The World Trade Organization and Human Rights

The World Trade Organization and Human Rights

Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Edited by Sarah Joseph, David Kinley and Jeff Waincymer

This collection of essays from leading academics examines the connection between the World Trade Organization (WTO) and human rights issues, a topic which has provoked significant debate, particularly in the decade since the collapsed WTO talks in Seattle in 1999.

Chapter 8: Games within Fragmentation: The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Hélène Ruiz Fabri

Subjects: economics and finance, international economics, law - academic, human rights, international economic law, trade law, politics and public policy, human rights


Hélène Ruiz Fabri Once upon a time, there was the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions1 (‘the Convention’). This is not a fairy tale but the story of a legal policy that one could call ‘games within fragmentation’, such is the accuracy of the picture it gives of the itineraries one can explore during the journeys through the archipelago of international law, sometimes no more than steered by the stars. It is not a fairy tale because the Convention not only exists – it was adopted on 20 October 2005 by the 33rd General Conference of the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (‘UNESCO’) – it has entered into force. One would like to see it as the younger sister, alive and viable, of the cultural exception whose death had left too many hopes unfulfilled. Yet, at once it is tempting to question whether the Convention is or will be of any utility and if it can be considered effective. Should one tend toward an elegant cynicism (though perhaps a better term would be realism), a prudent idealism, or maybe even a militant voluntarism? Such questions already reveal one characteristic of the Convention, to have been and to remain a source of controversy, as an object of legal discourse and as an instrument of legal policy. On the one hand, the perspectives concerning the Convention do not seem overly encouraging, be they doubts relating to States’ willingness to apply it or, more simply,...

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