Speech of Zarema Bariieva at the 20th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

April 29, 2021

Statement by Zarema Bariieva at the virtual meeting of the 20th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Item 5f: Thematic dialogues. International Decades of Indigenous Languages.

Good afternoon,

Madam Chair, dear sisters and brothers!

Selyam aleyküm sayğılı hanumlar ve efendiler!

Since the beginning of the occupation of Crimea by Russia, the situation on the peninsula in the spheres of UNESCO mandate is in a critical state.

Despite the fact that the occupation authorities “officially” recognized the Crimean Tatar language as one of the state ones, there are no Crimean Tatar versions of the official websites pages,  the office work is conducted only in Russian, it is forbidden to use the native language in the so-called courts, there have been cases of threats to dismiss workers only because they spoke their native language  in violation of Articles 2, 8, 15 and 17 of the Declaration.

Before the occupation, there were 15 schools and 384 classes in Crimea with the Crimean Tatar language of instruction. The occupation authorities changed the status of schools. At the moment there are 7 schools with the Crimean Tatar language of instruction, 3 with both Russian and Crimean Tatar.

Education in the Crimean Tatar language is allowed only at the request of the parents. School administrations create obstacles in submitting applications, and cases of gross refusal have been registered, for example, at school No. 37 in Simferopol in February 2020.

So, if in 2013 there were 384 classes, then in 2021 there were only 119.

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of indigenous languages, it is very important that there is intersectoral interaction in the preservation and development of indigenous languages, i.e. indigenous peoples, government, business and international organizations.

In 2019, the Crimean Tatar Resource Center translated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into the Crimean Tatar language and posted it on the UN official website. The translation of the European Convention on Human Rights is under way.

The Ukrainian government, together with Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, began the work on the development of a Strategy for the preservation and development of the Crimean Tatar language in Ukraine.

We are ready to active participation in the expert work on the Global Action Plan of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages and share our experience in Ukraine.

Thank you very much for your attention!