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Report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, A/HRC/31/59, 3 February 2016

II. Cultural rights: revisiting and reconfirming the conceptual and legal framework

A. Definition of cultural rights: meaning and terminology

19. The Special Rapporteur has been particularly disturbed by recent political discourses of exclusion, sometimes directed at entire religious or other groups. One of her key commitments is to promote the enjoyment of cultural rights without any discrimination, including that based on race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, migrant status, disability or poverty. Committed to integrate both disability and gender perspectives into her work as emphasized by the terms of her mandate, she will also give particular focus to the equal cultural rights of women. Moreover, she plans to pay close attention generally to the cultural rights of those at heightened risk of human rights violations due to group or other status.

C. Universality of human rights, cultural rights and cultural diversity

29. The Special Rapporteur believes that this innovative approach to the question of women’s rights is valid for many other groups that are the victims of human rights violations justified in the name of tradition, religion, or culture. It paves the way for future similar work to be done concerning other subordinated groups, be it persons with disabilities, migrants, indigenous peoples, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons or people living in extreme poverty, for example.

IV. Conclusions and recommendations

B. Preliminary recommendations

90. The Special Rapporteur calls upon States to:

(c) Ensure the right of all persons, including women, to access, participate in and contribute to all aspects of cultural life, including in identifying and interpreting cultural heritage, and deciding which cultural traditions, values or practices are to be kept intact, modified or discarded altogether and to do so without fear of punitive actions. States should similarly ensure this right with respect to other groups, including persons with disabilities, migrants, indigenous peoples, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons and persons living in extreme poverty.

Link to full text of the report: Report-SRCultural-2015-eng