GA: UNPFII - Nordic Statement

Nordic statement at the twenty-second session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), 24 April 2023.

The Statement was delivered by Norway on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway.

Thank you,

I’m pleased to make this statement on behalf of Denmark with Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and my own country, Norway.

We are in the second year of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages. We hope that this decade can be a joint global effort to save and strengthen indigenous peoples’ languages. We think it’s important that we identify what is causing the declining use of the indigenous languages and what we can do to counter this.

This issue is complex, and in this permanent forum we have touched upon many of the challenges for the indigenous ways of life and therefore also indigenous languages. But one issue we have not focused on is indigenous languages, technology, and corporate responsibility to respect human rights.

Because many of the indigenous languages have few language users, the big tech companies do not develop software that facilitate the use of indigenous languages.

In recent years steps have been taken towards developing language tools for the Sami languages and Kalaallisut [pronounced: Galaaslisut] – the Greenlandic Inuit language. But it is still difficult to integrate Sami languages- and Kalaallisut into the most commonly used digital platforms and programs. Unfortunately, this seems to get harder and harder. The big tech companies will not allow our indigenous technology inside their own systems.

We experience that indigenous people cannot use their mother language when they use computers and telephones and other gadgets. In our part of the world, we see that these gadgets play a bigger and bigger role in our lives and our homes. We fear that this can accelerate a loss of these languages.We therefore recommend that the permanent forum takes a closer look into this topic, including how guidelines such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) are relevant.

Thank you for your attention.