Catalan NGOs denounce the Spanish government´s ´linguistic discrimination´ at the UN
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Publié le 28/02/04 22:13 -- mis à jour le 00/00/00 00:00

Yesterday in Geneva (Switzerland) the Spanish State published its biennial report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In the report every state has to give an account of the situation of human rights.

However, according to a number of organisations of Països Catalans, the Spanish government forgot once more to report on the linguistic reality of the Spanish territory. For this reason, NGOs such as Plataforma per la Llengua, CIEMEN, Centre Unesco Catalunya, Fundació del Congrés de Cultura Catalana and Acció Cultural del País Valencià, presented to the UN a supplementary report to the one presented by the Spanish state.

In this ‘parallel’ report the organisations evaluate the lack of compliance of the Spanish government with the reality of linguistic plurality in Spain. Amongst several aspects, the supplementary report denounces the language discrimination of the Spanish government and its efforts to promote linguistic secession in the Catalan territory.

In accordance with the supplementary report ‘the legal and political treatment meted out to the Catalan language by the Spanish implies, in various degrees, discrimination against Catalan speakers … The Kingdom of Spain makes only scant mention of the question of language, appearing on isolated occasions and only in reference to the Gypsy community or to recently arrived foreign immigrants’.

The supplementary report also focuses on the secessionist linguistic policies applied by the Spanish State: ‘we want to denounce the political measures which seek to undermine the “unity of Catalan”, measures which defy and contradict the scientific criteria which demonstrate the assignation to the Catalan language of the linguistic variants spoken in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and the Valencian Country’.

Speaking to Eurolang, Martí Gasull, spokesperson for Plataforma per la Llengua said that ‘we think it was convenient to explain to the United Nations what is happening on Spanish territory’. Being asked about the immediate results of the additional report, Gasull said that with the report ‘the linguistic issue was brought up and some questions were made concerning languages in Spain’.

Plataforma de la Llengua, considered the action a success. The Spanish report focused mainly on its performance regarding the gipsy minority in the territory, only briefly mentioning the issue of the language diversity: The Report states: ‘While in the Spanish Constitution there is no formal recognition of national or ethnic minorities, the Constitution recognizes and protects all the peoples of Spain, and their cultures, traditions, languages and institutions, including the gypsy population’. (Eurolang)

Related link: Spanish State Report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: (voir le site)

Eurolang? is a specialist niche news agency covering topics related to lesser-used languages, linguistic diversity, stateless nations and national minorities within the European Union. It provides an expanding on-line daily service across Europe, to NGOs, the media, European, State and local government, academia, researchers and the general public. The purpose of Eurolang is to provide, on a daily basis, relevant and current news about Europe's regional, stateless and minority language communities, numbering some 46 million speakers, to the general public and to national and regional media (newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, internet media) in Europe and worldwide.
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