Linguistic genocide : linguistic rights of minorities as a blind spot in international law: a study on the potential for a convention on linguistic genocide

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Salimi, Amir
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Genocide has been happening in societies through different methods throughout history and it has not been limited to modern Nation-State or pre-Westphalia era. However, it was after WWII and witnessing Nazi regime atrocities against the minorities, disabled people, queers and especially the Jews that the international community, specifically the Allies, payed attention to the phenomenon, in order to prevent it from happening in future. The UN founding States adopted the CPPCG in 1948 in accordance to Lemkin`s ideas. Although in the draft, the concept of cultural and linguistic genocide was referred to, in the final ratified version, the concept was restricted to solely physical genocide. This non-prohibition has paved the way for the States in committing linguistic genocide by adopting linguistic and educational policies, with no need to physical genocide. Nevertheless, considering language as a human right and part of cultural rights can contribute to recognizing these measurements as policies as a violation of human rights and prohibition of genocide in general. This recognition not only underlines States` responsibility in protection of minorities and indigenous peoples` cultural rights, but also provides the context for criminalizing such act and policies. However, one should have in mind the two facet function of language; one as a mean for States in order to overcome, overpower and control; and the other as a tool for minorities as potential Nation-States, in order to resist and exercise their autonomy. Establishing the limits of States policies in order to protect the minorities` cultural and linguistic rights can lead to safeguarding cultural and linguistic diversity, which is of the main principles championed by the international community. Keywords: Genocide, Human Rights, Cultural Rights, Language, Linguistic and Cultural Diversity, Linguistic Genocide, States, Minority
Second semester University: Ruhr - University Bochum
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, cultural rights, linguistic minorities, minority rights, indigenous people, education, cultural heritage, international law