Sri Lanka is a multi cultural country comprises of five main ethnic groups: Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors, Malays and Burgher. Language and ethnic heritage distinguish these groups. The Sinhalese are the largest ethnic group in the country comprising 74.5 percent of the population and 99.5 percent of this population are Buddhists and speak Sinhala. The Tamils are approximately 16.5 percent of the population use Tamil as their native language. The Moors constitute around 7.9 percent of the population, 95 percent of them speak the Tamil language. The Malays who originated in Southeast Asia comprise of 0.41 percent of the total population and speak Malay, Tamil, Sinhala and English. Finally, Burghers make up of 0.3 percentage of the Sri Lankan population. They are of European ancestry and have remained Christians and speak English and Sinhala. In Sri Lanka, language is one of the key contributing factors in representing the ethnic identity and concerns about national language have been influential in both cultural and political sphere; it has been the major cause of strife between the Sinhalese and the Tamil speaking population. The impact of language divide remains influential even after the cessation of hostilities and the ending of the civil war. This paper will focus on the critical evaluation of language rights as a key element of the second generation of human rights; economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR). The paper will also explore the underpinnings of ESCRs and its particular application to language rights of the Tamil speaking minority and will examine the various legislative attempts to protect language rights of the Tamil speaking minority and identify the reasons for the failure of those initiatives and will propose effective mechanisms for implementing language rights.
Hydman, P., Democracy in Peril, Sri Lanka: A country in Crisis, Report to the LAWASIA Human rights standing Committee, 1985; Sri Lanka Soulbury constitution. Joseph, S ., Schultz, J. and Castan, M., The International covenant on Civil and Political rights: Cases, Materials and commentary (Oxford University Press, 2004): R Hanski and M Scheinin, Leading Cases of the Human Rights Committee (Turku, Institute for Human rights, Abo Akademi University, 2003) Kymlicka, W., Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority rights, 80, 1995. Nowak,M., UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: CCPR Commentary (Kehl, NP Engel, 2nd ed,2005). Ponnambalam,S., Sri Lanka: National Conflict and the Tamil Liberation Struggle, 1983. Theodore M. Porter, Objectivity as Standardization: The Rhetoric of Impersonality in Measurement, Statistics, and Cost-Benefit Analysis, in RETHINKING OBJECTIVITY 197, 207 (Alan Megill ed., 1994).ROSGA & SATTERTHWAITE THE TRUST IN INDICATORS. Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law, http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journal/MurUEJL/2005/9.html McDonald, L., Regrouping in Defence of Minority Rights: Kymlicka’s Multicultural Citizenship at http://www.ohlj.ca/archive/articles/34_2_mcdonald.pdf Population and Housing Censuses in Sri Lanka PopHouSat/PDF/p7%20population%20and%20Housing%20Text-11-12-06.pdf> Official Languages Commission Social Indicator and Foundation for Co-Existence, Language discrimination to language equality: a report of the audit on the implementation of the official language, 2006 Department of Official Language, Budget 2005 The Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights, 1998, available at http://www. linguistic-declaration.org/versions/angles.pdf Official Language Commission Act 1991 (Sri Lanka) The Protection of Human Rights Act1993 (Sri Lanka) Sri Lanka Second Republican Constitution Sinhala Only Act 1956 (Sri Lanka) Official Language Act (No 33) 1956 (Sri Lanka) Tamil Language (Special Provisions) Act1958 (Sri Lanka) The Senanayake-Chelvanayakam Pact 1965 (Sri Lanka) The Tamil Language Regulations1966 (Sri Lanka) Second Republican Constitution Sri Lanka Cons/1978Constitution/Chapter_04_Amd.html> Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact (B-C Pact) 1957 (Sri Lanka) – available at http://www.ices.lk/sl_database/ethnic_conflict/b_c_pact.shtml ICESCR Department of Official Language, Sri Lanka Budget 2005 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2103.html Memorandum of Recommendations released by the official language commission in June 2005 Social Indicator and Foundation for Co-Existence, Language discrimination to language equality: a report of the audit on the implementation of the official language, 2006
Bawa, Mohamed Mowjoon Atham
"TOWARDS A NOVEL APPROACH HEALING LANGUAGE RIGHTS OF MINORITY: THE CASE OF SRI LANKA,"
Indonesian Journal of International Law: Vol. 10
, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholarhub.ui.ac.id/ijil/vol10/iss2/3