The Libyan Amazigh High Council (LAHC) has declared the Amazigh (Berber or Tamazight) language as an official language in the cities and districts inhabited by the Amazigh in Libya.

The pronouncement came in line with the third anniversary of the election of Constitution Drafting Assembly, which was boycotted by the Amazigh.

This legal status that was given to the Amazigh language is the first step that will preserve the Berber identity and culture without awaiting the actions of the state institutions, which are undergoing political upheaval and legal deterioration.” The LAHC said on Wednesday.

LAHC’s member, Siham Bentaleb, said by this law, the Amazigh language will be studied in public schools, featured in state paperwork and documents as well as correspondences and signboards.

This decision that came after calls from many Amazigh activists is an achievement for Libya’s Amazigh people. Making of our language official starts from the Amazigh-populated areas, but we will keep on pushing until we get the language the legal status it deserves by the new Libyan constitution.” She explained.

She pointed out that this new decision does not imply that the Amazigh people want to have an autonomous rule or they want a separate region, adding that it is an interior Amazigh issue and has nothing to do with undermining the Libyan state authorities.

We are not going to take permission from any “dismissed and illegitimate” legislative authority to decide our natural rights. We are native Amazigh and we have to protect our people as per international conventions and treaties.” Bentaleb added.

It is noteworthy that the decisions of the LAHC usually get implemented in the Amazigh-peopled areas.

Lately, Tamazight was being taught in schools in the Amazigh districts despite hurdles they faced from different Libyan parties regarding their demands to include their language as official in the constitution since the fall of Gaddafi regime.


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