Cultural Rights & Wrongs




In association with UNESCO

Published in 1998
206 Pages. ISBN:0-9531696-3-4

This book, celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, reflects a wide range of opinions on the current state and future development of the very complex issue of Cultural Rights. This is a matter of the gravest concern for indigenous peoples, authors and artists, speakers of minority languages and others.

What are cultural rights? Would their better definition and enforcement improve the lot of human beings in many prejudicial situations, beyond the protection they already have from existing human rights instruments? Why are ‘cultural’ rights so much more difficult to define than other human rights?

This collection of essays by authors representing all five continents shows clearly the differences in views of cultural rights, and the different approaches taken to them by scholars, legislators and citizens in different parts of the world.


Federico Mayor, Director-General of UNESCO


Cultural rights: a social science perspective
Rodolfo Stavenhagen

On the freedom of the author and the artist
Emmanuel Decaux

Can cultural rights protect traditional cultural knowledge and biodiversity?
Darrell Addison Posey

Enforcing indigenous cultural rights: Australia as a case-study
Elizabeth Evatt

Cultural rights, biodiversity and the indigenous heritage of Indian tribes in the United States
Dean B. Suagee

The right to a cultural past: African viewpoints
Folarin Shyllon

Linguistic rights in India
Vrajendra Raj Mehta

Perceptions of cultural rights in the People’s Republic of China
Alice Erh-Soon Tay

UNESCO and cultural rights
Kishore Singh

Understanding one another on cultural rights
Lyndel Prott

Casting the foundation for the implementation of cultural rights
Halina Nieć

Appendix A: Draft United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Appendix B: Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of the Heritage of Indigenous Peoples
Appendix C: Draft Declaration of Cultural Rights

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