Irina Bokova: Participation in cultural life is a human right
On 24 January, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova took part in a policy debate on the “right to participate in cultural life” held in Strasbourg within the framework of the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
In addition to Irina Bokova’s participation, this session of the PACE, held from 23 to 27 January, included speeches by British Prime Minister David Cameron, Finnish President Tarja Halonen and United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet.
In her intervention, Irina Bokova highlighted UNESCO’s action in the field of culture, spanning over several decades. She underlined the role of culture in development and pointed to the need to integrate cultural rights into national policies. “Cultural rights are a necessary means to enforce Human Rights,” she said. Citing article 4 of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, the Director-General underscored UNESCO’s position on the universality of all human rights: “No one may invoke cultural diversity to infringe upon human rights guaranteed by international law, nor to limit their scope”.
In addition, the Director-General held meetings with the newly elected President of the Parliamentary Assembly, Jean-Claude Mignon, the European Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland.
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