Portuguese American Journal

Paulo Portas: Portuguese should be recognized as UN working language – United Nations

Portugal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paulo Portas, said Tuesday he had asked that the Portuguese language be recognized as an official working language in the United Nations.

Speaking to journalists, he also said that the Portuguese presidency of the United Nations Security Council was “very important to project Portuguese as a working language” in the organization.

If introduced, the measure will require all UN General Assembly, Security Council, UNESCO and other UN Agencies’ documents to be published in Portuguese.

The minister was speaking after a meeting, chaired by Portugal, to discuss the future of the United Nations mission to East Timor and candidacies to various agencies and organizations.

Portugal assumed the rotating monthly presidency of the Security Council of the United Nations for November. Portugal is also a candidate for the Human Rights Council between 2015 and 2017.

The Security Council presidency rotates among Council members in the English alphabetical order of their names. Each president holds office for one calendar month.

“Rarely has so much been spoken in and about Portuguese as during this month of the Portuguese presidency of the Security Council where both Portugal and Brazil are non-permanent members,” Paulo Portas said.

In July, foreign ministers from the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) (Comunidade de Países de Língua Portuguesa) called for a more “persistent political lobbying” to introduce Portuguese as a “document language” in the United Nations.

Portuguese is the third most widely spoken European language, after English and Spanish, with some 240 million users worldwide. More people speak Portuguese as their native language than French, German, Italian or Japanese.

Portuguese is now recognized as a working language by European Union, the Mercosul, the African Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, and the Organization of American States, among other world organizations.

Despite its status as a global language, Portuguese is not yet recognized as an official language of the United Nations.

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