Grup dla minoranza ladina (Ladins in South Tyrol, Italy)
The Grup dla mendranza ladina (GML) was established in 2002 as a working committee. It cooperates very closely with the SJR (Südtiroler Jugendring) and tries to give more weight to the interests of the Ladins. Before the establishment of GML, these interests were represented by the SJR, a practice that does not comply with the basic idea of minority protection. After the establishment of GML the Ladin youth have their own organisation. GML speaks for around 500 young people of the Ladin minority.
The main mission of the working group is to represent the Ladin minority in South Tyrol in international youth organisations. In the exercising of this representation the “Grup dla minoranza ladina” acts autonomously, it takes its own decisions that are not revised by SJR. Furthermore GML works on recommendations about general revalorisation of the Ladin youth work.
The Ladin minority in Italy consists of about 20 000 people, who live in the north of the state in South Tyrol, close to the border with Austria. The largest number of people from the Ladin minority live in two valleys in the east of South Tyrol, namely in the Val Badia and the Val Gherdëina. After the First World War in 1919 Austria had to give up the southern part of Tyrol up to the Brenner to Italy. A hard period followed, especially under fascism, in which Italy tried to Italianise South Tyrol. Also the end of the Second World War did not bring a reunification of South Tyrol with Austria. In the following decades the German and Ladin minorities of South Tyrol demanded autonomy against the continuing Italianisation. The issue South Tyrol was even brought before the United Nations by Austria and first with the new autonomy statute of 1972 an important step in the direction of minority protection in South Tyrol was set. Till the day of today the rules and competences for minority protection are regularly extended.
The youth work in South Tyrol is very colourful. Apart from the traditional youth organisations there are also more and more youth centres, which offer open youth facilities in the municipalities. Furthermore there is a comprehensive range of youth services, these are regional offices, which function as contact and support for youth work. At the moment there are about 150 employees working in the German and Ladin youth work. But the basis is and remains the volunteers; young people who do a lot for the children and youth in their community.