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The European Convention on Human Rights and Language Rights: Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

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Chapter Summary

Language rights are an essential component of the right to identity, which represents in many ways the essence of the case for minorities within the corpus of human rights the claim to distinctiveness and the contribution of a culture on its own terms to the cultural heritage of mankind. The identity to be protected and promoted may be composed of different factors: linguistic, ethnic, cultural, religious, or all of these altogether. The concept of identity is a broad and important concept for individuals and communities because it concerns their belonging; their way of thinking, feeling, and acting. The 1950 European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, known as the "European Convention on Human Rights" neither guarantees specific language rights, at least as such, nor rights that are peculiar to minorities.

Keywords: cultural heritage; European Convention; human rights; language rights; minorities



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