The mandate of the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights marks its 10th anniversary in 2019. To celebrate this milestone, the Special Rapporteur, Ms. Karima Bennoune, invited all stakeholders to contribute to a consultation aimed at taking stock of the impact of the cultural rights mandate since its creation and at identifying issues relating to cultural rights.
RASHID International, led by Chief Legal Officer Seán Fobbe, contributed a special report outlining the work we do in enhancing cultural rights in Iraq. The report highlights specific efforts to provide technical assistance with cultural heritage matters, such as Dr. Simone Mühl and Dr. Rozhen Mohammed-Amin’s on-going restoration work at Slemani Museum – the second-largest museum dedicated to archaeology in Iraq. Professor Roger Matthews’s new project MENTICA (Middle East Neolithic Transition: Integrated Community Approaches) was discussed due to its potential to enhance the teaching of history and memorialisation processes in a framework of cultural diversity and sustainable development.
The report also lists important research into the current legal framework in Iraq regarding the looting of antiquities, its implications for human rights, and how RASHID is engaging in constructive dialogue with Iraqi representatives through providing advice, knowledge and evidence relevant to Iraq’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review of its human rights.
Finally, RASHID recommended that the Special Rapporteur visit Iraq in order to raise awareness of the importance of cultural rights and strengthen the morale of cultural rights defenders in Iraq. RASHID extended an invitation to provide logistical assistance, host a platform for meeting cultural rights defenders and enrich the Special Rapporteur’s visit with our expert knowledge of the country, its heritage and its people.