Fulfilling Indigenous Peoples’ and Minority Rights to Culture and Language

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

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.  

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. 

Proceedings will feature a public lecture by Dr Fernand de Varennes, UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, and a reception marking the launch of both a Senate House Library special exhibition of indigenous and minority language publications, curated by Laurence Byrne, and the opening night of the 12th Native Spirit Film Festival, celebrating the cultural heritage of indigenous peoples by showcasing their cinematic work. 

The opening night's and later Festival screenings in Senate House through October will include films engaging with minority language communities, commissioned and funded by the Open World Research Initiative: "Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community".

Click here for conference programme and booking

Click here for Native Spirit Festival programme and booking

Jointly convened by the Human Rights Consortium and the Institute of Modern Languages Research (School of Advanced Study, University of London), and Brunel University Law School - and in association with Senate House Library and the 12th Native Spirit Film Festival. The conference and lecture are supported by the Cassal Trust Fund and the Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) project "Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community" - Translingual Strand.


Jon Millington
020 7862 8726