Friday, February 13, 2004

Spain Fails the Euskara Test

This shouldn't come as a surprise, after all, what Spain wants is to remove anything Basque from the face of the earth, but this report by Behatokia is very interesting and it appeared today at Berria English:

Basque Language Watchdog denounces Spanish Government’s failure to fulfil European Charter

It has produced a report examining how the European Charter has been applied to Basque and has submitted it to the European Council

Agurtzane Solaberrieta – DONOSTIA (San Sebastian)

The Language Rights Watchdog Behatokia has examined how the Spanish State has applied the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in the case of Euskara, the Basque language, and the conclusion it has reached is clear: Madrid has not fulfilled the European Charter.

The Spanish State was among the first eleven to sign the European Charter. It signed it on November 5, 1992, ratified it nine years later on April 9, 2001, and enforced it on August 1 of the same year. This is why Behatokia, with the contributions of other institutions involved in Basque cultural activity, has produced a report in which it examines how the Spanish State has applied the European Charter to Basque. Like Behatokia, the social organisations of other communities have also produced reports of this nature, as in the case of Catalonia and Galicia, to look at how the European Charter has been applied to their languages. Likewise, the Spanish Government has also produced its own report, because the first paragraph of Article 15 of the European Charter (Part IV, on enforcing the Charter) requires that the Spanish Government submit a report within a year of enforcing it to the General Secretary of the European Council. The Spanish Government presented its report on September 23, 2002. The report drawn up by Behatokia is entitled: ‘Assessment of the applying of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages to Basque by the Spanish State’ and has been submitted to the European Council in Strasbourg.

Xabier Mendiguren, the General Secretary of Kontseilua, and Juan Inazio Hartsuaga, Behatokia’s director, made an announcement yesterday concerning the report. Xabier Mendiguren said: “The Spanish State made a number of undertakings when it ratified the European Charter, and as far as the Basque language is concerned, it has not honoured them. The Spanish State is in an embarrassing position, because it has not met these commitments.” Mendiguren went on to stress that the commitment to bring about the normalisation of the language was everyone’s: “We have recently launched a campaign under the slogan “Hizkuntza eskubideak denon konpromisoa” (Language Rights are Everyone’s Commitment). When we say ‘commitment’, we mean taking real steps, and not just pretending, which has happened in this case. We are convinced that the normalisation of the Basque language will be achieved, if each sector of society acknowledges its commitments and honours them,” added Xabier Mendiguren, Kontseilua’s General Secretary.

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