In brief

Council of Europe, ELEN call on states to use minoritised languages in coronavirus communication

Civil society group to produce report on non-compliance of linguistic rights during the crisis

Author: Engin Akyurt @ Pixabay
The Council of Europe (CoE) and the European Language Equality Network (ELEN) have separately called on European states to use minoritised languages in their coronavirus-related communications.

The CoE has issued a statement in which it argues that “the communication of relevant recommendations” in minoritised languages is “of the utmost importance for the well-being” of their speakers.

The CoE regrets that central governments, up till now, “have not systematically share the information, instructions, guidelines or recommendations in languages other than the official language of the country”.

The network of associations also regrets that “in most cases” that states have “resorted to online teaching or teaching through the medium of TV,” they have done so “limited to the official language(s), not considering the needs of the pupils who usually receive their education in regional or minority languages.” Such decision, the CoE argues, “is not only contrary to the [European] Charter [of Regional or Minority Languages]’s undertakings but also discriminatory.”

For its part, ELEN has joined the CoE in those demands, and has further announced that its member organisations are “currently collecting data on whether governments” of European countries have followed such demands. “The data collected will be compiled into a Report for the Council of Europe and the EU institutions,” the ELEN’s statement reads.

The Council of Europe is an international organisation bringing together almost all European states. The promotion of human rights and rights of minorities is one of its duties.

The ELEN network is made up of 166 civil society organisations for the defence of several minoritised languages of Europe.