Cultural Diversity

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When people participate in cultural expression there are a range of human rights which they are exercising. Regarding the right of all people to participate in cultural life human rights law dictates that law and policy must:

  • Respect
  • Protect
  • Fulfill

While exercising this right, people may also be exercising their right to:

  • Freedom of Expression
  • Freedom of Religon
  • Freedom of Assembly

However, in a culturally diverse society there are times when the exercising of cultural rights by some people may interfere with the human rights of others.


  • The implementation of law and policy can therefore allow for limitations to be placed on the exercise of these rights but such limitations must not amount to arbitrary or illegal interference.
  • There are particular obligations placed upon governments to protect the rights of minority groups to enjoy their own culture and to include minority communities in the process of developing law, policy and cultural programmes that affect them. 


Rights Engaged 

Right to participate in cultural life
  • ICESCR, Art 15
  • UNCRC, Art 31
Right to enjoy one's own culture
  • ICCPR, Art 27
Right to freedom of expression
  • ECHR/HRA, Art 10
  • ICCPR, Art 19

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Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • ECHR/HRA, Art 9

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Right to freedom of assembly
  • ICCPR, Art 19
  • ECHR/HRA, Art 11

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Right to private and family life
  • ECHR/HRA, Art 8
  • ICCPR, Art 17
  • UNCRPD, Arts 22, 23, 31
  • UNCRC, Art 16

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