link | Human Rights Violations: The Neapolitan and Tsotsil Linguistic Communities

  • This paper published in the Idiomatica Review by Dr.Massimiliano Verde and Dr. Karla del Carpio, wish to emphasize the importance of recognizing and validating the right each individual has to speak in their first language since the violation of such a basic human right continues to take place on all continents. This has been the case of indigenous communities, national minorities, and minoritized groups which has resulted in the destabilization or loss of their languages. Although there are different international Declarations and Conventions that underline the relevance of preserving and promoting cultural and linguistic diversities and recognize the right to speak in your first language as a human right what has happened and continues to happen in practice is the opposite, that is, speakers of minority languages have been discriminated against due to their language, culture, and ethnicity. An example of this situation is the speakers of the Neapolitan language in Naples, Italy, and the indigenous Tsotsil language in Chiapas, Mexico. Although these two linguistic communities are on different continents and have their own unique characteristics, they have been attacked by similar factors such as the educational-cultural system and mass media. To Neapolitan, for example, both agents send the message that Neapolitan mothers should not teach their children the Neapolitan language or they should find ways for their children to abandon Neapolitan in case they already have some knowledge of it. Therefore, this article compares both the Neapolitan and Tsotsil languages in terms of what international Declarations and Conventions state with regards to the protection and promotion of linguistic and cultural diversities, social and cultural rights, and how each individual should be respected and dignified without distinction as to religion, race, gender and language and what happens in reality. Also, this article offers suggestions on ways to strengthen and promote both the Neapolitan and Tsotsil languages to recognize and validate the human rights of the speakers of these languages. It is concluded that now more than ever it is fundamental to work collaboratively to preserve and promote minority languages and defend language as a human right.

  • Category: cultural rights
  • Thematic area: Human/Indigenous Rights
  • Call topics: Gender equality (e.g. through protective health education policies)
  • Major objective: Target steps to improve quiality of life, enhance international cooperation and reaffirm cultural linguistic continuity
  • Area of intervention: Empower through capacity-building