Cultural Pluralism in International Human Rights Law: The Role of Reservations
A. Vrdoljak (ed.), The Cultural Dimension of Human Rights, Collected Courses Volume, European University Institute, Florence, OUP, 2013, Forthcoming
34 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2013 Last revised: 7 Jan 2014
Date Written: March 8, 2013
This paper addresses cultural pluralism in international human rights law by analysing reservations to human rights treaties. It has been argued that reservations “…are a legitimate, perhaps even desirable, means of accounting for cultural, religious, or political value diversity across nations”. Others have expressed concern about reservations, in particular those referring to cultural diversity, as they would undermine the universality of human rights and would not be allowed as being against the object and purpose of the treaty. This paper elaborates on the question whether and to what extent the instrument of reservations is used by states to express cultural pluralism, including religious pluralism, between and among them. Another question is how other states and international supervisory bodies have reacted to such reservations, including to what extent such reservations are accepted as a reflection of cultural pluralism between states.
Keywords: human rights, reservations, cultural rights, cultural pluralism, international human rights law, human rights treaties
JEL Classification: K33
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