Cultural Heritage and Human Rights
Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 26/2007
ALBERICO GENTILI: LA SALVAGUARDIA DEI BENI CULTURALI NEL DIRITTO INTERNAZIONALE, Giuffrè Milano, ed., 2007
24 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2007
The paper sketches out a trend to broaden the scope of the protection of culture in international law. Whereas traditionally forms of 'high' culture were protected under the notion of cultural property, the emphasis has shifted to protecting 'cultural heritage'. This reveals a more relative, pluralist and functional approach to the protection of culture focussed around the concept of cultural identity. The paper then discusses whether cultural heritage is protected merely as an objective concept or whether it has acquired the status of an individual or collective right in international law. It critically analyses the problems related to such an approach to cultural heritage by highlighting the tensions between human rights and cultural heritage where the concept is used to justify traditional or discriminatory cultural practices. It concludes by revealing how international and human rights law itself has become a factor influencing the evolution of cultural heritage.
Keywords: cultural heritage, human rights, non-discrimination, cultural property, female genital mutilation, cultural relativism, universal human rights
JEL Classification: K34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation