The Human Right to Cultural Property

19 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2011 Last revised: 25 Sep 2011

Date Written: June 1, 2011


Ancient and historical objects and sites are designated “cultural property” because the property model has traditionally controlled their disposition and trade. In recent decades, however, the cultural property protection model has moved away from a property framework and toward a human rights framework. This Article argues that this evolution is particularly visible in international law, where the text and tenor of international agreements indicate there is an emerging right to cultural property born of the human right to culture. The Article then considers the implication of these changes on the sovereignty of nation states.

Keywords: cultural property, cultural heritage, human rights, intangible cultural, repatriation

Suggested Citation

Alderman, Kimberly, The Human Right to Cultural Property (June 1, 2011). Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol. 32, 2011, Available at SSRN:

Kimberly Alderman (Contact Author)

The Alderman Law Firm ( email )

PO Box 2001
215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53701
United States


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