More than communication: Implementation of law on languages gathers momentum

24 May 2024

More than communication: Implementation of law on languages gathers momentum

Language, as a cornerstone of our identities, transcends its mere communication-oriented utility; it is the embodiment of dignity, liberty, equality, and heritage, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK Caroline Ziadeh says.

Speaking at an UNMIK and IOM Kosovo supported event that concludes a project to promote and protect language rights, including strengthening the implementation of Kosovo's Law on Use of Languages across 30 municipalities in #Kosovo, she told those gathered:

"Within the framework of international human rights, language assumes paramount importance, serving as catalyst for the realization of fundamental freedoms and the preservation of diverse traditions and cultural landscapes."

The Ombudsperson Naim Qelaj said the project would have an impact in ultimately determining how far the Kosovo population is able to access services and information, and to use their own languages as part of their fundamental Human Rights. 

"The collaboration with the language commissioner's office...was a good example of interinstitutional collaboration and I believe good work has been done in the field to understand how far the law on languages and the constitution being implemented."

Language Commissioner of Kosovo Slaviša Mladenović thanked IOM and UNMIK for supporting efforts to further cooperation between his office and the Ombudsperson.

"This is in the favour of the result of better respect for the Law on Use of Languages."

Chief of IOM Office in Kosovo Anna Rostocka said the project's ultimate aim was to foster more inclusive and tolerant societies through fulfilling language rights - in particular for non-majority communities.
"Language is not just a tool for communication, but also an expression of identity, culture and belonging. The sense of belonging to a community is the very key to fostering equality and social cohesion."

During the event the Commentary to the Law on the Use of Languages was also presented to the audience. Developed within the project, the commentary aims to facilitate the full implementation of the Law, clarifying the intent and meaning of every article and providing guidance to ensure language rights.