Human Development Report 2004

Cultural Liberty in Today's Diverse World

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Cultural Liberty in Today’s Diverse World argues that states must actively devise multicultural policies to prevent discrimination on cultural grounds – religious, ethnic and linguistic. The Report states that the expansion of cultural freedoms, not suppression, is the only sustainable option to promote stability, democracy and human development within and across societies. Its overarching message is to highlight the vast potential of building a more peaceful, prosperous world by brining issues of culture to the mainstream of development thinking and practice. In delivering it’s message, the Report debunks the myths that have been used to deny expansions of cultural freedoms, showing that diversity is not a threat to state unity, not the source of inevitable clashes and not an obstacle to development.



Confronting movements for cultural domination

This Report argues that people should be free to be who they are, to choose their identities and to live accordingly. It further argues that the recognition of multiple and complementary identities—with individuals identifying themselves as citizens of a state as well as members of ethnic, religious and other cultural groups—is the cornerstone of cultural liberty. But movements hostile to these principles seek to eliminate diversity in the name of cultural superiority. Such movements, and their underlying sources of support, must be confronted. The question is: How?


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