The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights Karima Bennoune will visit Maldives on June 9 to assess efforts to implement cultural rights for all.
“This is the first visit by a UN Special Rapporteur to the country since 2013 and the first visit of the cultural rights mandate to South Asia,” said Bennoune, who is tasked by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) with monitoring, reviewing and advising on cultural rights in all countries.
Bennoune expressed eagerness to learn how Maldives understands the realisation of cultural rights and how it endeavours to implement these rights through laws and policies in a way it respects and promotes cultural diversity and expressions.
The expert also plans to investigate the impact of fundamentalism and extremism on the enjoyment of cultural rights by all and on how people can take part in public spaces and cultural life without discrimination, as guaranteed by international standards.
“Considering the particular situation of the Maldives, I will also assess policies designed to mitigate the threat climate change poses to the cultures and cultural heritage in the Maldives, and how culture and creativity are used to respond to the existential challenges resulting from climate change.”
During her time in Maldives Bennoune will visit a number of islands and meet central and local authorities, as well as a wide range of people working in the field of culture, including academics, artists and relevant institutions.
Moreover, she will hold talks with civil society organisations and representatives of UN agencies, enabling them to share their experiences and discuss good practices while identifying challenges in the enjoyment of cultural rights.
At the end of the visit, the Special Rapporteur will share her preliminary observations at a press conference held on June 18 at Maagiri Hotel. She will also present a report on her visit at a session of UNHRC.
Karima Bennoune was appointed as Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2015. Her research and writing, including on cultural rights issues, has been widely published in leading journals and periodicals.