"Ban Ki-Moon calls for protection of all endangered languages"

Donald Z. Osborn dzo at BISHARAT.NET
Sat Aug 9 20:23:27 UTC 2008

This item from Mathaba News Network may be of interest:

Ban calls for protection of all endangered languages
Posted: 2008/08/09
From: MNN

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message on the International  
Day of the World's Indigenous People, August 9, 2008 called on States,  
indigenous peoples, the UN system and all relevant actors to take  
immediate steps to protect and promote endangered languages.

"In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 9 August as  
the International Day of the World's Indigenous People.

There were many reasons for this decision, but the fundamental  
motivation was the Assembly's recognition of the need to place the  
United Nations clearly and strongly behind the promotion and  
protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, in order to put an end  
to their marginalization, their extreme poverty, the expropriation of  
their traditional lands and the other grave human rights abuses they  
have faced and continue to encounter.

Indeed, the suffering of indigenous peoples includes some of the  
darkest episodes in human history," he said in his message according  
to UN Information Center.

"Important as it was, proclamation of the day was only a prelude to a  
greater milestone: last fall's adoption by the General Assembly of the  
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration is a  
visionary step towards addressing the human rights of indigenous  

It sets out a framework on which states can build or rebuild their  
relationships with indigenous peoples.

The result of more than two decades of negotiations, it provides a  
momentous opportunity for states and indigenous peoples to strengthen  
their relationships, promote reconciliation, and ensure that the past  
is not repeated.

I encourage Member States and indigenous peoples to come together in a  
spirit of mutual respect, and make use of the Declaration as the  
living document it is so that it has a real and positive effect  
throughout the world.

"As 2008 is the International Year of Languages, this International  
Day is also an opportunity to recognize the silent crisis confronting  
many of the world's languages, the overwhelming majority of which are  
indigenous peoples' languages.

The loss of these languages would not only weaken the world's cultural  
diversity, but also our collective knowledge as a human race.

I call on States, indigenous peoples, the UN system and all relevant  
actors to take immediate steps to protect and promote endangered  
languages, and to ensure the safe passage of this shared heritage to  
future generations." --IRNA

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