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Diversity of Languages: The Great Achievement of Humanity

Diversity of Languages: The Great Achievement of Humanity
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From 19 January to 22 February, a thematic exhibition Diversity of Languages: The Great Achievement of Humanity, dedicated to the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022–2032) is on display in the International Organizations Documents Reading Room (Room 207g).

This Decade was proclaimed at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly (Resolution A/RES/74/135) to raise global awareness of the disappearance of many indigenous languages and to mobilise stakeholders and resources to preserve, revitalise and promote them. This decision by the Assembly continues the initiative to declare 2019 the UN International Year of Indigenous Languages.

There are some 476 million indigenous people in the world, living in 90 countries. Although they make up about 6% of the world's population, they account for 15% of the world's poorest people. Indigenous peoples are among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in the world. The international community acknowledges the need to take measures to protect the rights of indigenous peoples and to help them preserve their culture, way of life and language.

There are about 7,000 languages in the world today. UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger released in 2010, contains some 2,500 languages, of which 230 have disappeared since 1950. Indigenous languages are particularly vulnerable, as many are not taught in school or used in the public sphere. Specialists consider that in order for a language to survive at least 100 thousand people should speak it. At all times languages have appeared, existed and died out, but never before have they disappeared so quickly. Every two weeks one language disappears, taking away entire cultural and intellectual heritage with it.

A high-level event to mark the end of the International Year of Indigenous Languages took place in Mexico City, Mexico, on 27–28 February 2020. Participants adopted the Los Pinos Declaration, which served as the basis for the global plan of action for the Decade of the World's Indigenous People and which prioritised the empowerment of native speakers of indigenous languages.

The declaration emphasised that indigenous peoples have the right to freedom of expression, to receive education in their own language, to use their languages in justice systems, the media, labour and health programmes.

The Declaration recognized the important role of indigenous languages for social inclusion and integration, cultural rights, health and justice, and stressed their value for sustainable development and biodiversity conservation, as these languages preserve the ancient and traditional knowledge that connects humanity to nature.

The exhibition presents more than 80 documents in Russian, Belarusian, English, Spanish, French and German. Among them are periodicals, brochures and mimeographed materials.

The following thematic sections are on display:

  • Thousands of languages: living, disappearing and lost
  • Indigenous peoples as keepers of cultural diversity, biodiversity and intangible cultural heritage
  • International standards and national legislation for the protection and promotion of the human rights of indigenous peoples. International regulatory legal enactments concerning the languages and linguistic diversity
  • Environment, social and economic development of indigenous peoples

The exhibition is intended for a wide range of readers interested in cultural and linguistic diversity, ethnography, history, demography and human rights.

Related links:

Documents

The opening hours of the exhibition correspond to the library’s opening hours.
Admission is by the library card or by the Social and Cultural Centre ticket.

For more info: (+375 17) 293 27 34.

Official Documents Service Department

 

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