The Girona Manifesto
In 1996, PEN Català, along with the Escarré International Centre for Ethnic Minorities and Nations (CIEMEN) and the UNESCO Friends Club drafted and edited the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights. Fifteen years later, PEN International, as a result of PEN Català’s initiative, has developed the Girona Manifesto: a ten-point document which brings together and updates the fundamental points of the declaration:
- Linguistic diversity is a world heritage that must be valued and protected.
- Respect for all languages and cultures is fundamental to the process of constructing and maintaining dialogue and peace in the world.
- All individuals learn to speak in the heart of a community that gives them life, language, culture and identity.
- Different languages and different ways of speaking are not only means of communication; they are also the milieu in which humans grow and cultures are built.
- Every linguistic community has the right for its language to be used as an official language in its territory.
- School instruction must contribute to the prestige of the language spoken by the linguistic community of the territory.
- It is desirable for citizens to have a general knowledge of various languages, because it favours empathy and intellectual openness, and contributes to a deeper knowledge of one’s own tongue.
- The translation of texts, especially the great works of various cultures, represents a very important element in the necessary process of greater understanding and respect among human beings.
- The media is a privileged loudspeaker for making linguistic diversity work and for competently and rigorously increasing its prestige.
- The right to use and protect one’s own language must be recognized by the United Nations as one of the fundamental human rights.