Universal Esperanto Association

Youth for Linguistic Rights: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the way to recovery

World Esperanto Youth Organization (TEJO) with Universal Esperanto Association / Universala Esperanto-Asocio (UEA)


This side event hosted by the World Esperanto Youth Organization (TEJO) will focus on the topic of linguistic rights: the fundamental right of every individual to choose the language or languages for communication in the private or public sphere. More than one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, international institutions and organizations have observed and reported on the lack of respect and several violations of fundamental human rights. Linguistic rights are not an exception; in fact, they have been negatively affected by the rapid transition of the majority of professional, educational, personal, and social activities to an online environment. During the COVID-19 crisis, researchers are highlighting the need for public health officials to provide information in a range of languages and especially to provide public health information for indigenous people all over the world. What is the role of young people in this regard, especially in post-recovery societies?

Our objectives with this side event are to: Raise awareness of the importance of linguistic rights and especially how they have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; Highlight the relation of linguistic rights with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDGs 3, 4, 10, 16 and 17; Raise awareness on language discrimination: how speakers of minority languages are excluded and how decision-makers can intentionally include them; Explore the role of young people in this regard, especially in the post-recovery societies; Allow people from diverse backgrounds to exchange views and experiences between themselves; Connect linguistic minorities and use this side event as a networking opportunity.

The side event organised by TEJO and UEA on 6th April this year as part of ECOSOC Youth Forum (Linguistic Rights and Young People: Challenges and Opportunities) received positive appraisals by the attendees. Therefore, we would like to continue along this path and raise awareness on language policy.

CoNGO Notes: The Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations is currently constituting an NGO Committee on Language and Languages. Join and be a constituting member from anywhere in the world. For more information, see: proposed NGO Committee on Language and Languages.