The proposal to write the Declaration was prompted by an extraordinary session of the Translations and Linguistic Rights Commission of the PEN Club International held in Palma de Mallorca in December 1993. At the beginning of 1994, an organizing committee was created and in September that year process of reflection on the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights was begun when the organizers promoting the Conference ordered it to be written by a team of experts from various fields and working spheres. Forty experts from various countries participated in the elaboration of the first twelve drafts.From the 6 to 8 June, 1996, 61 NGOs, 41 PEN Centers and 40 experts in linguistic rights from all over the world met in Barcelona. The Assembly of Participants at the World Conference on Linguistic Rights approved the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights (UDLR) in a ceremony held on 6 June 1996.
The Declaration aims to be applicable to a great diversity of linguistic situations. It has therefore given special attention to the definition of the conceptual apparatus on which its articles are based. Thus, it considers as axes of a linguistic community: historicity, territoriality, self-identification as a people and the fact of having developed a common language as normal means for communication between its members.
World Conference on Linguistic Rights (1998). PDF.