UWC condemns the so-called adoption of the anti-constitutional Draft Law on the Principles of State Language Policy
July 5, 2012
UKRAINIAN WORLD CONGRESS CONDEMNS THE SO-CALLED ADOPTION
OF THE ANTI-CONSTITUTIONAL DRAFT LAW
ON THE PRINCIPLES OF STATE LANGUAGE POLICY
The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) condemns the tactics used in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on July 3, 2012, which resulted in the so-called adoption of the anti-constitutional Draft Law on the Principles of State Language Policy, and deems them to be another glaring example of the gradual abandonment by the governing authorities of the democratic principles of governance.
Considering that throughout several centuries of tsarist and Soviet rule in Ukraine, the Russian language was forcefully introduced into all areas of state and social activity, while the native language of the Ukrainian nation was simultaneously suppressed through brutal pressure and repression, this Draft Law poses a serious threat to the future development of the Ukrainian language and raises doubts about its role as the sole state language of Ukraine.
This Draft Law marks the next step by the governing authorities toward the official re‑establishment of the Russian language in all spheres of state and community life and the Russification of the population of Ukraine, and subsequently, toward the introduction of Russian as the second state language.
This Draft Law contradicts:
1) the Constitution of Ukraine, which states that “The State language in Ukraine is the Ukrainian language” (art. 10); and
2) the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, which provide that regional languages and the languages of minorities should not be promoted at the expense of the state language.
The Draft Law, and earlier drafts, were repeatedly criticized by a broad spectrum of the Ukrainian public and prominent international institutions, including the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and the European Commission for Democracy Through Law (Venice Commission).
The UWC is deeply disturbed by these troubling events and appeals to President Viktor Yanukovych to refrain from signing this Draft Law on the language issue.
The UWC also calls upon the international Ukrainian community to express solidarity with Ukrainians in defense of the Ukrainian language and fundamental democratic principles in Ukraine.
The UWC is an international coordinating body for Ukrainian communities in the diaspora representing the interests of over 20 million Ukrainians. The UWC has member organizations in 32 countries and ties with Ukrainians in 14 additional countries. Founded in 1967 as a non-profit corporation, the UWC was recognized in 2003 as a non-governmental organization (NGO) by the United Nations Economic and Social Council with special consultative status.