C3: Cultural Rights

Statement by Kari Wollebæk on Cultural Rights in the Third Committee, 22 October 2019.

| Third Committee


Norway appreciates that the Special Rapporteur in her report reiterates hers and the former mandate holder’s working definition of cultural rights. 

We also appreciate the reminder: the purpose of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate is not to protect culture per se, but rather the conditions allowing all people, without discrimination, to access, participate and to contribute to culture in a continuous developing manner.  

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.” 

People need public spaces in a community to interact, - and from a cultural perspective - artistically express themselves. 

Access to public spaces is therefore a necessity for the full enjoyment of cultural rights. 

Lack of such spaces affects people’s participation and hinders diverse expressions of culture.  

The Special Rapporteur underscores in her report that women have equal rights to access and enjoy public spaces. 

Women are important stakeholders, and should be consulted when public spaces are planned and constructed. 

So are other groups in the community, including vulnerable groups. 

It is the state’s duty to provide convenient, safe and inclusive public spaces for the enjoyment of arts and culture.  

Public spaces should not be limited to certain cultural expressions for certain audiences.  

Diverse forms of cultural expressions should be recognised and encouraged. 


Thank you!