The Russian Civic Chamber denounces the blatantly discriminatory law On Ensuring the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language, which came into effect on July 16.
This law contradicts certain international law provisions, in particular Article 14 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1950, by discriminating against millions of Ukrainian citizens on the basis of language.
The law tramples underfoot the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements; specifically it violates Clause 11, which states clearly that “permanent laws on the special status of particular districts in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions must be made in conformity with the measures indicated in Note 1,” which include “the right to linguistic self-determination.”
Moreover, such a step directly violates two articles of the Ukrainian Constitution at once. Article 10 reads: “In Ukraine, the free development, use and protection of Russian, and other languages of national minorities of Ukraine, is guaranteed.” The enacted law is undoubtedly in breach of the free use of the Russian language in almost all spheres of life: from healthcare to culture and media, and from legal proceedings to services. Russian-speaking citizens cannot be defined as a national minority in a country where they account for more than a half of the population.
Article 3 of the Constitution reads: “Human rights and freedoms and their guarantees determine the essence and orientation of the activity of the State.” The new law in essence contradicts the declared orientation of the state’s activity: to ensure the rights and freedoms of the Ukrainian citizens, for whom Russian is both a native language and a language of everyday life.
The Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation is calling on the Ukrainian authorities to observe the Constitution of their own country and honor the assumed international obligations. The world community should give a relevant assessment and influence the Ukrainian authorities with a view to repealing this discriminatory law.