[lg policy] OSCE Urging Dialogue And Compromise On 'Divisive' Language Law In Ukraine

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 27 15:08:59 UTC 2012

OSCE Urging Dialogue And Compromise On 'Divisive' Language Law In
Ukraine (18:45, Thursday, July 26, 2012)

Ukrainian News Agency

OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Knut Vollebaek urges
supporters and opponents of the Law on Language Policy to enter into a
dialogue and find a compromise on the 'divisive' language law in
Ukraine not to escalate tension, the OSCE press-service said in the

"In the present pre-election climate, tensions surrounding the
language law could easily escalate," said Vollebaek.

"I therefore call on all parties to engage in a substantive dialogue
on the issues raised by the law with a view to finding a suitable
compromise," he noted.

Vollebaek came to Ukraine on July 24 to 26 July and met with this
country's leaders, representatives of the opposition, national
minorities and public organizations.

The Commissioner expressed concern at the manner in which the law was adopted.

He particularly referred to the parliamentary majority's refusal to
consider any of the more than 2,000 amendments put forward.

"The disproportionate favoring of the Russian language, while also
removing most incentives for learning or using Ukrainian in large
parts of the country, could potentially undermine Ukraine's very
cohesion," Vollebaek said.

He warned that the law could likely lead to further polarization of the society.

As Ukrainian News reported, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov supposes
amendments to the Law on Language Policy to reach a compromise.

On July 3, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the law on the principles of the
state language policy providing the official use of regional languages
in the work of local governments if at least 10% of language speakers
live in the territory.

The opposition organized the protest actions on the same day.

President Viktor Yanukovych on July 11 pledged to settle the language
policy issue in Ukraine emphasizing the law was being studied by


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