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PRESS RELEASE: WORLD UYGHUR CONGRESS APPLAUDS CREATION OF UYGHUR BRAILLE SCRIPT

PRESS RELEASE: WORLD UYGHUR CONGRESS APPLAUDS CREATION OF UYGHUR BRAILLE SCRIPT
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Press Release – For Immediate Release
25 January, 2022
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
 www.uyghurcongress.org
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and the Uyghur Academy welcome the creation of the Uyghur braille script by Harris Mowbray and by Uyghur scholars. The project, which built upon decades of previous, unfinished efforts, was completed in 2021.

“The creation of the Uyghur braille script is an important step in our attempts to safeguard the Uyghur language”, WUC President Dolkun Isa said. “The Uyghur braille script will also ensure that those in the Uyghur diaspora who are visually impaired are able access this part of our cultural heritage, and transmit it to future generations.”

Though the Chinese version of the braille script was introduced in 1952 in the People’s Republic of China, subsequent efforts in 1983 to develop a Braille script for the Uyghur language were never successfully completed. Starting in 2015, the Uyghur language has been banned in different regions of East Turkistan in school curriculums. Coincidentally, the work on the Uyghur version of the Braille script was hindered by the existing Chinese policies restricting the use of Uyghur language in education as well as in normal social life. Over the past decade, as the Uyghur language has become endangered by Chinese Communist Party’s policies that severely restrict the teaching and use of the Uyghur language in East Turkistan, Uyghurs in the diaspora have intensified efforts to safeguard their language. 

The use of one’s mother tongue is a recognised right under international law. In 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted UN Resolution A/RES/61/266 and called upon Member States “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world”. Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. The creation of the Uyghur braille script comes at a suitable time. Although there is a lack of clear data and statistics on the number of Uyghurs who are visually impaired, this script is valuable to ensure the preservation of the Uyghur language but also to make the Uyghur language accessible to all Uyghurs.

The project to create the Uyghur braille script has been documented in a report. WUC and the Uyghur Academy welcome this report, and once again thank the efforts of Harris Mowbray, Anwar Ahmad and other scholars for their work and contributions.
The report is available in English and Uyghur.