To mark the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, language and communication experts at Charles Sturt University (CSU) have contributed five articles to a leading international journal.
CSU’s Professor of Speech and Language Acquisition Sharynne McLeod (pictured) is the guest editor of the special issue of the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology which is titled, ‘Communication is a human right: Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’.
In her introductory commentary, ‘Communication rights: Fundamental human rights for all’, Professor McLeod explains that this issue of the journal aims to expand the discussion of communication as a human right as it relates not only to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but also to subsequent national and international conventions, declarations, legislations, policies, and practices.
“The special issue addresses communication as a human right from four perspectives,” Professor McLeod said. “These are: (1) communication rights of all people, (2) communication rights of people with communication disabilities, (3) communication rights of children, and (4) communication rights relating to language choice.
“Many papers address more than one perspective; for example, the right to Arabic literacy education for children who are Syrian refugees in the United States.”
Professor McLeod explained that in order to examine a broad range of interpretations of communication as a human right, the special issue draws on divergent perspectives from across the globe. These include contributions from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Fiji, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Shetland, South Africa, Sweden, Syria, UK, and USA.
“Included are first-hand accounts of people whose right to communicate is compromised,” Professor McLeod said.
“Other papers are written by people with expertise and advocacy roles in speech-language pathology, audiology, linguistics, education, psychology, communications, literature, and law.
“This special issue has embraced the notion of imparting ‘information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers’ by not only including research articles and reviews, but by including short commentaries, invited papers, drawing, and poetry.”