Language, Minorities and Human Rights


One of the most vexing issues in many of the world's so-called ethnic or minority conflicts is the question of language use by the State and its citizens. While international and national law has traditionally viewed language preference to be within a State's prerogative - at least when involving governmental activities and machinery - this position has proved to be a continuous source of acrimony and conflict, and wrong in some respects. Language, Minorities, and Human Rights is the most complete book ever written on the topic, providing for the first time an analysis of every aspect of language and the law. In addition to presenting a theoretical model for language's particular position and relevance in human rights, it constitutes an invaluable reference document by including the provisions of close to 100 international, multilateral and bilateral instruments involving language rights, as well as the constitutional provisions of 140 countries dealing with language. By addressing little explored areas such as the language rights of indigenous peoples, non-citizens and even the use of script, in addition to more traditional topics such as nationalism and language, freedom of expression and non-discrimination, Language, Minorities and Human Rights proposes a complete descriptive picture of language and human rights as well as proposing a number of suggestions on how to address and balance the many problems currently caused by the linguistic demands of various individuals and the interests of states in nation building.

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' This study is authoritative, yet succinct - and an ideal discourse, but very direct. ... the user may conveniently consult one source, for the most complete coverage of this subject available between two covers.' ASIL Newsletter, June 1997.
1. Introduction. 2. Historical Overview of Language and Law. 3. Freedom of Expression. 4. Equality and the Prohibition of Discrimination Based Upon Language. 5. Linguistic Minorities and the Use of their Language. 6. State Language Preferences, Practices or Restrictions and Human Rights. 7. Indigenous Peoples and Languages. 8. Conclusion. Appendix. 1. International Declarations and other Non-Binding Instruments. 2. Treaties. 3. National Constitutional Provisions. Bibliography. Index of Cases. Index of Treaties and International Instruments. General Index.