Professor Melissa Baird published a paper titled “Heritage, Human Rights, and Social Justice” in Heritage & Society, Volume 7, Issue 2 (November, 2014), pp. 139-155.
What is the distinction between human rights and social justice frameworks? In heritage contexts, distinctions do matter. Despite its potential in protecting cultural heritage and mediating conflict, human rights regimes have been overburdened in taking on heritage issues. In certain contexts, an inclusion of a social justice agenda provides advocacy and voice to communities whose needs have been marginalized. A social justice approach is positioned to take on issues of inequalities, injustices, or violations of heritage and cultural rights, and provide avenues for “communities of connection” (indigenous, subaltern, descendant, and local communities) to challenge how their heritage is represented.