UN specialist says experts can learn from Derry experience

Experts on human rights have arrived in Derry for an international conference.

The ‘Cultural rights in post-conflict and divided societies’ conference will take place over the next three days at the University of Ulster’s Magee Campus.

Keynote speaker, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Cultural Rights, Farida Shaheed, told the ‘Journal’ that the international experts attending the conference could learn from local experiences of communities in Derry.

“It is essential to hear from the communities affected, to hear what their experiences have been and see how we can move forward. It is only by learning from each other that we can move forwards,” she added.

The themes of the event - which is being hosted by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission in collaboration with the UN High Commission for Human Rights and the University of Ulster’s - are how societies memorialise the past and teach history.

Speakers will also explore the role of art and culture in promoting reconciliation.

During their stay in Derry the experts will adopt a set of recommendations that will be tabled at the United Nations to inform a resolution on the right to culture.

NIHRC Chief Commissioner, Michael O’Flaherty, said at yesterday public symposium to mark the opening the conference. “Derry/Londonderry City of Culture is providing an opportunity for us all to recall how fundamental questions of culture are to our personal and shared identities. It is by knowing and celebrating who we are and where we have come from and by cherishing the diversity of those histories and stories that we ensure a strong thriving community. That is why culture is considered a legally binding human right.”