RE: About cultural/languages communities flags

From: Doug Ewell <>
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2015 16:53:44 -0700

And just another follow-up, to try to explain *why* the mechanism for
Regional Indicator Codes might be so closely tied to ISO 3166-1 alpha-2
code elements:

ISO 3166-1 codes are derived from code elements published by the United
Nations Statistics Division. This is the group that ultimately decides
"what is and isn't a country" for the purposes of these codes. While
there is inevitably some political influence in the UN, many
organizations and projects that use ISO 3166-1 codes do so to avoid
getting embroiled in their own debate over "what is a country." The IETF
language-tagging project (BCP 47, RFC 5646; see "IETF language tag" in
Wikipedia for more information) is one example.

Conversely, it is sometimes the case that groups which seek to extend
the set of ISO 3166-1 codes unilaterally, or to establish a competing or
supplemental coding system, might do so in order to gain acceptance or
establish credibility for a nation or territory that is not recognized
as such by UNSD.

It is entirely reasonable (IMHO) to suggest that if Unicode were to
attempt, by whatever means, to enable encoding of flags for entities
beyond those encoded in ISO 3166-1, that the door would be opened wide
for unrecognized nations and separatist groups to claim that the Unicode
Consortium "supports" their cause by supporting display of their flag.
It's very possible that Unicode has thought of this and does not want to
put itself in that position.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, USA |
Unicode mailing list
Received on Mon Feb 09 2015 - 17:55:03 CST

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