Purpose of the mandate
Cultural rights are fundamental for the respect of human dignity, in the diversity of its expressions. This mandate was created to:
- Give greater visibility to cultural rights in the human rights system; and to
- Foster a better understanding of the severity of their violations, and of the opportunity of their realisation for all.
Learn more about how the implementation of cultural rights is critical for sustainable peace, equality and development through the
Issues in focus section.
About the mandate
In 2009 the Human Rights Council decided to establish, for a period of three years, a new special procedure entitled "independent expert in the field of cultural rights" through resolution
This mandate was extended for a period of three years in 2012, through resolution
19/6; in 2015, through resolution
28/9, and in 2018, through resolution
Learn more about the
Current mandate holder
Karima Bennoune was appointed UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights in October 2015. Ms. Bennoune grew up in Algeria and in the United States. She is Professor of Law and Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall Research Scholar at the University of California-Davis School of Law, where she teaches human rights and international law. She is currently a Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan Law School.
Read Karima Bennoune's full biography
Cultural rights: tenth anniversary report
The universality of human rights, cultural diversity and cultural rights
Latest thematic reports
Cultural mixing and cultural rights: In this report, the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights calls for greater recognition of human rights-respecting cultural mixing and syncretism and increased respect for mixed cultural identities, all of which is necessary for the implementation of cultural rights. View document A/76/178 and its annex.
COVID-19, cultures and cultural rights: In this report, the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights surveys the negative impacts of COVID-19 on culture and cultural rights worldwide, and the positive potential of culture and cultural rights, and the right to science, to enhance rights-respecting solutions and build resilience. The report also contains relevant recommendations for action.
View issue in focus page |
View the report page | View the
advanced edited version of the report.
Climate change, culture and cultural rights: In this report, the Special Rapporteur addresses the cultural and cultural rights dimensions of the current climate emergency, which have too often been overlooked. She considers the negative impacts of climate change on human cultures and on the enjoyment of cultural rights, and the positive potential of cultures and the exercise of cultural rights to serve as critical tools in responding to the climate emergency.
View issue in focus page |
View the report page | View document
A/75/298 and its
Cultural rights defenders: This report aims to raise awareness about the work of cultural rights defenders, with a view to enhancing the attention and assistance they receive. The report includes a definition of cultural rights defenders, an overview of the diverse human rights work they engage in, and the challenges and risks they face. Recommendations for better recognizing, defending and supporting them are also provided.
View Issue in focus page | View document
Latest country reports
Mission to Maldives (9 to 18 June 2019)
Mission to Tuvalu (18 to 24 September 2019)