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Study of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee on promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms through a better understanding of traditional values of humankind   6 December 2012

38. Explaining international human rights principles in ways that resonate in diverse  cultures and traditions may assist in promoting respect for human rights. For example,  during a panel discussion at the Human Rights Council on the theme “discriminatory laws  and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and  gender identity”, the Ambassador of South Africa, as moderator of the panel, invoked the  doctrine of Ubuntu:

What Ubuntu essentially says is, “I am because you are”. And in that, it conveys that
we are all linked in our common humanity, and therefore we have a responsibility to
protect each other according to the basic principles that in fact underlie our concepts
of human rights.

 Also  The negative impact of traditional values on vulnerable groups …….. Para. 39–44 ……. Page 12

42. It is important to note that those who challenge the social constructions of gender on  the basis of values said to be traditional, cultural or religious are particularly exposed to the  risk of violence and abuse of human rights. In a report on human rights defenders working  on gender-related issues, the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders noted that women defenders were more at risk of suffering certain forms of violence and other  violations, prejudice, exclusion and repudiation than their male counterparts, owing to the  fact that women defenders were perceived as challenging accepted socio-cultural norms,  traditions, perceptions and stereotypes about femininity, sexual orientation and the role and  status of women in society. The Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights stressed  that cultural rights include the right not to participate in specific traditions, customs and  practices, particularly those that infringe on human rights and dignity, and to revise and  (re)negotiate existing traditions, values or practices, regardless of their provenance.


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