OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities Lamberto Zannier believes that Ukraine should remain a country in which people can use not only the Ukrainian language.
“Although I respect the goal of the Ukrainian authorities to strengthen the role of the Ukrainian language as a state language, but at the same time (Ukraine – ed.) Should remain a space for all groups of different nationalities with different languages, which they should have the right to use,” Zannier told RIA Novosti .
“I communicate with the speaker of the (Ukrainian) Parliament, and recently I also spoke with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to make sure that work on the language bill continues.”
First of all, it is necessary to hold consultations with all ethnic groups, their opinion should be taken into account. Secondly, the law should … reflect obligations under which Ukraine promised to respect the right of minorities to have access to their native language, ”he added.
According to Zanier, he will continue to insist that the Ukrainian authorities make sure that all of the above has been observed.
In October, the Parliament of Ukraine passed in the first reading the draft law “On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language”, which provides for the use of the Ukrainian language in almost all spheres of life – it should become mandatory for state and local authorities, all educational institutions, hospitals and the service sector .
The Law on Education, which significantly reduces the possibility of studying in the languages of national minorities, entered into force in Ukraine on September 28, 2017, it will be enacted in stages – until 2020.
The governments of a number of countries, including Hungary and Romania, stated that this law violates the rights of national minorities in Ukraine. Moscow also believes that the law on education violates the constitution and international obligations of Kiev.
According to the Ministry of Education of Ukraine, the Venice Commission in its recommendations indicated that Kiev is not obliged to change the seventh article of the law on education, which concerns the language of instruction. Ukraine is recommended to “fully use the flexibility” of this article in its implementation, to increase the time frame for the implementation of the education reform, as well as to free private schools from restrictions on education in the languages of minorities.
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