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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

Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2013-16

Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2013-02

34 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2013 Last revised: 7 Jan 2014

Yvonne Donders

Amsterdam Center for International Law

Date Written: March 8, 2013

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Donders, Yvonne, Cultural Pluralism in International Human Rights Law: The Role of Reservations (March 8, 2013). A. Vrdoljak (ed.), The Cultural Dimension of Human Rights, Collected Courses Volume, European University Institute, Florence, OUP, 2013, Forthcoming; Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2013-16; Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2013-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2230276

Yvonne Donders (Contact Author)

Amsterdam Center for International Law ( email )

P.O. Box 1030
Amsterdam, 1000 BA
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://home.medewerker.uva.nl/y.m.donders/

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