Read Me Lucie Lamarche’s article (available in French only)
United Nations Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted in 2009 General Observation no 21 interpreting Article 15 (1)(a) of the Covenant. This article guarantees the right of everyone to take part in cultural life. Cultural rights are to be taken in account in regard in all rights provided for by the Covenant. They are not only the rights of minorities. Council of Europe recently adopted the Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society. Culture is described as an aggregate of all human identity attributes, including religious belief. Cultural rights call for re examination of the classical opposition between equality for all and differentiated equality based on religion. They assume a level of complexity in designing public policies for modern societies.
Taking as example the case of the province of Quebec, Canada, where nation building raises important issues in relation of identity, common values, culture and religion, this article suggests that departing from a framework where religion and other rights may come in conflict can offer interesting perspectives for rights reconciliation.
Lucie Lamarche, «Les droits culturels: une clé d’analyse favorisant une approche décompartimentalisée des droits de la personne à l’heure des sociétés complexes», M. Labelle, J. Couture et F.W. Remiggi (dir.), Montréal, Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2001, 237-257.