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European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages

Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on progress towards the ratification of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. [155984]

Mr. Vaz: I am pleased to announce that the UK has today ratified the Charter. In doing so, we have undertaken a binding commitment to protect and preserve Welsh, Scottish-Gaelic, Irish, Scots and Ulster-Scots as an essential part of our cultural heritage. We are considering the case for Cornish to be included. Our Instrument of Ratification lists the specific provisions, in Part III of the Charter, which we have undertaken to promote the use in public life of Welsh, Scottish-Gaelic and Irish. Copies of the Charter and the Instrument of Ratification have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.