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Lawmakers urge global community to defend minority rights from Kiev’s language crusade

According to a new law, instruction in the languages of ethnic minorities will remain only in elementary schools, education in secondary schools, universities will be exclusively in Ukrainian

MOSCOW, September 27. /TASS/. Russia’s upper house, the Federation Council, adopted a statement on Wednesday calling on the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and international parliamentary organizations of Europe to provide an unbiased assessment to Ukraine’s education law.

The document was endorsed by 159 senators. "We call on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, and also the parliaments of European countries and international parliamentary organizations in Europe to give an objective assessment to Ukraine’s anti-democratic law and defend the rights of national minorities to study in their native language," the document said.

The statement says that urgent measures need to be taken to protect all Ukrainian citizens from discrimination and restore their rights. Kiev’s authorities continue violating human rights and the new law "On Education" runs counter to the country’s constitution and infringes on the interests of its Russian-speaking citizens.

The senators note that the law violates Ukraine’s commitments under the 1995 Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) and the 1998 European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML).

"In their drive to thrust Ukrainization (policy of imposing elements of Ukrainian culture) into education, the Ukrainian authorities violated the rights of large national communities living on Ukraine’s territory. The so-called revolution of dignity has led to an explicit violation of human dignity of those who did not support the 2014 coup in Ukraine," the statement stresses.

The Federation Council supports the fair yet harsh assessments of the Ukrainian law by authorities in Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece, Moldova, Poland and Romania, it says.

On Wednesday, Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, also plans to review and pass a draft statement condemning Ukraine’s education law.

Ukraine’s restrictive education statute

On September 25, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko signed a new law on education. According to the legislation, starting from 2018, instruction in the languages of ethnic minorities will remain only in elementary schools, while all educational instruction in secondary schools and in colleges and universities will be exclusively in Ukrainian.

Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece and Moldova have voiced concerns over the new law. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis canceled his visit to Ukraine scheduled for October. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Budapest would block any step in the EU that could lead to Ukraine advancing towards European integration.