Re: Bosnian Language, Letter of CNAB to Ambassador Milos Prica

His Excellence Dr. Milos Prica, Ambassador
The Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the Organization of United Nations
866 UN Plaza, Suite 585
New York, NY, 10017, USA

Esteemed Ambassador,

The Congress of North American Bosniaks, an umbrella organization representing the interests of over 300,000 American and Canadian Bosniaks, wishes to express the dissatisfaction of its constituents with the treatment of the Bosnian language within the Organization of United Nations. To that end, the Congress of North American Bosniaks calls upon you to act with the proper authorities within the Organization of United Nations so that Bosnian language can be recognized and duly listed together with other official languages of the world’s largest institution.

Our request is well justified as the Bosnian language has been introduced into state institutions within the United States of America, Canada, as well as in other bodies which themselves fall under the Organization of United Nations, such as the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe and others.

I wish to emphasize that in the 1991 census, 90% of Bosniaks, or 38% of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, declared the Bosnian language to be their mother tongue. Also, on March 21, 1992, in Sarajevo, a group of Bosnian intellectuals adopted the “Charter of the Bosnian language” which states:

“The Bosnian language is the language of Bosniaks and of all those who, with that classification, take it as theirs. By way of usage of the term Bosnian language, Bosniaks follow the identity of their language, the continuity of which can be traced all the way back to the medieval times in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the existence of which has, on innumerable occasions, been confirmed within various files of governance and legal documents, public speeches, Bosniak oral and written literature and in literature published in Slavonic and other languages.”

Eighteen prominent linguists within the Centre for Scientific Work of the Bosniak Cultural Society “Preporod”, brought forward, in the summer of 1993, a platform detailing the centuries-old continuity and existence of the Bosnian language as the only official language throughout the lands and territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The platform offered directions for creation of new nomenclature of the proper Bosnian language, authored by Senahid Halilovic, which was officially adopted on November 11, 1995.The principal defining factors scientifically certifying the existence of the Bosnian language are:

  • Southern Slavonic linguistic origin (it is not a hybrid language created by way of combining other languages but a language which has developed out of the common, ancient language of southern Slavs),
  • Ethnicity, which has created and passed on that language (Bogumils, medieval Bosnian state, Islamization),
  • The term “Bosnian language” which has been preserved since the Middle Ages,
  • Bosniak Alhamiado literature,
  • The scripture “Bosancica” and its tradition,
  • Linguistic reforms in the 19th century, linguistic reformers,
  • The Kallay policy of the Bosnian language,
  • Rich oral creations in peoples’ tongue,
  • Written literature of Bosniaks.

Our request also has a legal basis in the fact that the Referendum of Independence of March 1, 1992 confirms the statehood, sovereignty and independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In terms of the items of vote in that Referendum, 64.3% of the electorate voted for the creation of a “sovereign and independent Bosnia and Herzegovina, a state of citizens of equal rights, the peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Muslims, Serbs, Croats and others.”

Bosnia and Herzegovina was accepted into the Organization of United Nations on April 6, 1992, and thus became recognized as a state with complete entitlements within that term. Currently, there are 192 member states of the Organization of United Nations. Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of them There are 393 languages recognized by, and in use within, the system of the Organization of United Nations. The Bosnian language is not on that list although the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina has named it as one of three official languages in use in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Bosnian language is a linguistic, cultural and historical fact and as such is beyond any discussion. It is a truthful indicator of the historic roots of the Bosniak national being. The Bosnian language, created within the parameters of historic and scientific rules of origin and its development thereof, has its historical fundamentals, and all of the necessary qualifiers, used to define distinct languages. With the term Bosnian language, the Bosniaks confirm their cultural being with the historic and territorial motherland. The recognition of the Bosnian language as an established legal, cultural and historical occurrence, therefore, translates into political recognition of Bosniaks as a constituent people within Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as into the recognition of the statehood of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its ensuing legal framework. The creator of the Bosnian language is the Bosnian nation and its motherland is Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Western-most East and the Eastern-most West, the expanse which strives towards Europe and its values, bringing forward its own origins and values. The Bosnian language is, thus, an important pillar of statehood and the most important condition for the national existence of Bosniaks. The Bosnian language is an indubitable act, the existence of which has been proven by way of scientific, and not political, methodology.

Congress of  North American Bosniaks

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