DRAFT Fulfilling Indigenous Peoples’ and Minority Rights to Culture and Language

DRAFT Fulfilling Indigenous Peoples’ and Minority Rights to Culture and Language
11 October 2018, 9.00am - 6.00pm
Conference / Symposium
The Court Room, First Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Keynote speaker: Fernand de Varennes, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues (Université de Moncton, University of Pretoria).

2018 marks the 15th anniversary of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003). Building on this occasion, this conference intends to reflect on the particular rights of indigenous peoples and ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities in the domain of cultural and language rights.  

This conference is being convened jointly by the Human Rights Consortium and Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London, and Brunel University Law School.  The conference is supported by the Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) project entitled ‘Cross-language dynamics: reshaping community’, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Both indigenous peoples and minorities have cultural life at the core of their collective identities. There are major weaknesses and also some opportunities in the existing international human rights law framework to address these rights, both in principle and in practice. Instruments such as the UNESCO Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage complement existing human rights law and offer additional pathways to protection. The preservation and development of distinct ways of life, languages, values, sciences, legal systems, philosophies, beliefs, and other aspects of culture are both evolving and also under threat. 

The conference seeks to place culture at the centre of discussions. The UN distinguishes between tangible and intangible cultural heritage, but how does this equate with indigenous peoples’ and minorities’ own understanding of culture? In what ways do cultural rights, such as language rights, facilitate the realisation of other human rights for these groups?  How have states accommodated cultural rights through legal or policy frameworks?  What are the intersections between cultural rights and key issues of access to justice, land rights, gender equality or forms of autonomy and self-determination?  

For more information, please contact Dr. Julian Burger (julian.burger@sas.ac.uk) or Dr. Corinne Lennox (corinne.lennox@sas.ac.uk) at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. 



Jon Millington
020 7862 8726