Cultural heritage management is the process of protecting objects and sites that are part of a nation’s cultural history. It aims to balance competing interests by classifying cultural objects according to their heritage value and social function. Highly symbolic objects, for example, are often recognized as cultural heritage because of their intrinsic value as part of a community’s identity. However, artefacts that were manufactured purely for sale will not qualify as a cultural heritage object. To be considered a cultural heritage object, it must be an authentic, tangible symbol of a family’s past life.
Cultural heritage includes not only buildings and monuments, but also customs, beliefs, and practices that are intrinsic to a culture. Whether the heritage is in the form of living cultures, monuments, or both, cultural heritage is often under attack, and can be subject to change and revision. In many cases, it is a source of tension between neighboring cultures.
Articles in the ICCPR guarantee the rights of minorities to preserve their languages, art forms, and religions. In addition, Article 1 of the ICESCR guarantees the right to self-determination for all people. In addition, the ICESCR guarantees the right to practice one’s own language, religion, and art, and prohibits propaganda against minorities.
Cultural heritage is an important part of humankind’s history. It includes ancient archaeological sites, historic buildings, collections of antiquities, and artworks. It also includes the lives of contemporary communities. Its preservation is often threatened by climate change, neglect, and other factors. Fortunately, a wide range of government and non-governmental organizations have begun to take steps to protect and preserve cultural heritage.
The creation of new museums has helped promote the preservation of historic artefacts and remembrance of cultures. For example, the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center in Rwanda commemorates victims of genocide and promotes tolerance among all citizens. Similarly, a former prison on Robben Island has been turned into a museum for the new South Africa. Former prisoners and guards are now docents, while museum divers provide education on the era. Another example is Unesco’s Slave Route project, which focuses on African diaspora.
Cultural heritage is a vastly creative enterprise. Although it may be the work of groups, it can also be a reflection of individual contributions. Because people play a central role in the creation of culture, taking away the resources necessary to create this cultural legacy may be detrimental to someone’s well-being. It can also be damaging to an individual’s normative agency.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) has acknowledged the right of indigenous communities to their cultural heritage. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 13 September 2007. In addition, the UNIDROIT Convention, a treaty of 1995, recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples and recognizes the traditional use of cultural property.