The case for a Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights was presented on Wednesday (17th September 2008) to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva by the President of CIEMEN, Aureli Argemí.
Argemí told the Council that the UN should make the most of the International Year of Languages 2008 by including linguistic rights within human rights. Argemí argued that linguistic rights should not be covered by cultural rights, but rather by human rights and went on to say that:
«Languages do not have rights; but individuals do have linguistic rights. It is for this reason that we commonly distinguish between languages and cultures».
It has taken CIEMEN since 1996 to reach this stage when the Celtic League was one of the original signatories to a Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights (DUDL) in Barcelona. Last June CIEMEN presented a draft resolution on linguistic rights to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, but this is the first time, since the DUDL was approved in 1996, that the organization has argued the case for linguistic rights at an official UN Human Rights Council session.
In his speech, Argemí called for the UN «to approve, in the short term (or within two years), with the help and support of this Council, a Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights, as a necessary complement to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights».
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J B Moffatt
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