The Right to Culture in Sweden

University essay from Lunds universitet/Juridiska institutionen

Abstract: This thesis is about cultural rights, one of the less discussed categories of human rights. Although seldom mentioned in the human rights discourse outside of the context of economic, social and cultural rights, cultural rights are important on their own. They are present in many international conventions and declarations, as well as being one of the main areas of concern for UNESCO. The thesis begins with an introductory chapter, explaining the need to shed light on these neglected rights. There cannot be difference in the valuation of the human rights - they are all interdependent and interrelated (affirmed at the 1993 Vienna Conference). The aim of the thesis is to examine Sweden as a case study and see how this State lives up to the obligations on cultural rights imposed by international law. The next chapter is about the definition of culture and cultural rights. While culture in itself is too abstract a concept to summarize on a few pages, cultural rights have a clear context - international law - and are defined through the major scholars of that discipline. I show how cultural rights look in international law. First historically - through the drafting of UDHR and ICESCR and the work of UNESCO and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - and then strictly legally, quoting the provisions of UN instruments that touches upon cultural rights in one way or another. The chapter ends with a similar take on regional human rights instruments. The method chosen for the examination of Sweden's level of adherence to cultural rights obligations is indicators - concrete checkpoints for measuring human rights - and the indicators used in this thesis are divided into four main indicators and eight sub-indicators. I present the legislation of Sweden on the area of cultural rights. The Fundamental Laws of the Swedish Constitution, parliamentary acts, ordinances issued by the government, as well as some important policy documents will all be addressed. I analyze the Swedish legislation and policy documents in the light of the indicators. By using the indicators, I attempt to find out whether Sweden lives up to international standards on cultural rights or not. The final chapter consists of the author's concluding comments.

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