International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day is celebrated worldwide on February 21. First announced by UNESCO in 1999, it is held to maintain, develop and promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity. From February 2000, various annual events are held worldwide to mark the International Mother Language Day.

The date responds to the day in 1952 when four students demonstrating for the recognition of Bengali as a national language were killed in Bangladesh.

Maintaining Georgian language was a pressing issue in Georgia in 1978. Following the developments in 1987, April 14 was proclaimed to be the day of Mother Language in Georgia.

According to UNSCO’s estimates, half of 6,000 plus languages spoken today will soon disappear.

Mother tongue is a unique instrument for protecting national identity and cultural heritage. There are many ethnic groups living in Georgia, most of which are especially affected by the issue of maintaining their mother language.

The Public Defender of Georgia and the National Minorities Council under the Public Defender pay particular attention to protection of mother language for ethnic minorities. Over the recent years, the Public Defender of Georgia has applied to the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia repeatedly with a recommendation to introduce teaching of minority languages at schools in Georgia.

We welcome the decision of the Ministry of Education and Science to allow teaching of minority languages at some schools in Georgia in 2015-2016, including Ossetian, Assyrian, Udi, Kurdish (Kurmanji) and Avar (Khundzakh) languages.

The Public Defender and members of the National Minorities Council under the Public Defender plan to hold events marking the International Mother Language Day in the coming days.

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