Today the State Language Protection Commissioner Taras Kremin met online with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Kairat Abdrakhmanov.
Mr Kremin called on the High Commissioner to make efforts to suspend Russia's membership in the OSCE, to strengthen the monitoring of the OSCE member states on issues related to human rights violations in Ukraine, including language rights and to prepare policy recommendations to prevent Russian propaganda in the OSCE participating states.
According to the Commissioner, the issue of the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language has always been a key one for the Russian authorities. “Their goal is to bring the Ukrainian language out of the public sphere. The occupiers have realized that with the beginning of the war the level of trust of Ukrainian citizens in the Ukrainian language increased significantly including national minorities. If at the beginning of 2014 a bit less than half of the population of Ukraine spoke the state language and recognized it as the only state language, today more than 80% of citizens speaks and confirms that the Ukrainian language is the basis of national security, guarantee consolidation, strong identity marker, determinant establishment of the Ukrainian nation as a European country. The movement towards the EU and NATO is enshrined in the Ukrainian constitution”, Taras Kremin said.
The Commissioner stressed that the issue of language has been and remains a key one during the negotiations with the Russian Federation on the preparation and approval of a draft agreement on security guarantees for Ukraine.
"One of the conditions set by the Russian leadership in the previous talks is the introduction of the Russian as the second state language in Ukraine. This is a direct violation of the Ukrainian Constitution, the decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, the language law. This is against the will of the citizens of Ukraine " Taras Kremin said. According to the Commissioner, today the world is shocked by numerous facts of genocide in Ukraine. We see the continuation of the aggressive humanitarian policy of the Russians in the newly occupied territories. In particular, we are talking about Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia, Kharkiv regions. That was concerned as well the Sumy and Chernihiv regions before the liberation by the Armed Forces. The occupiers remove the subjects such as "Ukrainian language", "Ukrainian literature" and "history of Ukraine" from school curricula. We have already seen the same situation in 2014 in the Crimea, in the occupied districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Today war criminals persecute teachers and destroy Ukrainian books as it was in Nazi Germany”.
The Commissioner Kremin called on the OSCE High Commissioner to use all available tools to monitor the rights of Ukrainian-speaking citizens and the language rights of national minorities in the occupied territories of Ukraine.
Besides, the parties discussed the problem of access to education in the Ukrainian language for citizens of Ukraine who were forced to go abroad due to the war. "The European Community and the OSCE countries need to pay special attention to this. That is why without the Ukrainian studies component (language, literature, history of Ukraine as well as geography) in the curricula of students currently studying in different countries we may have a significant humanitarian catastrophe – assimilation in the future" Taras Kremin said.
Due to numerous human rights violations, war crimes of the aggressor country fixed by the Secretariat of the Commissioner and by many international human rights organizations, Taras Kremin called for the suspension of the Russian Federation's membership in the OSCE.
The meeting was also joined by the Deputy Head of the Secretariat Serhii Sirotenko and the representative of the Commissioner Andrii Vitrenko.