UN Expert Urges Chile To Prioritise Cultural Rights

Published: Sun 7 Apr 2024 05:39 AM
SANTIAGO (5 April 2024) – Chile must step up efforts to recognise and guarantee the right of everyone to participate fully in shaping society, a UN expert said today.
“Chile has an obligation to provide a solid legal and structural framework for the exercise of cultural rights, both in law and in practice,” said Alexandra Xanthaki, the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, in a statement at the end of a 12-day official visit to the country.
Xanthaki encouraged the Government to take more positive measures to reverse false narratives and stereotypes that undermine the cultures of segments of the population, including women and migrants, and to increase awareness and knowledge of Afro-descendant histories. “Education, both formal and informal, should be truly intercultural and provide spaces to reflect local realities,” she said.
“Indigenous Peoples should benefit from the protection of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and be guaranteed free, prior and informed consent and control over issues that directly affect them, such as the preservation of their heritage,” the expert said.
The Special Rapporteur welcomed Chile’s commitment to multilateralism and international human rights at a time when these principles were being challenged globally. However, she was concerned that cultural rights were not explicitly protected in the country’s constitution and laws.
Xanthaki commended the State for its general openness and positive approach to cultural diversity. She stressed the need for a more integrated, holistic plan for the exercise of cultural rights, rather than a piecemeal, fragmented approach.
During her visit, the UN expert met with Government officials, at the central, regional and local levels, members of Congress and representatives of cultural institutions, civil society, artists, academics and leaders of cultural communities and Indigenous Peoples, as well as the National Institute for Human Rights. She visited cultural centres and heritage sites.
The Special Rapporteur will present a full report on her visit to the Human Rights Council in March 2025.
Ms. Alexandra Xanthaki (Greece) was appointed by the Human Rights Council as UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights in October 2021. Ms. Xanthaki works as a Professor of Laws at Brunel University London, United Kingdom. Throughout her academic career, Ms. Xanthaki has published over 50 publications relating to the cultural rights of minorities and indigenous peoples, cultural diversity, cultural heritage, balancing cultural rights with other rights and interests, and multiculturalism and integration in international human rights law. She has worked with NGOs, civil society and has consulted States on such issues.

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