Cultural Human Rights


What is the relationship between culture and human rights? Can the idea of cultural rights, which are predicated on the distinctiveness and exclusivity of a community’s beliefs and traditions, be compatible with the concept of human rights, which are universal and ‘inherent’ to all human beings? If we accept such compatibility, what is the actual content of cultural rights? Who are their beneficiaries: individuals, or peoples or groups as collective entities? And what precise obligations do cultural rights pose upon states or other actors in international law, or for the international community as a whole? International instruments on the protection of human rights do not provide self-evident answers to these questions.
This book seeks to analyse these dilemmas and to assess the impact that they are having on international law and the development of a coherent category of cultural human rights.
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Biographical Note

Francesco Francioni is Professor of International Law and Human Rights at the European University Institute, Florence, and at the Law Faculty of the University of Siena. He is also Co-Director of the Academy of European Law, General Editor of the Italian Yearbook of International Law and member of the Board of Editors of the European Journal of International Law. Professor Francioni is a member of the American Law Institute and of the Executive Board of the European Society of International Law.

Martin Scheinin is Professor of Constitutional and International Law and the Director of the Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University, Finland. He was a member of the Human Rights Committee acting under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights from 1997 to 2004, and since 2005 he has served as United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism. Professor Scheinin has acted as chairperson of the Committee on human rights law and practice within the International Law Association since 1998 and in 2003-2005 he was a member of the Expert Commission established to draft a proposal for a Nordic Saami Rights Convention.

Table of contents

Preface; 1 Culture, Heritage and Human Rights: An Introduction Francesco Francioni; 2 The Cross-Cultural Legitimacy of Universal Human Rights: Plural Justification Across Normative Divides Tore Lindholm; 3 Self-Determination and Cultural Rights A.F. Vrdoljak; 4 Cultural Rights: A Necessary Corrective to the Nation State William K. Barth; 5 Protecting Peoples’ Cultural Rights: A Question of Properly Understanding the Notion of States and Nations? Matthias Ǻhrén; 6 Indigenous Peoples’ Cultural Rights and the Controversy over Commercial Use of their Traditional Knowledge Federico Lenzerini; 7 The Right of a People to Enjoy Its Culture: Towards a Nordic Saami Rights Convention Martin Scheinin; 8 Cultural Identity and Legal Status: Or, the Return of the Right to Have (Particular) Rights Enikő Horváth; 9 Minorities’ Right to Maintain and Develop Their Cultures: Legal Implications of Social Science Research Timo Makkonen; 10 The Role of the State in Balancing Religious Freedom with Other Human Rights in a Multicultural European Context Stéphanie Lagoutte and Eva Maria Lassen; 11 Accessing Culture at the EU Level: An Indirect Contribution to Cultural Rights Protection? Evangelia Psychogiopoulou; 12 Language Rights as Cultural Rights: A European Perspective Susanna Mancini and Bruno de Witte; 13 The Place of Cultural Rights in the WTO System John Morijn; 14 A Right to Cultural Identity in UNESCO Yvonne Donders; 15 Political Change and the ‘Creative Destruction’ of Public Space Sanford Levinson.


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