Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted and proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
International Labour Organization Convention No. 107
The International Labour Organization Convention (No.107) Concerning the Protection and Integration of Indigenous and other Tribal and Semi-Tribal Populations in Independent Countries was signed 16 June 1957 and entered into force 2 June 1959. The Convention was closed to further ratifications in September 1991, when ILO Convention No. 169 entered into force. It will cease to be in force with respect to those states which ratify the latter.
1.Children belonging to the populations concerned shall be taught to read and write in their mother tongue or, where this is not practicable, in the language most commonly used by the group to which they belong.
2.Provision shall be made for a progressive transition from the mother tongue or the vernacular language to the national language or to one of the official languages of the country.
3.Appropriate measures shall, as far as possible, be taken to preserve the mother tongue or the vernacular language.
1.Governments shall adopt measures, appropriate to the social and cultural characteristics of the populations concerned, to make known to them their rights and duties, especially in regard to labour and social welfare.
2.If necessary this shall be done by means of written translations and through the use of media of mass communication in the languages of these populations.
UNESCO Convention Against Discrimination in Education
The UNESCO Convention Against Discrimination in Education, adopted 14 December 1960 and entered into force 22 May 1962, is the first international convention which contains expressis verbis provisions relating to the rights of persons belonging to minorities, including linguistic minorities.
1. For the purposes of this Convention, the term "discrimination" includes any distinction, exclusion, limitation or preference which, being based on race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic condition or birth, has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing equality or treatment in education [...]
When permitted in a State, the following situations shall not be deemed to constitute discrimination, within the meaning of Article 1 of this Convention: [...]
(b) The establishment or maintenance, for religious or linguistic reasons, of separate educational systems or institutions offering an education which is in keeping with the wishes of the pupil's parents or legal guardians, if participation in such systems or attendance at such institutions is optional and if the education provided conforms to such standards as may be laid down or approved by the competent authorities, in particular for education of the same level.
The States Parties to this Convention agree that: [...] (c). It is essential to recognize the right of members of national minorities to carry on their own educational activities, including the maintenance of schools and, depending on the educational policy of each State, the use of the teaching of their own language, provided however:
(i) That this right is not exercised in a manner which prevents the members of these minorities from understanding the culture and language of the community as a whole and from participating in its activities, or which prejudices national sovereignty;
(ii) That the standard of education is not lower than the general standard laid down or approved by the competent authorities; and
(iii) That attendance at such schools is optional. [...]
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution 2200A (XXI) on 16 December 1966 and entered into force 23 March 1976.
1. Each state party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognised in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
3. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, everyone shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality:
(a) to be informed promptly and in detail in a language which he understands of the nature and cause of the charge against him;...
(f) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court;
1. Every child shall have, without any discrimination as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, national or social origin, property or birth, the right to such measures of protection as are required by his status as a minor, on the part of his family, society and the state.
All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language.
Declaration on the Human Rights of Individuals who are not Nationals of the Country in Which They Live
The Declaration on the Human Rights of Individuals who are not Nationals of the Country in Which They Live was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/40/144 on 13 December 1985.
1.Aliens shall enjoy, in accordance with domestic law and subject to the relevant international obligations of the State in which they are present, in particular the following rights:
(f) The right to retain their own language, culture and tradition;
International Labor Organization Convention No.169
The International Labour Convention (No. 169) Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries was adopted 27 June 1989 and entered into force 5 September 1991. As of 22 June1992, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico and Norway have ratified the Convention.
1.Children belonging to the peoples concerned shall, wherever practicable, be taught to read and write their own indigenous language or in the language most commonly used by the group to which they belong. When this is not practicable, the competent authorities shall undertake consultations with these peoples with a view to the adoption of measures to achieve this objective.
2.Adequate measures shall be taken to ensure that these peoples have the opportunity to attain fluency in the national language or in one of the official languages of the country.
3.Measures shall be taken to preserve and promote the development and practice of the indigenous language of the peoples concerned.
1.Governments shall adopt measures appropriate to the traditions and cultures of the peoples concerned, to make known to them their rights and duties, especially in regard to labour, economic opportunities, education and health matters, social welfare and their rights deriving from this Convention.
2.If necessary, this shall be done by means of written translations and through the use of mass communications in the languages of these peoples.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child
The Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution 44/25 on 20 November 1989 and incorporates Article 27 of the Covenant for Civil and Political Rights.
States parties recognise the important function performed by the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health. To this end, states parties shall...
(d) encourage the mass media to have particular regard to the linguistic needs of the child who belongs to a minority group or who is indigenous;
1. States parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to... (c) the development of respect for the child's parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilisations different from his or her own;
In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities or persons of indigenous origins exist, a child belonging to such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of his or her group, to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practice his or her own religion, or to use his or her own language.
1.States parties recognise the right of every child alleged as, accused of, or recognised as having infringed the penal law to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child's sense of dignity and worth, which reinforces the child's respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of others and which takes into account the child's age and the desirability of promoting the child's reintegration and the child's assuming a constructive role in society.
2.To this end, and having regard to the relevant provisions of international instruments, states parties shall, in particular, ensure that...
(b) every child alleged as or accused of having infringed the penal law has at least the following guarantees...
(vi) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if the child cannot understand or speak the language used;
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families
The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution 45/158 on 18 December 1990. The Convention was not yet in force on 1 May 1999.
1. The present Convention is applicable, except as otherwise provided hereafter, to all migrant workers and members of their families without distinction of any kind such as sex, race, colour, language, religion or conviction, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, nationality, age, economic position, property, marital status, birth or other status.
States parties undertake, in accordance with the international instruments concerning human rights, to respect and to ensure to all migrant workers and members of their families within their territory or subject to their jurisdiction the rights provided for in the present Convention without distinction of any kind such as sex, race, colour, language, religion or conviction, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, nationality, age, economic position, property, marital status, birth or other status.
5. Migrant workers and members of their families who are arrested shall be informed at the time of arrest as far as possible in a language they understand of the reasons for their arrest and they shall be promptly informed in a language they understand of any charges against them...
8. Migrant workers and members of their families who are deprived of their liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that the court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of their detention and order their release if the detention is not lawful. When they attend such proceedings, they shall have the assistance, if necessary without cost to them, of an interpreter, if they cannot understand or speak the language used.
3. In the determination of any criminal charges against them, migrant workers and members of their families shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees:
(a) To be informed promptly and in detail in a language they understand of the nature and cause of the charge against them;...
(f) To have the free assistance of an interpreter if they cannot understand or speak the language used in court;
2. Migrant workers and members of their families may be expelled from the territory of a state party only in pursuance of a decision taken by the competent authority in accordance with law.
3. The decision shall be communicated to them in a language they understand.
1. Migrant workers and members of their families shall have the right to be informed by the state of origin, the state of employment or the state of transit as the case may be concerning:
(a) Their rights arising out of the present Convention;
(b) The conditions of their admission, their rights and obligations under the law and practise of the state concerned and such other matters as will enable them to comply with administrative or other formalities in that state.
2. States parties shall take all measures they deem appropriate to disseminate the said information or to ensure that it is provided by employers, trade unions or other appropriate bodies or institutions. As appropriate, they shall co-operate with other states concerned.
3. Such adequate information shall be provided upon request to migrant workers and members of their families, free of charge, and, as far as possible, in a language they are able to understand.
2. States of employment shall pursue a policy, where appropriate in collaboration with the states of origin, aimed at facilitating the integration of children of migrant workers in the local school system, particularly in respect of teaching them the local language.
3. States of employment shall endeavour to facilitate for the children of migrant workers the teaching of their mother tongue and culture and, in this regard, states of origin shall collaborate whenever appropriate.
4. States of employment may provide special schemes of education in the mother tongue of children of migrant workers, if necessary in collaboration with the states of origin.
Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities
The Declaration in the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities was adopted by the UN Commission on Human Rights in its resolution 1992/16, 21 February 1992 and by the General Assembly in its resolution 47/135 on 18 December 1992.
1. States shall protect the existence and the national or ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories, and shall encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity. [...]
1. Persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities (hereinafter referred to as persons belonging to minorities) have the right to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, and to use their own language, in private and in public, freely and without interference or any form of discrimination. [...]
5. Persons belonging to minorities have the right to establish and maintain, without any discimination, free and peaceful contacts with other members of their group, with persons belonging to other minorities, as well as contacts across frontiers with citizens of other States to whom they are related by national or ethnic, religious or linguistic ties.
2. States shall take measures to create favourable conditions to enable persons belonging to minorities to express their characteristics and to develop their culture, language, religion, traditions and customs, except where specific practices are in violation of national law and contrary to international standards.
3. States should take appropriate measures so that, wherever possible, persons belonging to minorities have adequate opportunities to learn their mother tongue or to have instruction in their mother tongue.
4. States should, where appropriate, take measures in the field of education, in order to encourage the knowledge of the history, traditions, language and culture of the minorities existing within their territory. Persons belonging to minorities should have adequate opportunities to gain knowledge of the society as a whole.
Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was completed by the Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities in 1993. Since some articles concerning the rights to self-determination and land rights are controversial, the draft Declaration has not yet been adopted.
Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalise, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons. States shall take effective measures, whenever any right of indigenous peoples may be threatened, to ensure this right is protected and also to ensure that they can understand and be understood in political, legal and administrative proceedings, where necessary through the provision of interpretation or by other appropriate means.
Indigenous children have the right to all levels and forms of education of the state. All indigenous peoples also have this right and the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.
Indigenous children living outside their communities have the right to be provided access to education in their own culture and language.
States shall take effective measures to provide appropriate resources for these purposes.
Indigenous peoples have the right to establish their own media in their own languages. They also have the right to equal access to all forms of non-indigenous media. States shall take effective measures to ensure that state-owned media duly reflect indigenous cultural diversity.
為顧及提昇與保護少數族群權利的重要性，並有助於這些國家政治與社會的穩定，人權世界會議重申國家的義務是確保少數族群能完整且有效的運用其權利與基本自由，且不得遭到任何歧視待遇，同時在基於『隸屬少數民族或宗教和少數語言族群的權利宣言』(Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belongs to Nation or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.) 的法律之前，一律平等。
Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted at the World Conference on Human Rights
The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action was adopted at the World Conference on Human Rights 25 June 1993.
19. Considering the importance of the promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to minorities and the contribution of such promotion and protection to the political and social stability of the States in which such persons live,
The World Conference on Human Rights reaffirms the obligation of States to ensure that persons belonging to minorities may exercise fully and effectively all human rights and fundamental freedoms without any discrimination and in full equality before the law in accordance with the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.
The persons belonging to minorities have the right to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion and to use their own language in private and in public, freely and without interference or any form of discrimination.
25. The World Conference on Human Rights calls on the Commission on Human Rights to examine ways and means to promote and protect effectively the rights of persons belonging to minorities as set out in the Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities. In this context, the World Conference on Human Rights calls upon the Centre for Human Rights to provide, at the request of Governments concerned and as part of its programme of advisory services and technical assistance, qualified expertise on minority issues and human rights, as well as on the prevention and resolution of disputes, to assist in existing or potential situations involving minorities.
26. The World Conference on Human Rights urges states and the international community to promote and protect the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities in accordance with the Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.