UN: 4.5 million Peruvians speak 48 indigenous languages, preservation is critical

00:00 | Lima, Jan. 8.

Some 4.5 million Peruvians speak 48 indigenous languages, but 21 out of the 43 in the Amazon are in danger of extinction, so action needs to be taken to preserve, revitalize, and promote them, UNESCO warned on Monday.

Unfortunately, many of these languages are disappearing at an alarming rate since the communities speaking them are facing forced relocation, education disadvantages, poverty, migration, and other forms of social exclusion. 

If we do nothing today, 2,680 indigenous languages may be in danger of disappearing in the next 100 years.

It is for this reason that the United Nations declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages in order to encourage urgent action to preserve and promote them.

This decision is contained in a resolution that was unanimously adopted by the 193 U.N. member states. There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries.

According to Vatican News, Pope Francis pointed out, in Laudato Si, that the disappearance of a culture could be more serious than the disappearance of an animal species.

The U.N. member states encouraged the Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to coordinate annual activities collaboratively with other organizations.

The aim, according to the text, is to "draw attention to the dramatic loss of indigenous languages and the urgent need to preserve, revitalize, and promote them, by adopting new urgent measures at the international level."

Pope Francis in Madre de Dios

"We want our children to study, but we don't want the school to erase our traditions, our languages; we don't want to forget our ancestral wisdom," they said.

In his speech before ethnic groups, Francis underlined that "the one way for cultures not to disappear is for them to keep alive and in constant movement."

The Holy Father asked bishops to continue as they were doing, even in the remotest places in the forest, to encourage intercultural and bilingual education at schools, teacher education institutions, and universities.

As the New Year started, UNESCO Peru and the Culture Ministry's Indigenous Languages Directorate shared a video honoring indigenous languages in the Inca country. 


Published: 1/8/2019