IFLA has submitted comments to the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights on the subject of cultural diversity and human rights. With a responsibility to preserve the heritage of all of our communities, to facilitate access to information, and as defenders of free speech, libraries have much to contribute.

Under international law, everyone has a right both to free expression, and to engaging in the cultural life of their community. Nonetheless, there remain threats to cultural diversity.

Politically motivated intolerance of cultural differences, a lack of opportunity for people from minority groups to speak out, and the collections practices of the past that saw some groups’ heritage as being more important than that of others’: all risk limiting cultural diversity.

In a Resolution at the United Nations General Assembly in 2017, Member States agreed on the importance of supporting cultural diversity, calling on governments and civil society alike to act. It also asked the High Commissioner for Human Rights to deliver a report on progress.

As part of a consultation designed to shape this report, IFLA has submitted comments. These highlight the work of IFLA’s Preservation and Conservation Centres and Sections (notably the Libraries Serving Multicultural Populations Section and the Religion: Libraries and Dialogue Special Interest Group), as well as broader efforts to promote free speech and enable all members of society to fulfil their potential.

You can read IFLA’s submission on our publications page.