The Võro Congress Council of Elders has sent an appeal to the Estonian government, expressing its desire to begin discussing the implementation of the decisions taken at the Võro Congress.
"The first thing we want to do is to clarify our decisions to the government," Ülle Kauksi, head of the Võro Congress Council of Elders, told ERR on Wednesday.
She added that she expects the government to familiarize itself with the decisions taken by the Congress.
The first of these concerns the self-determination of the Võros as an indigenous people, in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to which Estonia is a signatory.
The second concerns the status of the Võro language, education in Võro, as well as the media, culture and the use of Võro in public life.
The third decision concerns the protection of the living environment of the Võro people.
On this basis, Kauksi noted that the representatives of the Võro people would, for instance, have the right to talk to representatives of the ministries of education and the environment.
"We would then start to form working groups accordingly," she explained.
She also said, that the representative of the Võro people had already been to the Ministry of Education and Research, where their concerns had been addressed very sympathetically.
Kauksi added that there had also been a recent meeting of the Võro Congress Council of Elders with some members of the Riigikogu's Southeastern Estonia Support Group, during which the ideas proposed by the congress were supported. Another similar meeting is set to be held in the fall.
Kauksi said that the initiative taken by the Võro people was largely a result of Estonia's lack of regional policy, causing large numbers of people to leave rural areas for cities.
They are also concerned by recent excessive deforestation and damage caused to the natural environment. Kauksi also put forward the idea that, if the education of children from Russian-speaking families is now to be switched to being completely in Estonian, at least some of the money spent on Russian-language education, which the Estonian state has been paying out for 30 years, could instead be given for the promotion of education in the Võro language.
Editor: Michael Cole