Purpose of the mandate
Cultural rights are fundamental for the respect of human dignity, in the diversity of its expressions. This mandate was created to:
- Give greater visibility to cultural rights in the human rights system; and to
- Foster a better understanding of the severity of their violations, and of the opportunity of their realisation for all.
Learn more about how the implementation of cultural rights is critical for sustainable peace, equality and development through the
Issues in focus section.
About the mandate
In 2009 the Human Rights Council decided to establish, for a period of three years, a new special procedure entitled "independent expert in the field of cultural rights" through resolution
This mandate was extended for a period of three years in 2012, through resolution
19/6; in 2015, through resolution
28/9, and in 2018, through resolution
Learn more about the
Current mandate holder
Karima Bennoune was appointed UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights in October 2015. Ms. Bennoune grew up in Algeria and in the United States. She is Professor of Law and Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall Research Scholar at the University of California-Davis School of Law, where she teaches human rights and international law.
Read Karima Bennoune's full biography
Cultural rights: tenth anniversary report
This report marks the tenth anniversary of the mandate on cultural rights (2019). It provides an overview of the work of her mandate since its creation in 2009 and recalls the inherent importance of those rights within the universal human rights framework. As the realization of these rights contribute to the implementation of other rights in the Universal Declaration of human rights and to achieving other critical goals such as sustainable development, peace and inclusion, the report also suggests strategies for advancing cultural rights during the next decade.
The universality of human rights, cultural diversity and cultural rights
To marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (2018), this report highlights the place of cultural rights in the universal, interdependent and interrelated system of human rights and examines the close interrelationship between universality and cultural diversity. In it, the Special Rapporteur recalls how cultural arguments and respect for diversity can never be used to justify violations of any and all human rights, and demonstrates how cultural diversity and cultural rights contribute to strengthening the universal framework of human rights.
Latest thematic reports
Climate change, culture and cultural rights: In this report, the Special Rapporteur addresses the cultural and cultural rights dimensions of the current climate emergency, which have too often been overlooked. She considers the negative impacts of climate change on human cultures and on the enjoyment of cultural rights, and the positive potential of cultures and the exercise of cultural rights to serve as critical tools in responding to the climate emergency.
View the report page | View document
A/75/298 and its annex.
Cultural rights defenders: This report aims to raise awareness about the work of cultural rights defenders, with a view to enhancing the attention and assistance they receive. The report includes a definition of cultural rights defenders, an overview of the diverse human rights work they engage in, and the challenges and risks they face. Recommendations for better recognizing, defending and supporting them are also provided.
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The importance of public spaces for the exercise of cultural rights: In this 2019 report to the UN General Assembly, the Special Rapporteur looks at the importance of public spaces for the exercise of cultural rights and the challenges to overcome so that everyone can enjoy such spaces. The report looks at existing frameworks and proposes a more holistic, human rights based-approach to policymaking.
View Issue in focus page |
View report page | View document
Latest country reports
Mission to Poland (24 September to 5 October 2018)
Mission to Maldives (9 to 18 June 2019)