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The universality of human rights, cultural diversity and cultural rights

To mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (2018), the thematic report presented to the General Assembly (A/73/227) in 2018 examined the cultural rights approach to the universality of human rights and the close interrelationship between universality and cultural diversity.

In it, the Special Rapporteur documents different types of threats to the human rights system and cultural diversity, and in particular selective approaches to universality – excluding certain rights, certain persons or groups and recognizing only civil and political or economic, social and cultural rights as real human rights – and various cultural relativist arguments. While pointing towards abuse of cultural arguments to justify violations of human rights, she also demonstrates how cultural diversity and cultural rights contribute to strengthening the universal framework of human rights. She calls for a foundational renewal and vigorous defence of universality that is grounded in cultural diversity.

Facebook live discussion between the Special Rapporteur and Nobel Laureate writer Mr. Wole Soyinka, hosted by Ghida Fakhry on 23 October 2018.

Video message by the Special Rapporteur recalling that the universality of human rights finds its expression in cultural diversity.