Organized by JSSOR (“Bridge”) Youth Organization and jointly facilitated with UNAMI Human Rights Office (UNAMI HRO)
Baghdad, 15 December 2020 – The preservation and protection of Iraq’s minority languages, which are an enduring testimony of Iraq’s rich cultural heritage, was the main topic at a workshop that brought together representatives of the country’s diverse components, government and activists.
Organized by JSSOR (“Bridge”) Youth Organization and jointly facilitated with UNAMI Human Rights Office (UNAMI HRO), the meeting comprised about 70 participants, including 28 women, from the Faili Kurd, Arman, Sabean Mandean, Zaradashti and Chaldean components. Also present were representatives of the Ministries of Education, Planning and Culture, Tourism and Heritage, the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights, civil society, as well as Members of Parliament and with online participation by Dr. Fernand de Varennes, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority.
The workshop is the first of a series that aim to develop a strategy to be shared with the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government on how to preserve and protect Iraq’s rich and multilingual heritage.
The participants stressed the importance of language for cultural identity and strategies to save endangered languages which face extinction. UNAMI HRO Chief Danielle Bell said the “preservation of minority languages in law and practice will serve to protect Iraq’s history and its rich cultural diversity.” She noted that it is the shared responsibility of government, diverse society components and individuals to keep these languages alive. UNAMI HRO will continue to support government efforts to preserve and protect Iraq’s minority languages and meet its obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination.
Human Rights Office
UN entities involved in this initiative
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights