#ProtectLinguists Panel Discussion
United Nations, New York

When: December 11, 2019

Where: UN Headquarters, New York, Conference Room F

Topic: Protect Translators. Protect Interpreters. Protect the World.

#ProtectLinguists Panel Discussion<br> United Nations, New York

Pushing the Red T cause forward! In the context of United Nations Humanitarian Week, the Permanent Missions of Spain and the Republic of Fiji to the UN as well as the UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) hosted a #ProtectLinguists panel discussion on December 11 at UN headquarters in New York City. Red T had the privilege of co-organizing this important event. We thank our hosts, especially H.E. Ambassador María Bassols, who delivered inspired opening and closing remarks, and UNDSS Director Bill Keller, who provided an insightful perspective from the field. We are likewise grateful to Dr. Simona Škrabec from PEN International, Betsy Fisher, Esq., from the International Refugee Assistance Project, Lucio Bagnulo from Amnesty International’s Language Resource Centre and Maître Caroline Decroix from the Association des interprètes et auxiliaires afghans de l’Armée Française for lending their powerful voices in support. And many thanks to AIIC’s Linda Fitchett for moderating the event.

The event provided an international platform for raising awareness among member states of the urgent need for greater legal protection of local civilian translators and interpreters in conflict and post-conflict situations. Red T founder, Maya Hess, who spoke on behalf of the world language community,* suggested modalities to enhance linguist protection through a coordinated international response. These include the establishment of a working group on this thematic within the UN structure; the appointment of a Special Rapporteur by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate, gather data and draft a report on the scope of the issue along with possible solutions; an iteration of the Montreux document that would include a section on linguist protection; and a UN resolution or similar legal instrument that would articulate interpreter rights and establish a normative framework for future protection. She concluded with an urgent appeal to member states to firmly place the protection of translators and interpreters in the “Protection of Civilians” agenda of the United Nations.

*International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC)
International Federation of Translators (FIT)
International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters (IAPTI)
Critical Link International (CLI)
World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI)
International Association of University Institutes with Translation and Interpretation Programs (CIUTI)

Event marketing collateral designed by Lúgh Studio, Brooklyn.