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10 August 2022

Language commissioner explains how best to report violations of the language law. Complaints must be specific enough for the language protection office to be able to take effective remedial action. 

Ukraine’s language commissioner came out with a Facebook post advising concerned citizens on how best to denounce instances of the use of unauthorized languages in public interactions. 

According to the commissioner, he receives numerous complaints from members of the public that cannot be properly acted upon because they lack essential information such as personal information of a complainant or a wrongdoer. The commissioner reminds that a complaint must set out the parties’ requisite details. One thus must make an extra effort to find out the wrongdoer’s identity. A complainant must also properly identify himself when reporting a violation. A complaint must further be signed and dated. 

The commissioner provides an email address where complaints can be sent ( 

In 2019 Ukraine has enacted a state language law, which requires all the nation's citizens to know Ukrainian and provides a detailed regulation of its use in various areas of public life. It also mandates the use of Ukrainian in all public exchanges, including, in particular, the provision of retail services. Service providers and others guilty of using a wrong language are liable to fines and other penalties. Use of languages other than Ukrainian is lawful where, in particular, a service provider agrees to use a language expressly requested by a customer. 

To help with enforcement, the law set up a system whereby citizens can report its violations to the authorities. Supervision of the use of languages is vested in a special office, that of the Commissioner for the Protection of the State Language. 

All interested parties are thus reminded that use of Ukrainian is mandatory in all public communications. Casual use in relevant situations of other languages may result in legal liability.

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