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One Constitution for all Mexicans: Agency Translates Document into 10 Native Languages

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February 5, 2013

Mexican law guarantees indigenous language speakers the right of access to legal, administrative and judicial documents in their native tongues. (Presidency of the Republic)

MEXICO CITY – A government agency has translated the Mexican Constitution into 10 indigenous languages to promote rights for indigenous peoples, the Public Education Secretariat (SEP) said Monday.

The completion of the project comes as Mexico celebrates the 96th anniversary of its Constitution, which is now available in the Chol, Chontal, Mixtec, Zapotec, O’odham, Tarahumara, Tepehuan, Yaqui, Mayan and Zoque languages.

According to the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples (CDI), 15 million people nationwide speak at least one of the nation’s 60 indigenous languages. Native peoples inhabit around one fifth of the national territory.

The translations were coordinated by the Inali and the Intercultural University of Tabasco, the University of Sonora, the National Union of Indigenous Translators and the Tarahumara State Commission.

On Feb. 21, the Inali will celebrate International Mother Language Day with the second International Indigenous Language Conference. The conference will feature national and international speakers who will discuss the 10th anniversary of Mexico’s Indigenous Language Rights Law, passed in 2003.

Mexican law guarantees indigenous language speakers the right of access to legal, administrative and judicial documents in their native tongues.

The conference will take place in El Fuerte, Sinaloa, and include academics and indigenous community members.

The SEP said that the National Institute for Indigenous Languages (Inali) is working to translate legal and public policy documents into indigenous languages.

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