Our Common Dignity Initiative and Rights-Based Approaches

Learn about the OCDI-RBA Working Group of ICOMOS and issues within this topic.

By ICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites

Sunset in Uluru (2013) by Niklas MorbergICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites

Our Common Dignity Initiative

Our Common Dignity Initiative is a long lasting commitment of ICOMOS in recognition that proper and timely consideration of community rights during the planning of a project is fundamental to successful conservation.    

Why are rights-based approaches so important? (Riin Alatalu) (2020/2020) by Larissa Ide & Mario SantanaICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites

Why are Rights-Based Approaches so Important?

Riin Alatalu, board member of ICOMOS explains her answer to this question. 

Rajbagh Silk factory (1938 silk factory complex) by Avani RaiICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites

World Renowned Rajbagh Silk Factory Built in 1938 Declining

This factory in India was one of the largest public industrial setups in the 20th century. Kashmir is known for its craft tradition of carpet making using mulberry silk. Over the years the industry has dwindled due to reorganizing of the production chain and political unrest. 

Employees at Rajbagh Silk Factory (2017) by Bilal BahadurICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites

The Damage of the 2014 Floods

The floods damaged buildings and machinery, and resulted in the loss of livelihoods. The Government proposes to restore the Silk Factory at Rajbagh to invigorate  the production of mulberry silk. The workers seek sustained livelihood for weavers & rearers who are small farmers. 

Aboriginal culture, Australia (2011) by Steve EvansICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites

Who are the Rights Holders?

Rights holders may be past and present property owners, clients, ethnic groups, professionals, site managers, locals, tourists, etc. The rights and duties of the parties need to be considered when undergoing any changes to a heritage place or management of the place. 

Rambagh gate RBA reverence 2018 (Rambagh gate is an early 19th century building) by Raghu RaiICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites

How the Locals can Be Involved in Conservation

The city gate of Amritsar was recovered through conservation. Reuse was decided by consulting the locals. The surrounding area is inhabited by people who came from the new country of Pakistan in 1947. This Peoples' Museum exhibits the layered narrative of the locals. 

Rambagh gate RBA resonance 2018 (Rambagh gate is an early 19th century building) by Raghu RaiICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites

Allowing Community to Embrace their Heritage

The photo captures the opening event of the Museum with a performance of traditional community folk song and dance. The participants and local community performed as they walked the main street of the city starting at the gate and invited the communities to visit their museum. 

Rambagh gate RBA crafts and innovation 2018 (Rambagh gate is an early 19th century building) by Raghu RaiICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites

Proliferating Pride

The photo captures a room in the gate which houses the crafts of the local community of the markets around in the walled city of Amritsar. The artisan community felt extremely proud to be housed in the museum. 

What conflicts arise when rights-based approaches are not followed? (Riin Alatalu) (2020/2020) by Larissa Ide & Mario SantanaICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites

What Conflicts Arise When RBA are not Followed?

Riin Alatalu reveals the conflicts that come from not following Rights-Based Approaches to respect communities connected to heritage places. 

Marrakesh Market (2019) by ICOMOSICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites

ICOMOS Advisory Committee Adopted a Declaration in 2018:

It encourages professionals to: 
- Build strong relationships with communities;
- Embrace the principle of free, prior, and informed consent of communities before adopting measures concerning their cultural heritage; ...

Queen Quet at the ATP Miami Conference Giving a Presentation (2019) by Larissa IdeICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites

- Offer all possible assistance so that rights holders are invited to participate in the process of preservation and stewardship of cultural heritage.

Queen Quet touches on the issues of engaging rights holders during the planning of projects.

Local Shop Initiative. Leesi Shop, Lahemaa National Park (20th Century) by Marti Hääl, Imre Annus, Ave PaulusICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites

Adaptive Reuse of a Historical Shop

Leesi Shop has been operational since 1913, until 10 years ago when it closed. It is located in Lahemaa National Park, Estonia. The locals decided against turning it into a different use and instead into a grocery store similar to its historical use. See the full video here.

Cultural Heritage and Local Communities in Lahemaa National Park, Estonia (20th century) by Ave Paulus, Imre AnnusICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites

Intangible and Tangible Heritage Protected

Lahemaa National Park was founded in 1971 to protect the nature and culture. These 75,000 hectares of land and sea protected by the state are a part of Estonia's identity. See the full video here, where Ave Paulus of ICOMOS Estonia tells the story of this place.

ICOMOS Rights-based approaches training in Estonia (2019) by Mees MetsastICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites

The Fundamentals of Rights-Based Approaches

Riin Alatalu explains the fundamentals of Rights-Based Approaches within heritage conservation. It is a method consisting of asking questions and identifying the rights-owners and duty-bearers. The goal is to help people take ownership of their heritage and resolve conflicts.

Credits: Story

Riin Alatalu - ICOMOS OCDI-RBA Working Group
Queen Quet,  Head-of-State for the Gullah/Geechee Nation in Miami, FL 
   
Gurmeet S Rai - ICOMOS India OCDI-RBA Working Group


ICOMOS Canada and Carleton University

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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