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Development (DH-DEV)

 

Human Rights
in Culturally Diverse Societies

Presentation

Human rights are generally regarded as universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. Sometimes, in a culturally diverse context, there may be a need to strike a fair balance between different rights. On the one hand, none of these rights should be set aside due to cultural or religious practices or customs. On the other hand, it may sometimes be necessary to allow for differential treatment or for appropriate exceptions in order to accommodate diversity. For instance, providing members of minority groups with alternative opportunities in accordance with their culture or religion might promote pluralism and tolerance, and ensure cohesive and stable society.

There already exist a number of international and European standards in the field of human rights in culturally diverse societies. The challenge is now to ensure that these standards are effectively implemented in Europe, where intolerance, extremism, xenophobia and incitement to violence are on the rise. 

Within the Council of Europe,  the CDDH adopted a study of existing instruments in the field of human rights in culturally diverse societies in November 2012, as well as a study on the feasibility and the added value of new activities in the field in June 2013. Against this background, the Committee of Ministers decided to continue considering these issues during the next biennium (2014-2015).

With a view to promoting the human rights in culturally diverse societies, the Drafting Group CDDH-DC started its work in March 2014, by gathering the existing standards, case-law and good practices regarding the freedom of thought, conscience and religion and other rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular freedom of expression and freedom of association. In addition, in October 2014 the Group held a preliminary discussion on the elaboration of Guidelines on human rights in culturally diverse societies.

Documents of the Drafting Group on Human Rights in Culturally Diverse Societies (CDDH-DC)

2014

2nd  meeting of CDDH-DC
21-24 October 2014, Strasbourg
Agenda Meeting report

1st meeting of CDDH-DC
24-25 March 2014, Strasbourg

Agenda

Meeting report

 

Publications

Proceedings of the Conference on "Human rights in culturally diverse societies: challenges and perspectives” (The Hague, November 2008) Proceedings
Manual on hate speech (English) Manual
Manual on hate speech (German) Manual
Manual on the wearing of religious symbols in public areas (English) Manual
Link to the work of the Group GT-DEV-SM which examined in the course of 2007 and 2008 issues related to the respect of human rights in a multicultural society