Tasks and Activities

One of the most important responsibilities of the Minority Secretariat together with the Minority Council is to represent the interests of the autochthonous national minorities and ethnic groups in Germany. In addition to profiling and communicating the concerns, values and rights of the minorities to national and international political organs and committees, this involves in particular the establishment and maintenance of networks in politics, interest groups, academia and the media.

The Minority Secretariat represents the Minority Council and the individual minorities, functioning as a contact point for associations, organisations, press representatives, academics and other interested parties on questions relating to the national minorities in Germany, and it conducts publicity and lobbying work.

A key priority here for the Minority Secretariat is the regular flow of information on issues of current interest to the autochthonous minorities. The Minority Secretariat also takes part in meetings of commissions and committees (e.g. the National Minorities Discussion Group of the Interior Commission of the German Parliament, Consultative Committees on the Minorities at the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community), attends important events and undertakes preparatory factual and organisational work for discussions between the Minority Council and members of the German Parliament, the federal government and other stakeholders in minorities policy.

The Minority Secretariat assumes the following tasks and functions:

  • Being the liaison office for the associations of the recognised minorities with the federal institutions, in particular the Federal Parliament, Federal Government and Federal Council.
    Observing and monitoring the parliamentary work in the Federal Republic of Germany and its committeesin view of minority-related interests and issues,

  • Keeping in contact with and representing the positions of the four recognised minorities vis-à-vis parliamentary committees, members of parliament, parliamentary groups and the government and the ministries,

  • Looking after the interests of the four recognised minorities in relation to implementing provisions of legal acts and in relation to grant decisions,

  • Elaborating joint statements and expert reports on behalf of the minority organisations,

  • Public relations work about those subjects that affect minority policy and the interests of the minorities, their language and culture; providing information about the national minorities and minority policy in Germany,

  • Representing the minority associations in national and international bodies, e.g.

  • Substitute member of the advisory council to the German Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (ADS)

  • Representative of the minority organisations at the “OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting”

  • Contact partner for the minority-related monitoring bodies of the Council of Europe

  • Functioning as the Secretariat for the Minority Council of the four recognised autochthonous national minorities in Germany

The current head of the Minority Secretariat in Germany is Gösta Nissen.
The Minority Secretariat is located atBundesallee 216-218 in Berlin. The Secretariat is supported by the German Federal Ministry of the Interrior and funded from the budget of the Federal Republic of Germany.