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Letter to the Federal President:

Dear Federal President,

The participants of the first international human rights symposium of the Awareness Region Mauthausen - Gusen - St. Georgen, address an urgent request to you against the background of the burdened history of the region:

Do not pledge any people as members of the Federal Government who are in close proximity to right-wing extremism and who do not clearly and credibly distance themselves from the ideas of National Socialism.

Otherwise we see this as a threat to human rights.

On behalf of all participants of the Human Rights Symposium.

With many, best regards

Mayor Thoma Punkenhofer, Member of Parliament

Mayor Christian Aufreiter

Mayor Ing. Erich Wahl, MBA

Successful symposium 2017

The Human Rights Symposium 2017 was successfully completed with high-calibre speakers and guests. An unbelievable atmosphere and genuine spirit of optimism are a great basis for the Human Rights Symposium 2018.

Grandiose message to the world from the home of human rights

The first international human rights symposium in the Awareness Region Mauthausen - Gusen - St. Georgen sends out grandiose messages: 

‘For a future in peace, respecting human rights. We take responsibility for education, which enables a global community of equality of all people and tolerance for diversity. As the home of democracy, we promote every positive development and bring freedom to the whole world!’

(Mission Statement of Awareness Region Mauthausen - Gusen - St. Georgen, Home of Human Rights)

With this message and the urgent request to the Federal President not to condemn persons who, members of the Federal Government, are in close proximity to right-wing extremism and who do not unambiguously and credibly dissociate themselves from the ideals of National Socialism, because they see a threat to human rights, participants of the Human Rights Symposium sent a message to the world with a balloon launch. 

Previously, the 4-day Human Rights Symposium used numerous tours to illustrate remembrance work and the current engagement with the history of National Socialism in the region. 

In the high-profile presentations by Prof. Nowak, EU parliamentarian Josef Weidenholzer and the journalist and blogger Kübra Gymüsei from Hamburg, inputs were able to stimulate discussion on the history of human rights, current political issues and in the new media. 

The workshops focussed on topics such as dealing with hate speech, the history of Yugoslavia, dealing with handicaps, children's rights, and antiziganism. 

The symposium had some cultural highlights to offer such as the opening with the play ‘Der Fall Gruber’ by Thomas Baum, staged by Franz Froschauer and the reading ‘Meinen Hass bekommt ihr nicht’. At the Poetry Slam, people expressed their thoughts on the topic of human rights. Particularly impressive was the text by Elisabeth Stütz from St. Georgen, who expressed her feelings, as a young woman and beekeeper, of living in this region, seeing the positive moments and being reminded again and again of the history. 

The first symposium set an important milestone with the highest level of quality and professionalism, and with information, discussions, culture, participation and emotions for the current and contemporary remembrance work in the Awareness Region Mauthausen - Gusen - St. Georgen. Together, we take responsibility for the dignity of the people. 

The international guests of the Human Rights Symposium from the twin cities of Prachatice and Empoli, as well as from Vinci, Catalonia (Spain), Bosnia-Herzegovina and Poland, demonstrated that human rights are an important concern throughout Europe. 

Based on our experiences, we will start work on the Second Human Rights Symposium 2018. 

Thanks are due to all those who have contributed to the positive outcome, helpers, speakers, workshop leaders, workshop facilitators, sponsors, supporters and funding bodies. 

Mag.a Andrea Wahl, MBA, November 12, 2017