Foundations of Collective Cultural Rights in International Human Rights Law
Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2015-12
21 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2015
Date Written: June 24, 2015
Although collective cultural rights are included in international human rights law, their precise place and their nature and significance are not well-explored or understood. This paper aims to show where collective cultural rights can be found in international human rights law and explore how these rights fit in the general body and framework of international human rights law. The starting point in this chapter is international human rights law, which implies that the analysis of collective cultural rights is framed by positive law and international legal instruments, such as treaties and conventions, as well as by soft law instruments, such as declarations, recommendations and resolutions. In this paper, the two categories of collective rights and cultural rights are defined, drawing a distinction between a) different types of collective rights, including rights for collectivities as such, rights for individuals as members of collectivities, and rights with a collective interest or object; and b) between different types of cultural rights, including rights that explicitly refer to ‘culture’ and rights that relate to culture or have a cultural dimension. This paper furthermore analyses various contentious issues surrounding collective rights and cultural rights in international human rights law, including the lack of clarity on the object and subject of these rights. The paper then outlines the different forms of collective cultural rights in international human rights law, by providing examples of legal provisions in international human rights law that can be classified as collective cultural rights. Finally, the paper elaborates on how collective subjects and collective cultural interests are integrated in international human rights law and analyses how and to what extent collective cultural rights provisions provide answers to the above-noted issues.
Keywords: Human rights, cultural rights, collective rights, group rights, peoples’ rights, minorities, indigenous peoples’, cultural diversity, cultural communities
JEL Classification: K33
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