The Culturalization of Human Rights Law

Hardcover | March 6, 2014

byFederico Lenzerini

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The idea of multi-culturalism has had a significant impact across many areas of law. This book explores how it has shaped the recent development of international human rights law. Custodians of human rights, especially international monitoring bodies, try to advance the effectiveness of humanrights standards by interpreting these standards according to a method strongly inspired by the idea of cultural "relativism". By using elements of cultural identity and cultural diversity as parameters for the interpretation, adjudication, and enforcement of such standards, human rights areevolving from the traditional "universal" idea, to a "multi-cultural" one, whereby rights are interpreted in a dynamic manner, which respond to the particular needs of the communities and individuals directly concerned.This book shows how this is epitomized by the rise of collective rights - which is intertwined with the evolution of the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples - in contrast with the traditional vision of human rights as inherently individual. It demonstrates how the process of"culturalization" of human rights law can be shown through different methods: the most common being the recourse to the doctrine of the "margin of appreciation" left to states in defining the content of human rights standards, extensively used by human rights bodies, such as the European Court ofHuman Rights. Secondly, different meanings can be attributed to the same human rights standards by adapting them to the cultural needs of the persons and - especially - communities specifically concerned. This method is particularly used by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the AfricanCommission of Human and Peoples' Rights. The book concludes that the evolution of human rights law towards multi-cultural "relativism" is not only maximizes the effectiveness of human rights standards, but is also necessary to improve the quality of communal life, and to promote the stability ofinter-cultural relationships. However, to an extent, notions of 'universalism' remain necessary to defend the very idea of human dignity.

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The idea of multi-culturalism has had a significant impact across many areas of law. This book explores how it has shaped the recent development of international human rights law. Custodians of human rights, especially international monitoring bodies, try to advance the effectiveness of humanrights standards by interpreting these stand...

Federico Lenzerini is Professor of international law and European Union law for the Faculty of Law of the University of Siena. He is a consultant of UNESCO for the Department for the Protection of Cultural Heritage and the Legal Counsel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for international negotiations relative to the protection of cult...

other books by Federico Lenzerini

Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:March 6, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199664285

ISBN - 13:9780199664283

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Table of Contents

1. The debate on 'universalism' and 'cultural relativism' in international human rights law2. The evolution of international human rights law in the first part of the 21st Century: new challenges and problems3. Reconceptualising international human rights law through a culturally-based approach4. The contemporary dimensions of 'universalism' and 'legal pluralism' in light of the 'culturalisation' of human rights law5. Fostering tolerance, mutual understanding among peoples, and peace through a cultural-based approach to international human rights lawConclusion