„Minority issues that are ignored will only become more difficult in the long run!“
On Monday, 3 July 2023, members of the Serbski Sejm together with a team of international law experts informed about the consequences of the expired ultimatum to the Federal Government to enter into a dialogue with the Sorbian Parliament and to recognise the indigenous rights of the Sorbs. The renowned London-based lawyers' consortium Doughty Street Chambers had already established in the run-up to the legal proceedings that the previous refusal attitude of the federal government and the two state governments in Dresden and Potsdam is unacceptable according to international and international law standards.
„We will speak Sorbian to you because that is our mother tongue and the language of the people who have lived in Lusatia since time immemorial,“ said MP Jadwiga PJACEC MdS, opening the well-attended Serbski Sejm press conference in Berlin. Hajko KOZEL MdS summarised the demands of the ultimatum - the lack of willingness to engage in dialogue with SERBSKI SEJM on the part of the ministries responsible for Sorbs policy, the commencement of negotiations on the self-determination and co-determination rights to which the Sorbian/Wendish people are entitled, and recognition as an indigenous people in accordance with ILO Convention 169. The SEJM MPs expressed their „utmost disappointment and shock“ that neither the federal nor the regional government used the three-month ultimatum, which expired at midnight on Friday 23 June 2023, for an exchange with the Sorbian parliament.
A team of three international law experts working for the UN, among others, who were commissioned to examine established international legal remedies in order to enforce the minority rights of the Sorbian/Wendish people, the promotion of educational autonomy and the development of a structured dialogue with the Serbski Sejm, determined, according to an initial assessment, very good chances for the Serbski Sejm to be recognised as an official interlocutor of the federal and state governments within the framework of a structured bilateral as well as multilateral dialogue on Sorbian/Wendish issues. On the basis of the commitment to the rule of law of the democratically elected Sorbian/Wendish parliament, emphasised by Steve POWLES, and the manifold legal claims of the Serbski Sejm outlined by Margherita CORNAGLIA, Prof. Mark WELLER called on the German government to enter into a dialogue with the Serbski Sejm instead of protracted court proceedings, as the Council of Europe has already very critically urged.
„Minority issues that are ignored will only become more difficult in the long run,“ appealed the highly specialised expert and author of several standard works on minority and indigenous rights, who is currently also advising the Kosovar government. „Take a stand today, join us at the negotiating table and avert a legal dispute that would not look good on you,“ was Jadwiga's urgent appeal. Otherwise, the next round will take place in autumn - in Brussels.