, no less than 8 hours per day of full, normal radio service, to be broadcast the length and breadth of Brittany, and no less than 4 hours per day of news, current affairs, and children's programming on television in the Breton language, also broadcast throughtout the whole of Brittany.
- The International Celtic Congress points to over 60 years of Welsh language radio broadcasting and to 14 years of Sianal 4 Cymru service as models for comprehensive normal services for minority languages everywhere.
- The International Celtic Congress urges the augmentation of transmission services in Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, and Welsh, so that these broadcasts may be mutually received in each country. Satellite transmission may prove a cost-effective means to effect this.
- The International Celtic Congress requests the French government and parliament to ratify the European charter for regional and minority languages.
- The International Celtic Congress requests the setting up of a subsidized Radio FM, broadcasting exclusively in the Breton language and over all five departments. It also requests that the Breton language be extended to Television under more or less similar conditions to those appertaining to the Welsh language.
- The International Celtic Congress requests the Minister for Culture, in accordance with the spirit of European institutions, to modify the law to include the use of the Breton language in Brittany in alabelling of products, in conferences subsidized by the state, in letters addressed in the Breton language, and in erection of road signs; that the law be extended to include Breton in its rightful place as a regional language in Brittany.
- The International Celtic Congress requests that the territorial integrity of Brittany -- comprising five departments -- be restored and that history as taught in the schools will include this information.
- The International Celtic Congress requests the French government to sign the framework convention of the Council of Euriope for the protection of national minorities.
- The International Celtic Congress resolves that copies of all lectures presented at the International Celtic Congress in Lorient, 1995, be sent to the United Nations, Centre for Human Rights, CH-1211 GenËve 10, Switzerland.
- The International Celtic Congress recommends that each branch of the Celtic Congress should consider setting up a study group about human rights and that the International Congress appoint one person as liaison officer to receive the result of their deliberations which suitably should be sent to the United Nations Centre for Human Rights at Geneva.
- The International Celtic Congress, meeting in Lorient, July 1995, wishes to express its concern about the arrest and detention during last year of a number of Breton language activists, on suspicion of harbouring Basque nationalists. The police procedures used in arresting and detaining a number of people, who were innocent of any offence against the law, are felt to be highly regrettable. Members of the International Celtic Congress wish to register a protest against the violation of a citizen's rights.
- The International Celtic Congress calls on the British Government through the Parliament and the Council of Europe to officially recognize Cornwall as a cultural Region within Europe.
Rights of Prisoners
- Arising out of the case of Se·n Roberts, the International Celtic Congress meeting here in Lorient believes imprisonment far away from one's home is wrong for two reasons:
- It is a breach of human rights to impose on a person found guilty, a punishment greater than that handed down by the court. Many judges are reluctant to impose custodial sentences in places such as Cornwall, where no local prison exists, as they believe that sending someone far from his or her home is an additional punishment.
- If rehabilitation is part of the purpose of imprisonment, as is usually said to be the case, then isolating the prisoner from his or her family and culture defeats that purpose. The denial of access to simple facilities such as radio and television in one's own language, or othe simple right to write and receive letters in one's chosen language, is a denial of human and social rights. Punishing a prisoner's relations by making long journeys necessary in order to see him or her is not the way to "rehabilitate" the guilty, or reconcile the innocently convicted to the current rule of law.
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