Law and Heritage
Edited by Charlotte Waelde, Catherine Cummings, Mathilde Pavis and Helena Enright
Chapter 7: ICH as a source of identity: international law and deontology
Identity concerns have become central for cultural heritage protection and safeguarding at international level. This, however, has been a rather recent change that took place first in policies on cultural diversity, and then became introduced in cultural heritage law. Introduction of the concept of ‘intangible cultural heritage’ and arriving at an international agreement on its safeguarding changed the understanding of cultural heritage in general, and also strengthened the recognition and protection of the diversity of cultural identities. The chapter explores these conceptual shifts from a historical perspective, raising informative experiences of drafting international legal and deontological instruments, including in relation to gender, national minorities, indigenous groups, ethnicities, migrants and diaspora. It also reveals evolvement of cultural rights, including regional normative instruments, and its interpretation, in particular for defending the interrelated rights to cultural identity and cultural heritage, which currently encompass the freedom to choose identity and to participate in heritage interpretation.
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