Society for Threatened Peoples
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2010)|
|Area served||Germany, Bosnia, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Iraq|
|Focus(es)||Religious and ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples|
|Motto||"Not Turning a Blind Eye"|
Society for Threatened Peoples International STPI (German: Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker-International, GfbV-International) is an international NGO and human rights organization with its headquarters in Göttingen, Germany. It claims to create awareness of and protect minority peoples around the world who are threatened by oppressive governments. The group states on its website that it "campaigns against all forms of genocide and ethnocide". It has advisory status at the United Nations, participatory status with the Council of Europe and has branches in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Iraqi Kurdistan.
The Secretary General of the Society for Threatened Peoples International (STPI) and Society for Threatened Peoples-Germany (STP) is Tilman Zülch. who was in 2010 accused, and in 2011 charged, for embezzlement of the organizations assets and since 2012 investigated by German prosecutors. At the organizations annuel meeting in November 2011, the two former board members who had started the public prosecutors' investigations were ousted and a new board of directors was elected, which than waived the previous charges. Two former board members pressed charges again in 2013, as individual persons, and the investigation of embezzlement of donation moneys against the German branch and headquarters of the international organization continues. Since February 11, 2013, the Society for Threatened Peoples International's branch in Switzerland filed a criminal complaint against a suspect for substantial embezzlement of the organizations assets. State prosecutors of Bern opened a criminal case against this person to investigate the allegations for misappropriation of the organisations assets.
The Society for Threatened Peoples Germany emerged in 1970 from the Hamburg based “Aktion Biafra-Hilfe”. Aktion Biafra-Hilfe was founded in June 1968 by Tilman Zülch and Klaus Guerke during the Biafra War to draw attention of the world to the occurrences within Biafra in present day Nigeria and to stop the hunger and genocide going on there."" Zülch went to the area to witness the atrocities and eventually wrote a book together with Klaus Guerke."" The experience campaigning for the protection of the victims and refugees encouraged campaigns for other minorities transforming Aktion Biafra-Hilfe into the Society for Threatened Peoples-Germany.""
Since 1993 the STP has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The STPI is also a Member organization of Committee for a Democratic UN. Since January 2005 the STPI also has participartory status at the Council of Europe.
In 2012, the state prosecutor of Göttingen announced investigations of charges of embezzlement filed by the STP board of directors against Tilman Zülch, the Secretary-General of both the international umbrella organization Society for Threatened Peoples International (GfbV-International), and the German branch Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV-Deutschand). The board of directors accused him of embezzlement of funds, and of having continued to receive salary payments even though he had been supposed to resign from the post of STP Secretary General and having ordered payments to the Bosnian STP branch on insufficient documentation. The organization rejected the charges and voted a new board of directors during the STP annual meeting November 2011.
Up to this today, Zülch is the President of the Society for Threatened Peoples International and the Secretary-General of Society for The Society for Threatened Peoples-Germany.
The District Court of Braunschweig did not recognized the legality of the annual meeting, and announced that the vote was not legitimate and not legal. But in 2012 the organization claimed that the Higher Regional Court in Braunschweig confirmed"" that the election of the new five-member board in November 2011 had been legally convened, even so the File Reference 2W 42/12"" the organizations is referring to cannot be found in any public records.
After the two former board members were in November 2012 ousted from the organization, the new board of directors withdrew the previously charges for embezzlement of donations which had been filed by the former board. Former board president Harald Klein and former Vice-chair James Albert pressed additional charges in 2013 to ensure that the investigation against the organization's embezzlement of donations shall continue.
February 11, 2013, the Society for Threatened Peoples International branch in Switzerland is under investigation for fraud and substantial embezzlement of donations.
Since 2013, two branches of the NGO Society for Threatened Peoples International faced criminal charges for fraud and embezzlement of donations and the organizations assets and are currently under state prosecutors investigation in two countries, Germany and Switzerland.
Organization and Areas of Work
The STPI is one of several European minority rights organizations. In December 2011, the organization had 5774 members and 675 sponsors, most of whom are based in Germany. The organization's activities are coordinated in Göttingen. Regional groups support the work of the STP-Germany in a few German cities, including Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Münster and Nuremberg. The STPI publishes press releases, organizes public demonstrations, arranges post card fund raising campaigns, prepares reports for court hearings"", produces educational materials for teachers"", and publishes the journal "Pogrom", which is a source of information about the situation of ethnic and religious minorities.
Since its founding, a main focus of the human rights work of the STP, has been the African continent""; though the STPI is not represented by a section. Since the Yugoslav wars the STPI has been disproportionately active in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Kosovo. In Kosovo the STP-Germany paid for a team that, under the direction of the human rights worker Paul Polansky, worked for the interests of the Roma. In Bosnia and Herzegovina the support of the survivors of the Srebrenica Massacre is particularly important for the German chapter of the STPI. Another focus of the STPI is indigenous peoples. Renate Domnick, a volunteer for the STP-Germany, organized the first large European trip of an Indian delegation from 16 American countries. In the Middle East the Kurds play an important role for the STP: This pushed the STP-Germany to open a STPI office in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq"". Israel and the conflict with Palestinians appear under represented in the activities of the STP measured by the prevailing German public.
Prominent supporters of STP-Germany include: the writer and futurologist Robert Jungk"", the author Günter Grass"", former German chancellor Willy Brandt"", current President of East Timor José Ramos-Horta, and Marek Edelman a leader in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Political Goals and Stategies
The STPI places the fight against genocide, forced migration, racism, all forms of minority oppression, and deportation of refugees in their country of origin as the center of their work. Their themes include the cultural and religious groupings like the Falun Gong in China, the Christian minorities in Iran, or ethnic groups like the Roma or Chechen. The STPI lobbys politicians and uses letter writing campaigns to apply pressure for its causes.
The STPI has always maintained that forced migration of people is wrong even when the victims belong to a group of people who were the perpetrators of a war or another grave infringement of international law. In connection with this the STP has advocated for a Centre against Expulsions and thereby has incurred the same criticism as the project of such a center itself.
The STP_Germany has in special situations supported military interventions and invasion/intrusion. Much criticism has been given to the STP for its advocacy of the NATO intervention in Kosovo War in 1999. In 2006 the STP supported the protection of elections in the Congo by the German military.
- "Society for Threatened Peoples" in Lawson, Edward, Encyclopedia of Human Rights, New York : Taylor & Francis, 1991. ISBN 978-0-8002-8003-1
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- "Schock: Two branches of human rights NGO Society for Threatened Peoples International (STPI) charged with embezzling donations, in Germany and Switzerland". Earth Peoples. 25 February 2013.
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- "STRAFVERFAHREN: Veruntreuung bringt Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker in Not". Basellandschaftliche Zeitung. 11 February 2013.
- USA, Hunnington News (25 February 2013). "Two branches of human rights NGO Society for Threatened Peoples International (STPI) with UN status accused of embezzling donations". Hunnington News-USA.
- Gesellschaft fuer bedrohte Voelker - Society for Threatened Peoples. "Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker". Gfbv.de. Retrieved 2013-04-05.
- 06.08.02 (2011-11-23). "Steinbach: Zentrum gegen Vertreibungen bis 2007 - Nachrichten DIE WELT - DIE WELT". Welt.de. Retrieved 2013-04-05.
- Society for Threatened Peoples website
- GfbV WATCH Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker Watch
- STPI WATCH Society for Threatened Peoples International Watch
- Prosecutor's are investigating Secretary-General of Society for Threatened Peoples for embezzlement of money.
- Investigation of the STP founder Tilman Zulch for embezzlement