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UN rights expert launches study on advertising, cultural rights

UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights [official website], Farida Shaheed [official profile] announced [press release] Friday that she will launch a new study on how marketing and advertising affect cultural rights. Shaheed plans to focus her study on the challenges that marketing strategies present to cultural rights such as the right to education, the right to artistic freedom and the right to cultural heritage. The study will encompass the wide variety of marketing techniques including sources from television, print, radio, billboards, branding, Internet, promotions, sponsorships and other strategies. Shaheed has received several human rights awards for her work protecting cultural rights and fostering policies in culturally sensitive ways.

A human rights mechanism took effect last year that will allow a UN committee to review complaints [JURIST report] from people or groups who have exhausted every option for justice in their own country regarding economic, social and cultural rights violations. The state party must then give due consideration to the committee's views and recommendations and submit a written response within six months, setting forth any action it has taken. The protocol was created to condemn violations of rights to food, adequate housing, education, or health, as is the standard for civil and political rights violations. Uruguay was the tenth required country to ratify the protocol [JURIST report], joining Argentina, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mongolia, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain. UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay [official profile] has requested that the other 160 nations in the UN also ratify the protocol. Some critics have suggested the opt-in nature for the protocol means that many suspect nations will not be governed by the instrument, leaving those people most in danger of rights abuses with no change in their means to report those abuses.

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