Ålands fredsinstitut
The Åland Islands Peace Institute

Hamngatan 4
AX-22100 Mariehamn, Åland, Finland
Tel. +358 18 15570
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Publication about
the Åland Example


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The German and Danish minorities living on each side of the border between Denmark and Germany have cultural and linguistic rights regulated through the Copenhagen-Bonn declarations from 1955. These two declarations, which are seen as a "constitution for the borderland" of sort, turn 60 this year. The anniversary was recently celebrated through the conference "60 years of the Bonn-Copenhagen declarations – the position of minorities and people in European comparison" in Sonderborg. A former guest researcher at the Peace Institute, Felix Schulte, presented the Åland example as a case study to underline the importance of exemplary minority policy:

"No state in the world is ethnically homogenous. Eighty per cent of all the conflicts in the world are intrastate conflicts, sixty to seventy of all conflicts are of ethnic origin, such as when minorities demand autonomy or secession. When we look at the position of minorities, only eleven to twelve per cent holds political power, 44 per cent are politically completely excluded. Naturally, not all groups rebel through violence, but this does not mean that it is only "minority hot spots" that are in need of peaceful conflict resolutions. In the light of 400 ethnical intrastate conflicts around the world it is worth considering!"
Today Schulte is a PhD-student at the Heidelberg University, Germany. Shortly, the Peace Institute will release Shulte's report "Conflict Regulation through Self-Rule – Success Factors of Territorial Autonomy Systems", with Åland as a case study, so keep a lookout!