Sorbs demand recognition as an indigenous people
The federal and state governments still have four days to react. Then the ultimatum of the democratically elected Sorbian parliament expires. The Serbski Sejm demands recognition of the indigeneity of the Sorbian people and an end to the blockade of talks by government officials, as explicitly demanded by the Council of Europe with regard to the Sejm, for example. Settled in Lusatia for centuries, with their own language and traditions, the Sorbs fulfil the requirements of the ILO Convention 169 of the UN (International Labour Organization/Convention on Indigenous Peoples), ratified by the Federal Republic of Germany, but are still not recognised as an indigenous people. Instead, the rights accruing to the Sorbian people are ignored - just like the contributions to the situation of the Sorbian people in the "Sorbian Report of the State Government of Saxony". This is sharply criticised by the Serbski Sejm.
As a sign that this untenable situation was no longer acceptable, the Sorbian parliament issued an ultimatum to the federal government and the state governments of Saxony and Brandenburg at the state press conference in Dresden on 21 March 2023. While there was a great deal of public attention with a broad nationwide press coverage, there has been no response from the political side so far. In four days, on 23.06.2023, the deadline expires. The seriousness of the demand that the state recognise the indigenous Sorbs living in Germany and grant them the rights accruing from ILO 169 seems to have been recognised neither in Berlin nor in Dresden and Potsdam. The pressure on the governments is growing.
What will the people's representatives do?
If the ultimatum to the government to negotiate in the short term expires, the Sorbian parliament will see itself forced to demand its rights at the international level - at the risk that the government's actions will massively damage Germany's reputation for respecting human and international rights. With the help of a high-calibre British law firm of renowned and experienced international lawyers, the steps for a domestic and international lawsuit in Brussels have therefore been in preparation for weeks.
Can the Federal Republic afford to deny the rights of a people who have been settled for centuries? A nationwide press conference on this is planned for early July in Berlin.
The Sorbian people came to the area of Lusatia about 1,500 years ago, where about 60,000 Sorbs live today. The Serbski Sejm, the first parliament of the Sorbs in Germany to emerge in 2018 from general, direct, free, equal and secret elections, works politically on the basis of the Basic Law and international law and according to the consensus principle. The Sejm consists of 24 honorary deputies and meets regularly at different locations in Lusatia. All resolutions and minutes are freely accessible at www.dokumenty.serbskisejm.de.