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Thematic reports

A/HRC/46/34: Report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cultures and cultural rights


04 February 2021

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Cultural rights


Social distancing during coronavirus pandemic,
Royalty free image, Roungroat/ rawpixel


In her 2021 report to the Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur focused on the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on cultures and cultural rights and the potential global cultural catastrophe it represents, with severe, long-lasting consequences for cultural rights and other human rights. In the report, the Special Rapporteur surveys the negative impacts of COVID-19 on cultures and cultural rights worldwide, and the positive potential of cultures and cultural rights, including the right to science, to enhance rights-respecting solutions and build resilience. The report also contains relevant recommendations for action.

Learn more about the role of cultural rights in global crises on the page dedicated to this issue


In 2020, several Special Procedure mandate holders wished to focus their thematic reports to the United Nations Human Rights Council or the General Assembly on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the enjoyment of human rights1. To inform their respective studies, they jointly developed a questionnaire, which was disseminated widely to States, regional and local governments, international and regional organizations, National Human Rights Institutions, equality bodies, and civil society organizations, UN agencies, funds and programmes and other interested stakeholders in May 2020.

The various reports prepared by mandate holders on the pandemic, as well as other resources, can be found on this page.

In order to facilitate responding to questions by Special Procedures, the joint questionnaire included a list of common questions and specific thematic questions responding to information required by participating mandates.

See the joint questionnaire here: English, Français and Español. Questions of particular interest to the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights are published on page 9.

All submissions received covering the common questions raised in the joint questionnaire on COVID-19 and human rights can be found on this page.


1/ Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Mr. Olivier De Schutter; Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Mr. Michael Fakhri; Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Mr. Balakrishnan Rajagopal; Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Ms. Karima Bennoune; Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, Ms. Claudia Mahler; Working Group on Persons of African Decent; Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Mr. José Francisco Cali Tzay; Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences, Mr. Tomoya Obokata; Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, Ms. Mama Fatima Singhateh; Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Mr Victor Madrigal-Borloz; Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, Mr. Baskut Tuncak; Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, Ms. Yuefen Li.

Issued By:

Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights

Delivered To:

Human Rights Council in its 46th session, February-March 2021