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Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights


Karima Bennoune, Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rightsThe Human Rights Council, through resolution 10/23 decided to establish, for a period of three years, a new special procedure entitled “independent expert in the field of cultural rights”.

This mandate was further extended for a period of three years in 2015, through resolution 28/9 of 10 April, and in 2018, through resolution 37/12 of 22 March.

More information on the mandate.

Current question in focus: 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) this falls examines the cultural rights approach to the universality of human rights and the close interrelationship between universality and cultural diversity.

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.

This approach was the topic of a Facebook live discussion between the Special Rapporteur and Nobel Laureate writer Mr. Wole Soyinka, hosted by Ghida Fakhry on 23 October 2018. See the video below:

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Leaflet: The Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights
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Special Rapporteurs

Ms. Karima Bennoune
Since 2015

Ms. Farida Shaheed

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