Sunday, April 15, 2012

UN asked to investigate the cultural genocide of Catalan

The Catalan PEN has asked formally that the International PEN contact the Human Rights Commission at the UN concerning the cultural genocide the Catalan language is being subjected to.



The Catalan PEN,  as a member of PEN International (which is a member of the Advisory Committee), wants the United Nations to pronunce itself about this linguistic genocide, so it's planning to bring the matter to the United Nations' attention.


In a press conference, the chairman of the Translation and Linguistic Rights at PEN International, Josep Maria Terricabras, explained that this is their answer to the premeditated campaign of abolition of the Catalan language in Valencia, the Balearic Islands, and Catalonia, which responds to political motives.

The manifesto mentions other times in history when Catalan has been banned and persecuted—like during Franco’s dictatorship. Partido Popular's recent ascent to power in Spain has had a compounding effect on the discrimination against Catalan. This discrimination is aimed at eliminating the Catalan school model, wich is praised by everyone, including the European Parliament.

Furthermore, the Catalan PEN also mentions the schools in Valencia and in the Balearic Islands, where Catalan is becoming completely marginalized. As a result, Catalan speakers are unable to speak Catalan normally everywhere. It's nigh impossible to have access to a Catalan school, to have access to media written or spoken in Catalan, or to receive proper treatment from government officials.

In the Balearic Islands, the government is even changing the traditional Catalan names of some towns and cities by decree.


Finally, the Catalan PEN notes that all these actions are backed up by unfair laws which are designed to eliminate diversity and impose a false sense of homogeneity in Spain. This is happening in an EU member state, a state that has signed all kinds of international agreements regarding language rights. The situation is just absolutely unacceptable.

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