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1 Culture, Heritage and Human Rights: an Introduction

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Chapter Summary

In more than half a century of developments in legal doctrine and practice of human rights, cultural rights have attracted less attention and conceptual elaboration relative to other categories of civil-political rights and social-economic rights. How can it be explained that cultural rights remain inadequately developed and rather problematic as a specific category of human rights? This chapter highlights the fundamental antinomy that cultural rights pose in their being antagonistic to other human rights or to some established principles of international law. The first type of antagonism is inherent to the peculiar nature of cultural rights as claims to exclusivity. The second type of conflict is that between individual rights and group rights. These are some of the contradictions that one has to face when attempting to identify the place of cultural rights in general context of human rights. The chapter examines the interplay between cultural heritage and human rights.

Keywords: cultural heritage; cultural rights; group rights; human rights; individual rights; international law



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