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4 Cultural Rights: a Necessary Corrective to the Nation State

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Chapter Summary

Cultural rights comprise an aspect of human rights in that they are universal in character and guarantee all persons the right to access their culture. The United Nations' minority regime only grants cultural protection to qualified classes of persons, that is, national, ethnic, linguistic, and religious minority groups. One of the main UN human rights treaties, namely, the 1966 International covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), identifies three of these particular minority groups classifications as a response to the prevailing state structures which are controlled by a dominant national group. This chapter examines the history of the international minority regime and discusses its implication for normative questions raised by political theorists on multiculturalism. It reviews how the establishment of nation states sometime antagonizes certain minority groups. The chapter concludes that the minority regime is a necessary corrective for these states.

Keywords: cultural protection; cultural rights; human rights; International covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); minority groups; minority regime; multiculturalism; nation state; United Nations



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