oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Minority language rights in South Africa: a comparison with the provisions of international law

Volume 35, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



International law makes provision for special protective measures to be adopted by states in respect of the protection of the identity of minority groups and the rights of their members to enjoy and develop their culture in community with other members of their group. These measures are intended to be additional to those that minority groups enjoy by virtue of being a part of the population of a state. The South African constitutional provisions in respect of minority linguistic and cultural rights are compared to the international law provisions. There appears to be a disparity between the content of the South African and the international law provisions. What is evident in the comparison is that minority groups in South Africa enjoy the same rights, without exception, as the rest of the population of the state. There are no special protective measures designated specifically for the benefit of minorities in South Africa. The South African Constitution does not recognise the identity of minorities. Consequently, no individual enjoys rights that are additional to those enjoyed by the population at large.

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