March 28, 2009: The United Nations Creates a New Mandate of Independent Expert for Cultural Rights

Source of Information: 

The UN Human Rights Council Creates a new mandate of Independant Expert in the field of Cultural Rights.

Human Rights Council A/HRC/10/L.26

The Human Rights Council, Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United nations, Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action, as well as all other relevant human rights instruments.

Recalling also  all relevant General Assembly, Commission on Human Rights and Human Rights Council resolutions, including General Assembly resolutions 62/155 and 63/22, as well as Human Rights Council resolution 6/6 of 28 September 2007,

Noting the declarations within the United Nations system on cultural diversity, and  international cultural cooperation, in particular the Declaration of the Principles of International Cultural Cooperation and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, adopted by its General Conference in 1966 and 2001 respectively,

Recalling further resolutions 5/1 “Institution-building of the United Nations Human Rights Council” and 5/2 “Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council” of 18 June 2007, and stressing that all mandate-holders shall discharge their duties in accordance with these resolutions and their annexes,

Welcoming the increasing number of States parties to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on 20 October 2005, which entered into force on 18 March 2007,
Convinced that international cooperation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all should be based on an understanding of the economic, social and cultural specificities of each country and on the full realization and recognition of the universality of all human rights and the principles of freedom, justice, equality and non-discrimination,

Recognizing that cultural diversity and the pursuit of cultural development by all peoples and nations are a source of mutual enrichment for the cultural life of humankind.

Determined to treat human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing, and with the same emphasis,

1. Reaffirms that cultural rights are an integral part of human rights, which are universal, indivisible, interrelated and interdependent;

2. Recognizes the right of everyone to take part in cultural life and to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications;

2 Bis. Reaffirms that while the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms;

2 Ter. Recalls, as expressed in the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, that no one may invoke cultural diversity to infringe upon human rights guaranteed by international law, nor to limit their scope;

2 quat. Reaffirms that States have the responsibility to promote and protect cultural rights;

3. Takes note of the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the promotion of the enjoyment of the cultural rights of everyone and respect for different cultural diversity (A/HRC/10/60);

4. Expresses its appreciation to States and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations that responded to or participated in the consultations held pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolutions 2002/26 of 22 April 2002, 2003/26 of 22 April 2003, 2004/20 of 16 April 2004 and 2005/20 of 14 April 2005, as well as pursuant its resolution 6/6 of 28 September 2007,

5. Recognizes that respect for cultural diversity and the cultural rights of all enhances cultural pluralism, contributing to a wide exchange of knowledge and understanding of cultural background, advancing the application and enjoyment of human rights throughout the world and fostering, stable, friendly, relations among peoples and nations worldwide;

6. Decides to establish for a period of three years a new special procedure entitled “Independent Expert in the field of cultural rights” as set out in the relevant United Nations human rights instruments, with following mandate:
a) to identify best practices in the promotion of cultural rights at the local, national, regional and international levels;
b) to identify possible obstacles to the promotion and protection of cultural rights, and to submit proposals and/or recommendations to the Human Rights Council on possible actions in that regard,
c) to work in cooperation with States, in order to foster the adoption of measures at the local, national, regional and international levels aimed at the promotion and protection of cultural rights through concrete proposals enhancing sub regional, regional and international cooperation in that regard;
d) to study the relation between cultural rights and cultural diversity, in close collaboration with States and other relevant actors, including in particular UNESCO, with the aim of further promoting cultural rights;
e) to integrate a gender and disabilities perspective into his/her work;
f) to work in close coordination, while avoiding unnecessary duplication, with intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, other special procedures of the Human Rights Council, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the United nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, as well as with all other relevant actors representing the broadest possible range of interests and experiences, within their respective mandates, including by attending and following up on relevant international conferences and events;

7. Calls upon all Governments to cooperate with and assist the Independent Expert in the discharge of his/her mandate, to provide him/her with all the necessary information requested by him/her and to give serious consideration to responding favorably to his/her requests to visit their countries in order to enable him/her to effectively fulfill his/her duties;

8. Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide all the necessary human and financial resources for the effective fulfillment of the mandate of the Independent Expert;

9. Requests the Independent Expert to present his/her first report to the Human Rights Council in 2010 in accordance with its program of work;

10. Decides to continue its consideration of this matter under the same agenda item in accordance with its program of work.


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