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Part III Additional Issues Related to the 2003 Convention, The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Human Rights: Relativism and Collectivism 2.0?

Lucas Lixinski

From: The 2003 UNESCO Intangible Heritage Convention: A Commentary

Edited By: Janet Blake, Lucas Lixinski

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 13 July 2024

Human rights — Cultural property / heritage

This chapter argues that the relationship between the 2003 ICHC and human rights quietly leans towards an embrace of multiculturalism and even a degree of relativism that modifies the tone of human rights as a limit to what can be treated as ICH, thereby being an important instance of the ICHC being transformed by its subsequent practice. It first engages with the relationship between ICH and universal human rights, or human rights as a more abstract idea. The chapter then problematizes these relationships by looking at cultural relativism and ICH’s uneasy stance as protecting cultural diversity within certain bounds. Afterward, this chapter revisits some of the issues surrounding the adjudication of cultural identity and the role heritage can play, using Federico Lenzerini’s idea of the culturalization of human rights as a means of framing the debate. This adjudicatory perspective, though, focuses primarily on individuals’ rights, and the ICHC gives primacy to group interests. As such, this chapter also focuses on ICH and the ICHC in the context of group rights.

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