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Congress Resolution

The 88th World Esperanto Congress, meeting in Göteborg, Sweden, from 26 July to 2 August 2003 with 1 800 participants from countries on the theme of “Language rights and responsibilities”

draws attention to the Universal Esperanto Association’s various initiatives and declarations in recent years concerning firstly the preservation of linguistic pluralism within states and in relations between states and secondly the part the international language Esperanto can play as an effective and neutral bridge between the various languages;

refers in this connection for example to the Prague Manifesto on language democracy (l996) and to resolutions of the World Esperanto Congresses in Zagreb (Croatia) in 2001 and Fortaleza (Brasil) in 2002;

notes:

that languages play a fundamental role in human societies, not only as tools for communication but also as means of expressing identity;

that language diversity represents one of the great assets of human culture and must be preserved in the context of a democratic language policy, and that such a policy provides the language resources not only for communication within societies but also for communication between societies;

that language rights — that is to say those rights that relate to satisfying communication needs and expressing identity in multilingual situations — are an essential but too often neglected element in fundamental human rights;

that giving effect to language rights is not only a legal but also a moral consideration, and is the responsibility of all;

that these rights apply, or should apply, at all levels of human society, ranging from the rights of individuals through the protection of language minorities to language equality in relations between states;

that the principles of equal rights and of democratic communication depend on the preservation of language diversity in multilingual communities, within the framework of a clear and egalitarian language policy, since that is a condition for maximum participation of all citizens in society;

that the lack of a clear and active language policy opens the way to language dominance and hegemony;

that language diversity, particularly in relations between states, can be preserved only by means of an active language policy directed at achieving a neutral multilingualism in which no language has a dominant position,

draws attention to the Esperanto-speaking community’s many years of experience as a model for egalitarian communication in a multilingual society and to the fact that Esperanto is ready to play a much more active role as a bridge in relations among states and in multilingual communication systems,

invites the various Esperanto organisations, at international, national and local levels, to work together in a systematic effort to draw attention to the qualities of the international language Esperanto and to preserve and develop the language so that it can play its part to the full as a linguistic bridge in multilingual situations,

and calls on all governmental and non-governmental international organisations, governments and other bodies, on scholars and scholarly organisations, and on all citizens who wish to preserve and reinforce language equality at all levels, to give more thorough consideration to the capabilities and achievements of the international language Esperanto in relations between languages and peoples throughout the world and to make use of its linguistic resources.


boontoe


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