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Ukraine failed to live up to its commitments regarding the language rights of national minorities

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 14930 | 27 June 2019

Mr Titus CORLĂŢEAN, Romania, SOC ; Lord Donald ANDERSON, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Viorel Riceard BADEA, Romania, EPP/CD ; Ms Erika BENKŐ, Romania, EPP/CD ; Ms Maryvonne BLONDIN, France, SOC ; Mr Vladimir CEBOTARI, Republic of Moldova, SOC ; Mr José CEPEDA, Spain, SOC ; Mr Corneliu Mugurel COZMANCIUC, Romania, EPP/CD ; Mr Zsolt CSENGER-ZALÁN, Hungary, EPP/CD ; Ms Olivia DELGADO, Spain, SOC ; Ms Zita GURMAI, Hungary, SOC ; Mr Antonio GUTIÉRREZ, Spain, SOC ; Mr Attila KORODI, Romania, EPP/CD ; Mr Pere LÓPEZ, Andorra, SOC ; Mr Emanuel MALLIA, Malta, SOC ; Mr Lőrinc NACSA, Hungary, EPP/CD ; Mr Zsolt NÉMETH, Hungary, EPP/CD ; Mr Liviu-Marian POP, Romania, SOC ; Mr Ion POPA, Romania, ALDE ; Mr Gheorghe-Dinu SOCOTAR, Romania, SOC ; Mr Ionuț-Marian STROE, Romania, EPP/CD ; Mr Attila TILKI, Hungary, EPP/CD ; Mr Barna Pál ZSIGMOND, Hungary, EPP/CD

With the adoption of Resolution 2189 (2017), the Parliamentary Assembly decided to closely follow developments in Ukraine concerning the protection and promotion of regional and minority languages.

The language rights of national minorities continue to be under serious threat in Ukraine. Following the entry into force of the controversial Law on education in 2017, whose main provisions have been found in breach of the relevant Council of Europe legal instruments by the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) in its Opinion no. 902/2017, the Ukrainian authorities did not take into account its recommendations. Moreover, Ukraine is not complying with its international commitments concerning the rights of persons belonging to national minorities to use their mother tongues. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law on guaranteeing the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language, on 25 April 2019, a legal act that allows the exclusive use of Ukrainian language to all its citizens, irrespective of their ethnic background.

As stated by the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention, “for many persons belonging to national minorities, language is one of the main factors of their minority identity and identification”. In order to avoid assimilation, but to promote integration of persons belonging to national minorities, any measures taken by the member States to promote the official language(s) must be accompanied by measures meant to protect and to promote the languages of national minorities, as stated in Article 10 paragraph 3 of the Ukrainian Constitution.

In the context of these worrying developments, the Assembly should closely follow the way in which the Ukrainian authorities are fulfilling their commitments in terms of creating an enabling environment for the exercise of language rights of persons belonging to national minorities.