UNPO General Secretary Marks the Occasion of the Circassian National Day

The Hague, 6 October 2010The Circassian National Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the cultural and linguistic heritage of Circassian people, who were united under one state until the Czarist conquest in the nineteenth century. Circassian culture is rich in art, music and literature and has always represented a symbol of tolerance towards different faiths, which is particularly significant today when religious intolerance and violence are major threats to the world’s stability and to the cohabitation of different ethnic communities.

Today we would like to call on the international community to safeguard the cultural and civil rights of the Circassian people, whether those still living in their homeland or belonging to the Circassian diaspora. Circassians all around the world face problems to preserve their cultural heritage and traditions, and are concerned over legal and material difficulties they face when they decide to return to their historic homeland.

Despite living in different areas of the globe, Circassians are united by the common intent to find international support and recognition of their ethnic unity, possibly under one republic within the Russian Federation. Our sincere hope is that, following the step taken by the European Parliament last year during the Circassian National Day, other influential institutions and governments might pay greater attention to the issue of Circassian unity.

In 2014, the Winter Olympic Games will take place in Sochi. It will be a great sporting event and a celebration of fair play, with athletes and people coming from every country. However, beginning from this moment on, we would like to raise awareness that 2014 will also be the commemoration of 150 years from the expulsion of the Circassian people from its homeland, whose historic capital was Sochi. It is therefore even more important to include the cultural rights of Circassians and their political unity in the international agenda.

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