Legal cases

J.G.A. Diergaardt et al. v. Namibia

Legal case |
J.G.A. Diergaardt et al. v. Namibia


(Communication No. 760/1997), CCPR/C/69/D/760/1997


Article 26, Article 19 (2) – discrimination on the ground of language; right to freedom of expression:

The authors claimed that the failure by the Namibian government to introduce legislation to permit the use of official languages other than English denied them the use of their mother tongue in administration, justice, education and public life, in violation of Article 26. The authors showed how the State instructed civil servants not to reply to the authors’ written or oral communications in languages other than English, even when they are perfectly capable of doing so.


Violation of Article 26:

The Human Rights Committee concluded that the State party was intentionally targeting the use of other languages, most notably Afrikaans. Therefore, the State`s action disproportionately affected Afrikaans speakers and constituted indirect discrimination on the ground of language. The Human Rights Committee stated that the State party is in accordance with Article 2 (3) (a) under the obligation to provide the authors and the other members of their community an effective remedy by allowing its officials to respond in languages other than the official one in a non-discriminatory manner. The State party is under an obligation to ensure that similar violations do not occur in the future.

(Paragraphs 10.10, 11, 12)

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