Linguistic human rights in international law

Robert Dunbar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

Linguistic human rights (LHRs) can be found in a variety of international instruments, but such rights in some respects resemble a patchwork quilt. While not explicitly directed at language, rights in major international human rights treaties such as the right to freedom of expression tend to ensure that the state cannot unduly interfere with the use of a particular language by individuals and businesses. Rights explicitly directed at language, such as the right to be educated through a minority language, the right to use such a language in courts and tribunals, the right to interact with the state through such a language, and the right to receive minority language broadcasting tend to be found in instruments which apply to certain European states. These rights tend to be limited by a range of conditions. Also, these instruments tend not to provide a quasi-judicial remedy for individuals who feel their LHRs have not be honoured by the state.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Linguistic Human Rights
EditorsTove Skutnabb-Kangas, Robert Phillipson
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781119753902
ISBN (Print)9781119753841
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Council of Europe
  • Cultural diversity
  • European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
  • Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
  • Human rights
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Language rights
  • League of Nations
  • Linguistic human rights
  • National minorities


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