(Re)Watch conference “The importance of human rights in the heritage management"
ICOMOS Latvia, in cooperation with the Faculty of History and Philosophy of the University of Latvia and the ICOMOS working group Our Common Dignity - Rights-based Approaches (OCB-RBA) held on 30 October 2020 an international online scientific conference “The importance of human rights in the heritage management: values, rights and heritage among the stakeholders’ interests”. The aim of the conference was to draw attention to the importance of human rights in the management of cultural heritage, as well as to look at Latvia's experience with issues connected to cultural heritage and stakeholders.
Why this conference?
The cultural heritage is affected by and affect their surrounding stakeholders. Each society group is representing certain values, ideals, experiences, practices and material resources, however mutual understanding, respect and tolerance towards cultural heritage and each other grows generally from a rights-based approach.
With this conference ICOMOS Latvia wanted to promote the involvement of society and various field professionals in development of a human rights-based heritage management model in Latvia and contribute to the formation of legal awareness about cultural heritage and human rights.
1st part of the conference: “International Experience and Historical Perspective"
This part was devoted to a general overview of the topic of cultural heritage and human rights, as well as to the perception, use and understanding of cultural heritage in the Baltics.
The first two presentations were dedicated to a rights-based approach and preservation and use of cultural heritage. Norwegian architect Bente Mathisen introduced the audience with the work of the ICOMOS working group OCB-RBA, its principles and approaches, but Peter Bille Larsen, a lecturer at the Institute of Management and Territorial Development at the University of Geneva, in his paper pointed out the issue with the diverse meaning and interpretation of terms used in the fields of human rights and cultural heritage and how this “inappropriate translation” can cause the problems.
Ave Paulus, member of the Lahemaa and Alutaguse National Park Cooperation Council and representative of ICOMOS Estonia, and Dr. Mārtiņš Mintaurs, Deputy Head of the Lettonica and Baltic Centre of the National Library of Latvia and Lecturer of the Faculty of History and Philosophy, University of Latvia in their papers presented the Baltic States experience of preservation and understanding of cultural heritage. Ave Paulus in her presentation focused on question how cultural and historical landscape preservation is balanced with the interests of local people and other stakeholders in Lahemaa National Park. But Mārtiņš Mintaurs provided an insight into the understanding of cultural heritage in Latvia in the 20th century and how it has been influenced by the interests of various groups of society.
The first part of the conference concluded Dr. Andris Šnē, professor of Faculty of History and Philosophy of University of Latvia, with an insight into the question of how the interaction between cultural heritage and human rights has taken place so far and what processes and organizations have been the main promoters of this process.
2nd part: “Society, Law and Latvia's Cultural Heritage”
Speakers focused on different issues concerning cultural heritage and the interests and rights of various society groups in relation to this heritage in Latvia. The second part of the conference was opened by Sandra Zirne, Head of the Department of Archaeology and History of the National Cultural Heritage Board of Latvia, with a report on archaeological heritage and its significance to various interest groups - archaeologists, treasure hunters, tourists, academics, etc. Next speaker Arnis Āboltiņš, Specialist of the Department of Archaeology and History of the National Cultural Heritage Board of Latvia and head of the Brothers' Cemetery Committee, introduced the audience with such specific cultural monument group as sites of historical events and interests and initiatives of various social groups in connection with this cultural heritage group in Latvia.
The presentation concerning architectural heritage and architectural degradation of certain districts of Riga, the capital of Latvia, and people's right to live in an environment corresponding to the quality of modern life was given by Dr. Jānis Lejnieks, Associate Professor of Riga International Business Administration.
The last speaker of conference was an architect Inta Jansone who presented paper about the significance of the River Venta and the Venta Rapid in the cultural and historical landscape of Kuldīga town and different stakeholders’ interests in usage and maintenance of this heritage.
Moderator, archaeologist (National Heritage Board of Latvia)
(Re)Watch conference (in Latvian with translation into English):