OSCE HCNM on Language laws of Latvia and Slovakia


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Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 10:15:42 +0300 (EET DST)
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Subject: OSCE HCNM on Language laws of Latvia and Slovakia

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OSCE HCNM on Language laws of Latvia and Slovakia


OSCE
High Commissioner on National Minorities
 
Pressrelease
 
15 July 1999
 
I warmly welcome the decision of the President of Latvia to return the
State Language Law adopted on 8 July by the Saeima to the parliament
for reconsideration.
 
I would like to reiterate that I strongly support the aim of
strengthening the role of the state language in Latvia. The
international community should support the promotion of the Latvian
language through increased contributions to Latvian language training
provided to non-Latvians.

It is my firm conviction that a State Language Law can be elaborated
by the parliament which will enhance the position of the Latvian
language while at the same time being in conformity with international
standards.
 
Max van der Stoel
-----------------------------------------------------------

OSCE
High Commissioner on National Minorities

Pressrelease

19 July 1999

High Commissioner Welcomes Restoration of Use of Minority Languages in
Official Communications in Slovakia


The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Mr. Max van der
Stoel, issued the following statement today:

I welcome the restoration of the use of minority languages in official
communications in Slovakia, according to Article 2 of the Law on the
Use of Minority Languages adopted by the Slovak Parliament on 10 July.
As a result of the new Law, persons belonging to minorities will be
able to use their language in communications with public
administrative organs and organs of local self-administration in those
municipalities where the minority constitutes at least twenty per cent
of the population.

By adopting Article 2 of the new Law concerning the use of minority
languages in official communications, not only has the Slovak Republic
restored an established practice which was eliminated under the
previous Government, but it brings Slovakia's law in this matter back
into conformity with the Slovak Constitution, applicable international
standards and specific recommendations from relevant international
institutions, including my own office.

With regard to application of the Law as a whole, I have received the
assurance of the Government that the provisions of the Law on the Use
of Minority Languages will prevail, as a matter of subsequent and
specific law, when interpreting and applying the Law in relation to
provisions of the Law on the State Language.

I consider solution of the question of the use of minority languages
in official communications to be a step forward which follows previous
decisions of the Government in the field of inter-ethnic relations,
for example with regard to use of bilingual school certificates and
improvements in the policy of cultural subsidies.

I hope that the Government will move without delay to settle other
still unresolved inter-ethnic issues.

-- 
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