Language, Exclusion and Human Rights at the United Nations: Unifished and Challenging Business


The Study Group on Languages and the United Nations organised a Symposium on Language and Exclusion, last May 7th in New York, as a contribution to the reflection on the language policies of UN in practice. The keynote address delivered by Fernand de Varennes, an expert in rights of minorities and human rights, and member of the Advisory Board of Linguapax, emphasized the lack of recognition of languages as an element of human rights and considered the ideological and political impediments to acknowledging the relevance of human rights protection in matters involving language through international legal instruments. Other contributions focused on three issues: language policy and planning in international organizations, the role of language in conflicts and peacekeeping; and the relation between language, education and development. The president of Linguapax, Carme Arenas, attended the discussions, dedicated to the memory of Joshua Fishman (1926-2015) and concluded by another member of Linguapax Advisory Board, Björn Jernudd.

→ Read Fernand De Varennes’s keynote speech, “Unfinished and Challenging Business: Language, Exclusion and Human Rights at the United Nations 2015” (pdf, 19 pages)


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