In addition to its position under International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the right to access and enjoy cultural heritage is guaranteed under International Human Rights Law (IHRL), in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This includes the right to understand, visit, make use of, maintain, exchange elements of, and develop cultural heritage, as well as to benefit from your cultural heritage and others’, and has been interpreted as an obligation to design and implement preservation and safeguarding policies and programmes. This was supported by Resolution 33/20 on Cultural rights and the protection of cultural heritage (adopted 2016), and in the report by the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights.

Photo: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights display at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise, Idaho, is one of the few places on the planet where the complete text is on permanent public display. 2017. Photo by: By Kencf0618 [CC BY-SA 4.0. from Wikimedia Commons.

Read more about Cultral heritage and International Human Rights Law (IHRL) in our Law Library, where you can also read about Resolution 33/20

Read more about the work of the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights on the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights website