Statement on minority rights at the UN Human Rights Council
Oral Statement on „Panel on the Role of languages and culture in the promotion and protection of the well-being and identity of indigenous peoples“ at the 18th Session of the UN Human Rights Council delivered by Jana Brandt of the World Uyghur Congress
First of all the Nonviolent Radical Party (NRP) would like to thank the Human Rights Council for organizing such an important panel. Despite the existence of several international instruments that underline the importance of protecting the language and culture of indigenous peoples, the identity of many indigenous groups is currently under threat.
In that sense, the NRP is particularly concerned about the following examples of linguistic discrimination: In Vietnam, the teaching of the Khmer language is still against the law and also the publishing of documents in Khmer is illegal unless they contain government propaganda. Khmer Krom have been harassed, jailed, and persecuted for speaking, learning or teaching the Khmer language. In consequence, official programs to protect the language and culture of the Khmer Krom do not exist and the use of their language remains only in the personal sphere with many youths having no functional knowledge of their ancestral language.
The NRP also believes that all promises made by Vietnamese authorities to allow indigenous Degar-Montagnards to speak, study and pray in their own language have not been met, denying the perpetuation of the millenary culture of Vietnam's Central Highlands. Although Article 5 of Vietnam´s constitution contains clear provisions for instruction in minority languages and for the protection of ethnic identities, the Vietnamese government continues to implement repressive policies against both Degar-Montagnards and Khmer Krom.
The NRP is also very concerned about the Chinese government´s failure to grant the Uyghur people, who are indigenous to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), access to education in their own language. While the Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law (REAL) entitles minorities to use and develop their own languages, including in education, under the so-called “bilingual” education policy the Chinese authorities have eliminated Uyghur as the language of instruction almost completely.
These examples reflect many other similar cases and prove that there is a clear gap between codifying and observing human rights laws. It is obvious that national and international human rights tools intended to specifically protect indigenous and minority languages cannot fulfil their aims as long as governments are not willing to put these instruments into practice. As the HRC noted correctly in the concept note to this panel, language and culture are interdependent and provide cohesion within and outside communities. However, many governments still, incorrectly, consider the safeguard of indigenous languages a threat to national stability. As long as there is no change in this mentality, instruments on the protection of indigenous languages will continue to fail in fulfilling their objectives, with real implications for the people left disadvantaged as a consequence.
Members and contributors 2013
|Giuseppe R. Roma||590 €|
|Salvatore P. Capistrello||200 €|
|Giancarlo B. Torino||30 €|
|Marco B. Merano||20 €|
|Davide B. Prato||50 €|
|Giuseppe P. Grottammare||50 €|
|Maurizio T. Roma||1.000 €|
|Rosa A. Firenze||590 €|
|Giuliano G. Sondrio||590 €|
|Sergio Pasquale R. Cremona||500 €|
|Total SUM||326.746 €|
Online Donations 2013
East TurkestanOctober 1, Senator Perduca to the Bavarian parliament for the International Conference on Uighurs
East TurkestanSenator Perduca to Participate in International Conference on the Upcoming Chinese Leadership Change and its Potential Impact on Uyghur
East TurkestanUyghurs should be treated according to international norms both at home and elsewhere. Kazakhstan must stop Ershidin's extradition to China
East TurkestanEast Turkistan: Public Conference with Rebiya Kader: "Uyghurs' proposals for Autonomy of East Turkistan"
The Wall Street Journal
Nury TurkelPeople Power Sends a Message To Oppressive Regimes
03/17/2005China frees top Uighur prisoner
The Washington Times
Ehrling HohUighur exile lets freedom sing in China's Xinjiang province
09/17/2012 Bahrein U.N. U.N./DOCUMENTS Bahrein: Is the progress announced by the government at the Universal Periodic Review in line with the Bassiouni Commission Independent Report? Side event with Bahreni legislators and activits on 19 September
09/14/2012 Iraq U.N./DOCUMENTS Geneva, United Nations Council on Human Rights: statement by Antonio Stango on the right to truth and the Iraq war of 2003
07/21/2012 FGM Human Rights Council Human Rights Council Ninth session U.N./DOCUMENTS Traditional values of humankind
06/28/2012 China East Turkestan U.N./DOCUMENTS Oral Statement - General Debate on Item 4 (“Human Rights situations that require the Council´s attention”) at the 20th Session of the UN Human Rights Council