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Africa - Middle East Regional Forum on Minority Issues

28 - 29 October 2019

Registrations are closed


Education, Language and the Human Rights of Minorities

"The rights of linguistic minorities are human rights that must be respected, including in relation to the appropriate degree of use of minority languages. Education deals with what is perhaps the central linguistic right of minorities, and is also fundamental to the maintenance of linguistic diversity. A language that is not taught is a language that will ultimately vanish. The benefits of education in the mother language are now fairly well established scientifically through studies of minority children in different parts of the world."

This conference, organised by the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues and the Tom Lantos Institute, will provide regional insights for the development of a set of guidelines and recommendations focusing on education in and teaching of minority languages. Discussions at the conferences will also inform the recommendations of the 12th session of the UN Forum in 2019.

Other objectives include, in relation to the Africa-Middle East Regional Forum:

-Raising awareness of the ways in which the education in and the teaching of minority languages is anchored in international human rights obligations;

-Providing a platform for more informal exchange on practical challenges of minority language education in Africa and the Middle East among various stakeholders;

-Identifying and discussing the central issues of topical concern related to education and minority languages in Africa and the Middle East;

-Amplifying the voices of minority communities in assessing and improving minority language education policies and offering expert input into their specific concerns.


The format of the regional forum will consist of plenaries and working groups addressing the following key themes:

  • Human Rights pertaining to minority language education 
  • Public policy objectives and practices for education in minority languages
  • Effective practices in education in and teaching of minority languages including resources and management for the effective implementation

Following the introduction of the key themes by an expert panel, there will be working groups addressing each theme in greater detail. The aim of these discussions will be to develop draft recommendations. Participants will be able to sign up to a Speakers' List if they wish to make an intervention in a particular working group session.


The Forum shall be open to the participation of national human rights institutions and other relevant national bodies; academics and experts on minority issues; representatives of minorities as well as civil society organisations specialising in minority issues.

Participation is open to individuals involved in minority issues in the Africa and Middle East region only (see attached list of states below), and with a clear focus and expertise on the education in and teaching of minority languages.

All travel related-expenses, visas, accommodation and insurances are the responsibility of the participants. Participants are encouraged to make the necessary visa arrangements, where required, as far in advance as possible. If an invitation letter is required to support a visa application please email urgently.

There is no funding available to support participants at this time.


Working languages: Arabic, English and French interpretation expected.


Start: 28 October 2019
End: 29 October 2019
UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues and the Tom Lantos Institute

Golden Tulip El Mechtel, Avenue Ouled Hafouz, Tunis, Tunisia (subject to change)

Avenue Ouled Hafouz
1005 Tunis Tunis

Related documents

  • call-for-participation.docx
  • preliminary-list-of-states.pdf
  • guide-to-the-themes.docx
  • call-for-participation-arabic-final.docx
  • call-for-participation-french-final.docx
  • revised-2-programme-of-work-french.docx
  • revised-2-programme-of-work-english.docx
  • revised-2-programme-of-work-arabic.pdf

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