Update: 15.08.2007

Launch of the Fribourg Declaration on Cultural Rights

The launch of the Fribourg Declaration on Cultural Rights was held May 7, 2007 at the University of Fribourg and May 8, 2007 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The text was presented by the Observatory of Diversity and Cultural Rights (which headquarters are at the Interdisciplinary Institute of Ethnics and Human Rights at the Fribourg University) together with the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie and UNESCO. The Fribourg Declaration is supported by more than fifty human rights high profiles, as well as a platform of NGOs.

Cultural rights AND human rights

According to the principle of indivisibility, cultural rights are part of human rights - not in opposition to them, said Patrice Meyer-Bisch, coordinator and professor at the Observatory. Crumbled among civil and political rights, economical and social rights, the definition of cultural rights illustrates a void in the protection of the whole of human rights. The Fribourg Declaration should fill it by presenting in one text, rights that have been already been recognised in several relevant universal and regional instruments.

Comment

Legitimate minority rights could also be instrumentalised, a risk that should be part of the reflexion around the Fribourg declaration. The latter admits that ‘cultural identity’ should be understood on the individual level – indeed a concept compatible with human rights – as well as on the collective level – a more problematic issue because linked to the concept of ‘cultural community’, and therefore associable with forms of culturalism, even with ideologies founded on homogenous cultural groups. Within ethno-nationalism and related identity politics, it would then be naïve to neglect the danger of the instrumentalisation of certain aspects of cultural rights.

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