Closing Pandora's Box: Human Rights Conundrums in Cultural Heritage Protection
On 20 January 2006, Romania became the 30th State Party to sign UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage. This meant that the Convention, which had been approved by UNESCO’s General Conference in 2003, entered into force on 20 April 2006 (as it required 30 signatories to become operational). The Convention signaled the expansion of the global system of heritage protection from the tangible (that is, heritage places and artifacts) to the intangible. Article 2 of the Convention describes intangible cultural heritage as “practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills” – in other words, heritage that is embodied in people rather than in inanimate objects. It is an expansion that many heritage professionals, including some in UNESCO itself, see as opening up a Pandora’s box of difficulties, confusions, and complexities.
KeywordsCultural Heritage Cultural Diversity World Heritage Universal Declaration World Heritage Site
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