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On 21 February, the SRSG and Head of MINURSO Alexander Ivanko alongside the Mission Force Commander, Major General Fakhrul Ahsen presided over a ceremony at MINURSO HQ commemorating the International Mother Language Day.

International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999. The idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day was the initiative of Bangladesh. The UN General Assembly welcomed the proclamation of the day in its resolution of 2002.

The Bangladesh Medical Unit took the lead for MINURSO celebration and screened two videos during the event: the first video recalled the day when students at the University of Dhaka demonstrated nationwide on 21 February 1952 to promote Bengali language; and the second video exposed  the multilingualism within MINURSO showing a number of staff members speaking in their various mother languages. It should be noted that UNESCO decided in 1999 that “21 February” would be observed worldwide as International Mother Language Day. The “Mother Language” is a melting pot of a particular culture with all its constituents, and its preservation implies the protection of values, philosophies, cultural features, traditions, expressions, songs, dances, and other rituals.