The world cannot function without translators and interpreters. But they are at risk across the globe. Too many are being threatened, imprisoned, attacked, injured and killed with impunity. Just for doing their job.
There is ample and gruesome evidence that the protection mechanisms currently available under international humanitarian law are not sufficient. As a professional category, translators and interpreters fall through the cracks in the Geneva Conventions and, unlike journalists, they are not covered by UN resolutions. Moreover, there is no international instrument comparable to the Montreux Document (which outlines applicable laws and best practices for private militaries and security companies) that governs defense language contractors and the linguists they hire.
Now the world’s governments must act: A UN Resolution, similar to those adopted for journalists, would be a first critical step towards greater protection. And while such a resolution is not binding, it does represent a political commitment by the member states. The envisioned text would recognize that translators and interpreters in conflict situations face threats and violence; call on states to publicly condemn attacks targeting linguists; and urge states to ensure accountability by dedicating the resources to investigate and prosecute such attacks. Overall, the text would encourage the implementation of a culture of safety.
Red T is advocating for a UN Resolution to Protect Civilian Translators/Interpreters in Conflict Situations. Join us and our industry coalition partners in asking the UN to take urgent action. Please sign this petition and share it with others.