27 languages, 120 signatories: ‘Right to language is a human right’

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On International Mother Language Day, the Network for Monitoring, Documenting and Reporting on Language Rights (DHİBRA) released a statement in the mother languages of Turkey and requested the removal of obstacles to mother languages.

The Network for Monitoring, Documenting and Reporting on Language Rights (DHİBRA) released a statement in 27 languages on the occasion of International Mother Language Day today (February 21).

Released in Abkhazian (Apsuwa), Abkhazian (Achuwa), Adyghe (west), Adyghe (east), Arabic, Albanian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Chechen, Western Armenian, Persian, Georgian, Homshetsi, Kurmanji, Ladino, Laz, Macedonian, Ossetian, Pomak, Romanes, Romeika, Greek/Romaic, Russian, Syriac, Zazaki, English and Turkish, the statement has demanded the removal of the obstacles standing in the way of mother languages.

The full statement has read:

“Our mother languages live with us! Our mother languages live with us in the street, in the workplace, in our songs, in our joy, in our sorrow. Our languages, just like our nature, are ignored in the turmoil of the new world due to political and economic reasons.

“We want our children too to live speaking their mother languages. We expect the state and individuals to fulfill their duties in this matter. We demand the removal of the obstacles our mother languages face, as well as the promotion of these languages. We believe that the co-existence and development of various languages guarantee peace and social fraternity. Let us not forget that the right to language is a human right.

“We will not give up on our nature, our streets, our music nor our mother languages! Our mother languages live with us, we live with our mother languages! Happy 21 February International Mother Language Day!”

Click for all statements in 27 languages

Turkey’s disappearing languages
According to the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, there are 18 extinct or endangered languages in Turkey.

Of these, Ubih, Mlahso and Cappadocian Greek have been completely extinct. Hertevin is about to go extinct. Ladino and Gagauzian follow these languages as severely endangered languages.

While Romani, Western Armenian, Homshetsma, Laz, Pontic Greek, Abkhazian and Surat are also endangered languages, Adyghe, Kabar-Circassian languages and Zazaki are “vulnerable.”

The undersigned
1864 Memory Center, Federation of Abkhaz Associations, Adana Circassian Culture Association, Agos Newspaper, Agos Armenian Supplement, Ankara Circassian Association, Alan Culture and Aid Foundation, Alef FM, Almastı Circassian Women’s Movement, Mother Language Women, Antalya Circassian Association, Apoyevmatini, Aramyan School Graduates Association, Arab Alevi Youth Assemblies, Aras Publishing, Arıkbaşı Village Caucasian Association, Ari Language and Culture Research Association (Arî-Der), Avesta Publishing House, Avlaremoz Platform, Bahçelievler Caucasian Circassian Association, Balıkesir Adige-Circassian Association, Bandırma North Caucasus Cultural Association, bianet (IPS Communication Foundation), Biga Caucasian Culture Association, Bodrum Circassian Culture Association, Bosnian Media, Bozüyük North Caucasus Association, Bursa Circassian Culture Association, Can TV, Ceyhan North Caucasian Culture Education Association, Circassian Culture House Association, Çorum Caucasian Culture Association, Dersim Associations Federation, Diyarbakır Institute of Political and Social Research (DİSA), Friendship and Culture Association (DKDER), Düzce Adyghe Culture Association, Ahliddar Cultural Center, El Amaneser, Barrier-Free Constituents Federation, Eskişehir North Caucasian Culture and Solidarity Association, Gazete Sabro newspaper, Gola Culture, Art and Ecology Association, Gor Hemşin Culture Language History Magazine, Migration and Humanitarian Aid Foundation, Göksun Circassian Association, Gönen Circassian Culture Association, Georgian Language Center, Georgian News Portal, Georgian Cultural Center, Rights Initiative Diyarbakır Representative, Hangardz Independent Theater Group, Hemşin Culture Research and Survival Association, Heyamola Publishing House, İnegöl Circassian Adyghe Culture Association, İskenderun Circassian Association Adyghe Khase, İsmail Beşikci Foundation, İstanbul Arab Alevi Assembly, Istanbul Caucasian Cultural Association, Istanbul Pomak Cultural Association, Istos Publishing House, Izmir Circassian Cultural Association, Jineps Newspaper, Woman Time Association, Caucasian Associations Federation, Kahramanmaraş Caucasian Cultural Association, Kayseri Caucasian Association, Komeleya Wêjekarên Kurd (Kurdish Literature Association), KoyuSiyah Publishing, Köstebek Collective, Kurdish Studies Association, Kurdish Language and Culture Network, Cultural Studies and Social Research Association (KİTA), Laz Culture Association, Manisa Circassian Culture Association, Marje Podcast, Mersin Caucasian Culture and Aid Association, Mesopotamia Language and Culture Research Association, Mesopotamia Education Science Art Health and Culture Foundation, Mesopotamia Culture Center, Mızağa Magazine, Minority Rights Group, Mustafa Kemal Pasha Circassian Culture Association, Nazilli Caucasian Culture and Solidarity Association, Nor Zartonk (Armenian Culture and Solidarity Association), Ogni Magazine, Children First Association, Papyrus Publishing, Perperik Music Group, Pomak Institute, Colorful Hopes Association, Reyhanlı Circassian Association, Roma Rights Association, Romani Godi, Rosa Women’s Association, Ruhi Water Friends Choir, Ruhi Water Culture and Art Association, Sakarya Caucasian Culture Association, Samsun Circassian Association, Sardamond Cultural Research Group, Sephardic Culture Research Center, Shema Media Group, Silivri North Caucasian Cultural Association, Sinop Caucasian Cultural Association, Sivas North Caucasian Cultural Association, Civil and Ecological Rights Association (SEHAK), Sungurlu Caucasian Association, Susurluk Caucasian Association, Syriac Associations Federation, Şamil Education and Culture Foundation, Tokat Circassian Association, Turkish Cultures Research Group, Uncire Magazine, Uzunyayla Culture and Solidarity Association-Kayseri, Uzunyayla Caucasian Culture and Solidarity Association- İstanbul, Vejiyaişê Tiji (Tij Publishing), VOMANK, Weşanên J&J (J&J Publications), Weşanxaneyê Vateyî (Vate Publishing House), Life Memory Freedom Association, Zan Social Political Economic Research Foundation