Intended for healthcare professionals


Considering culture provides a “window” that can help make human rights projects a success

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 12 November 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2508
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

    Cultural sensitivity is essential to the success of policies to improve human rights, including those aimed at improving women’s health, says a United Nations report. That is, inherited patterns of shared meanings and common understandings should be taken into account.

    The report, Reaching Common Ground: Culture, Gender and Human Rights, from the United Nations Population Fund, argues that culture is a fundamental part of people’s lives and should be considered routinely.

    “Appeals for cultural sensitivity and engagement are sometimes wrongly interpreted as acceptance of harmful traditional practices, or a way of making excuses for non-compliance with universal human rights,” the report says.

    But it adds, “This is far from the …

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