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The Law and Politics of International Cultural Rights: E. Stamatopoulou, Cultural Rights in International Law; F. Francioni and M. Scheinin (eds.), Cultural Human Rights

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Two recent books place international law at the centre of inquiries into the nature of cultural rights. The first, Cultural Rights in International Law: Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Beyond, by Elsa Stamatopoulou, explores "the concept of cultural rights by reviewing international and national legal instruments, international practice, and especially the role of UN bodies and entities in the implementation of these rights". The second, Cultural Human Rights, is a collection of essays edited by Francesco Francioni and Martin Scheinin. Wide-ranging in scope, Cultural Human Rights includes contributions that explore the relationship between cultural rights and the state, the relationship between cultural rights and other human rights, the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples, normative justifications of human rights in general and minority rights in particular, the law and politics of cultural identity and collective memory, and various forms of cultural protection in a variety of regional and international institutional contexts. Both demonstrate that understanding cultural rights in international law requires a multi-faceted approach, one that pays close attention to the historical, textual and institutional dimensions of cultural rights. They reveal, too, that international legal commitments to sovereignty and human rights are more relevant to moral and political accounts of the significance of cultural rights than they might otherwise appear.

Affiliations: 1: William C. Graham Professor of Law, University of Toronto, Canada


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