Item 3: Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on cultural rights, 1 March 2019

Item 3: Clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on cultural rights. Statement by Norway on 1 March 2019, as delivered by Minister Counsellor Herborg Alvsaaker.

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Thank you Vice President,

Thank you for an excellent summary of the work under this mandate for the past ten years.

Norway particularly appreciates that you reiterate some of the important principles that your mandate is based on:

Cultural rights are applicable to everyone.

And cultural rights are an integral part of the universal, indivisible and interdependent human rights system.

The purpose of this mandate is to protect the conditions allowing all people, without discrimination – men and women - to access, participate in and contribute to cultural life in society.

Universality is not meant to be a weapon against cultural diversity, nor is cultural diversity a weapon against universality.

Norway calls upon UN Member States to accept and protect the universality of cultural rights as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. 

As the Special Rapporteur discussed in two reports from 2017, diverse forms of fundamentalism and extremism have a particularly injurious effect on the cultural rights of women and minorities.

Ideologies or traditions are not a justification for violations of rights or discrimination.

Arts and culture are forms of expression that have the power to build and shape societies, the Norwegian government asserts in its policy platform. Hence Norway’s cultural policy is based on freedom of expression and tolerance. A free and vibrant cultural and civil society is an important prerequisite for an enlightened public debate and for democracy to thrive.  

In order to unleash the inherent power of culture, a diversity of cultural expressions must be cherished.

Norway commends the increased collaboration between the Special Rapporteur in the field of culture and other Special Rapporteurs, UNESCO and other UN organisations, and not the least, the increased cooperation with key NGOs in the field of cultural rights.

Norway firmly believes that the Special Rapporteur under this mandate will continue to play a vital role in strengthening the understanding of and the acceptance of cultural rights, and thereby strengthening the indivisibility and interdependence of the whole human rights system.

Q: Among all the recommendations in her report, is there one in particular that the Special Rapporteur would suggest as the most salient for State Parties to take up in order to move the cultural rights’ agenda forward nationally?

Thank you!