VAAD slams controversial language bill
The Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine [VAAD] states that “the vote in the Verkhovna Rada on the draft Law on the Principles of State Language Policy has, we believe, shattered public consensus regarding the language issue, led to civic confrontation and is first and foremost an attempt to gain extra votes.
VAAD feels compelled to state that in our view the draft bill does not resolve the problems faced by national minorities, while instead breaching both Ukraine’s Constitution and the European Charter of Regional and Minority Languages and the Framework Conference on National Minorities.
There are indeed languages in Ukraine which require state support, however this is not Russian, but Crimean Tatar, Gagauz, Roma, Karaim and Krymchak, Urum and Rumeisk languages, as well as Yiddish. It is these as minority languages which the European Charter of Regional and Minority Languages protects. European legislation upholds linguistic diversity and is aimed at protecting disappearing languages.
The bill voted in will free the hands of those who are trying to totally remove the Ukrainian language from use in the regions where more than 10% of the population speak another language. We are convinced that this is a crime against the Ukrainian language.
The authors of the draft bill are fighting for a situation where citizens don’t speak Ukraine, don’t study it or use it, instead giving significant preferential treatment ot the Russian language. You cannot resolve the language problems of national minorities in this way.
It should also be noted that the draft Law on the Principles of State Language Policy has not received an unequivocally positive assessment either among national minorities or among the Ukrainian public as a whole. Furthermore Ukraine’s national minorities have not once discussed this draft bill in open, have not heard the arguments of its authors, and have not expressed their own views and comments.
The draft law poses a threat to Ukrainian society since it disregards the State status of the Ukrainian language, does not protect minority languages at risk and arouses dissent and tension in Ukrainian society.
The National Communities of Ukraine wish for integration into Ukraine’s civil society. They wish to build a shared home which will not be destroyed for the sake of opportunistic interests.