30. July. 2020. | 10:08


NGO AKTIV urges the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Public Health to adhere to the Law on the Use of Languages



Public Statement

Ministry of Health and National Institute of Public Health to stop violating the Law on the Use of Languages during the pandemic

30 July 2020

On July 28, Government of Kosovo announced its Decision on introducing new measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus. The Decision states that, inter alia, all residents of Kosovo are obliged to “apply preventive measures and recommendations issued by the National Institute of Public Health and Ministry of Health”. However, members of Serbian and other non-majority communities living in Kosovo, are incapable of keeping themselves informed about newly introduced measures and recommendations, considering that both institutions are well-known for the violation of the Law on the Use of Languages by not publishing information in the Serbian language.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the information published by the Ministry of Health and National Institute of Public Health have predominantly been available in the Albanian language, regardless of the importance they play for the protection of public health. The Ministry of Health has not updated the version of its web-page in the Serbian language for months. The COVID19 page, run by the Ministry of Health, likewise is barely available in the Serbian language. Furthermore, National Institute of Public Health does not even have a version of the web page in the Serbian language. All the notifications on its Facebook profile page are also solely available in the Albanian language. In addition, Ministry of Health and National Institute of Public Health press releases for media are provided mainly in the Albanian language without the Serbian translation.

NGO AKTIV and several media appealed to the Office of the Language Commissioner over the past months regarding the work of above-mentioned institutions. However, the appeals had no results.

Taking into account that both institutions are not adhering to their obligations to provide all the information in the Serbian language, question that arises therefore is how citizens of Serb and other non-majority communities can “apply their preventive measures and recommendations” when they cannot even get informed about them?

In order to protect the health of all inhabitants of Kosovo, and to ensure the respect for linguistic rights, NGO AKTIV is requesting from Ministry of Health and National Institute of Public Health to implement the Law on the Use of Languages and to provide the translation of all documents and information in the Serbian language. NGO AKTIV is calling the Office of the Language Commissioner to undertake necessary measures in accordance with own competences, so that the violation of the Law on the Use of Languages does not become a common practice in the work of institutions.