EFAy Secretary General opens the seminar “Universal values: collective and human rights” in Palma de Mallorca

The Secretary General of EFAy, Jana Bacheva, inaugurated the seminar “Universal values: collective and human rights” with a speech on linguistic and cultural rights in the EU. The seminar that took place in Palma de Mallorca from the 13th until the 15th of January was organized by the Grup Blanquerna (http://www.grupblanquerna.cat/actualitat.php). The Grup Blanquerna was founded in 1985 in Mallorca (the Balearic Islands), by Climent Garau, a notorious biologist and activist for the rights of the Catalan people. The main goal of the Grup Blanquerna is to create an intellectual space where people can discuss the challenges and the specific problems that arise in the Catalan countries as well as to advocate the globalization of civil and national liberties, social justice, equality and solidarity, the defense of human rights and ecology. Since its foundation, the association has endeavored to promote a reflection on the rights of stateless nations, both from a local and European perspective. The Grup Blanquerna also aims to protect and promote the Catalan language and culture. Throughout the years the association has become a reference point in terms of intellectual debate in the Catalan cultural area. The conference “Universal values: collective and human rights” gathered experts, politicians and academics who assessed the current state of linguistic, cultural, social and economic rights in the EU (focusing among others on the cases of Galicia and the Basque Country) from a critical point of view and shared their opinion about the future of collective rights. In addition the seminar included speeches on the Armenian genocide, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, the right to self-determination of the people of East Timor and Western Sahara, etc. Jana Bacheva talked about the European Free Alliance Youth as one of the key actors among youth organizations in Europe that safeguard and promote linguistic and cultural diversity. She also gave a brief overview of the state of linguistic and cultural rights in some of the EU member states. As extreme examples of bad treatment of minorities she elaborated the cases of Greece and Bulgaria. In the last part of her speech she focused on the legal instruments protecting the linguistic and cultural rights in the EU, in particular the novelties introduced by the Lisbon Treaty. She emphasized the need of developing a common linguistic policy at the level of the EU, a policy that will take into account and respect the existing cultural diversity and linguistic pluralism, and prevent situations of cultural genocide and the disappearance of languages.

 

 

 

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