Changements climatiques et culture: Quel rôle pour les droits humains?

Barral, Virginie. 2021. Changements climatiques et culture: Quel rôle pour les droits humains? In: , ed. Face aux changements climatiques, le champs des possibles en Afrique. (2) St Ouen: Les Éditions du Net, pp. 111-122. ISBN 9782312080086 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Culture has been understood as the sum total of the material and spiritual activities and products of a given social group that distinguish it from other similar groups, including a spiritual and physical association with ancestral lands. This close connection between humankind and culture also underscores that the legal protection of culture may take on a fundamental rights dimension. The UDHR recognises everyone’s right to participate freely in the cultural life of the community and the right to culture is protected by human rights treaties, as well regional instruments, such as the American Convention on Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Concomitantly, beyond the ties that bind culture and human rights, it is becoming increasingly apparent that a close and troubling link also exists between culture and climate change. Climate change threatens the cultural heritage of many communities, and some entire communities’ survival is threatened by the consequences of global warming, such as the people of small island States in the Pacific, whose land risks being flooded by rising sea levels. This is also the case for indigenous populations in Arctic regions, where the effects of warming are most spectacular. For these people, changes in the Arctic environment caused by global warming, such as the shrinking ice caps and the geographical redistribution of game, have direct implications on their ability to enjoy their culture and transmit it to future generations since their traditional lifestyle is so closely tied to the land and its natural resources. Climate change thus inherently threatens the right to culture, and human rights provide a rich conceptual and systemic framework through which environmental and climate grievances are conveyed, partly because of the absence of a specific, integrated and effective legal order for recognizing these considerations.
In this context, this contribution explores the role that the right to culture as a human right can play in combating climate change, as well as how the emergence of the human rights dialectic arises within climate justice debates and contributes, in turn, to the implementation of the right to culture. Most noteworthy is the fact that the direction taken by case law and doctrinal approaches appears to be gradually mitigating the traditional barriers to full judicial recognition of cultural rights and climate claims (I). These recent developments, including the rising number of climate disputes, are paving the way to both direct and indirect incorporation of the cultural dimension of human rights within climate justice (II).

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11 May 2021Published Online
28 October 2020Accepted

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16 Dec 2021 16:09

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18 Nov 2022 17:13


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