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Diergaardt et al. v Namibia

Human Rights committee – communication no 760/1997, views of the committee, 25 July 2000 UN doc. A/55/40, vol II p.140 para. 10.10

Keywords: Human Rights Committee, International level, Namibia, language, Afrikaans, International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, direct discrimination 

Claim that the lack of language legislation in Namibia has had a consequence that they have been denied the use of their mother tongue in administration, justice, education and public life. 

The government instructed civil servants not to reply to the authors’ written or oral communications including simple telephone conversations with the authorities in the Afrikaans language, even when they were perfectly capable of doing so.

The Committee found that such instructions were intentionally targeted against the possibility to use Afrikaans when dealing with public authorities and as such a violation of Article 26 of International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

Note that the intention of this measure was to discriminate, an example of direct discrimination. See section on website relating to direct and indirect discrimination and for another example of direct discrimination on the part of the State, the case of Dilcia Yean and Violeta Bosica v Dominican Republic in the discrimination on the basis of nationality cases.