Déclaration de Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, directrice et auteur principal du Rapport mondial sur le développement humain 2004
Présentation du Rapport 2004
Expanding Cultural Liberty in Today’s Diverse World
Your Royal Highnesses Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde, Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Vice Premier, Mr. Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Colleagues and Friends
Thank you for the privilege of presenting to you the key messages of Human Development Report 2004 – Cultural Liberty in Today’s Diverse World.
Conflicts over language, religion, ethnicity are nothing new. But what is new today, however, is the rise of identity politics on every continent, and indeed in almost every country – a consequence of more democracy, mass communication and globalization. People everywhere have the possibility to be much more assertive about demanding recognition and respect for their cultures. Minority groups are demanding an end to discrimination in politics, employment, education and other aspects of life. New also is the cultural backlash to globalization – the growing fear that national values and ways of life are undermined by the spread of people, goods and ideas across the world.
Just look at the headlines. The European Union is a historic success in economic and political integration. Celebrating the enlargement a few weeks ago, all but one country placed reservation on labour market integration which has profound impact on cultural diversity. In the rest of the world, Iraq is trying to build a democratic state that works for its Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites. Much of central and South America is struggling with the confrontations between indigenous people and corporate interests, both foreign and local. And as globalization advances, Europeans worry that English has become the language of business and entertainment, condemning their national languages to the same fate as Welsh or Breton unless it is vigorously defended like Flemish in Belgium. Parents in Asia fear the corrupting influence of Western films and music.
Difficult questions about cultural identity represent a central challenge of today and the future that no country escapes. Almost no country is culturally homogeneous. The world’s 5000 ethnic groups are crammed into 200 countries. Globalization is driving movements of people and ideas. Most capital cities of Europe and North America have at least a quarter of its population born abroad. Toronto has 44%. Immigrant policies can no longer demand assimilation without choice and that immigrants drop their original identities in order to integrate. Immigrants today can contribute to the societies where they live and work and still maintain ties to their country of origin, speak more than one language, and celebrate the heritage of the country where they live and the country they came from.
If managed badly, or denied outright, controversies in multicultural societies can lead to instability, violence and oppression. When people feel excluded from opportunities or denied respect for their way of life and heritage, the sense of humiliation and outrage can be profound.
What should be done? There is no single formula. Each situation is unique. The purpose of this Report is to set out some principles and review approaches that have worked in different situations, drawing on the latest research empirical studies.
The core argument is that the only sustainable solution is to embrace diversity. This requires not just individual tolerance but state policy that recognizes distinct cultural identities – an approach that can be broadly termed ‘multiculturalism’. Multiethnic states need constitutional recognition and pluralistic policies on language, proportional political representation, religion, national holidays, as well as combat deeply entrenched discrimination against minorities. Global markets need to recognize and support the value of cultural diversity, and encourage ideas, goods and people to flow but also address the asymmetries that threaten national cultures. For example, the market forces of global trade mean that Hollywood can wipe out the once thriving film industries of Italy and Mexico.
Many economists and politicians argue that problems of cultural exclusion will disappear as long as there is democracy which can guarantee basic civil and political rights. That is not enough. Majoritarian democracies have failed to give adequate voice to minorities or to indigenous people. A one language policy excludes minorities from opportunities – for jobs, schools, political debates. A judicial system that is blind to authority structures and values of an indigenous group can not expect to be effective in securing justice. Rapid expansion of schooling and healthcare left behind ethnic minorities in poverty in Malaysia and Viet Nam, and social welfare is leaving behind second generation immigrants in France or Norway. Cultural accommodation is the only sustainable approach because the alternative is cultural suppression. It is simply wrong to deny human freedoms – choices, dignity and equality. But accommodation is also the more pragmatic approach: the alternative of suppressing diversity will spell backlash for democracy and development. Time and again, where multinational corporations ignored indigenous people’s claims, confrontations turned violent and blocked investments. Democracy cannot be sustainable in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq without provision for minority voice. As President Karzai points out in his contribution to the Report, recognizing 2 national languages and 6 regional languages is a means to national integration, strengthening the state, rather than a means to isolation and fragmentation.
This Report documents the many ways in which countries have responded to the difficult challenge of cultural accommodation – through arrangements for political participation, religious freedom, pluralist policy for language, affirmative action for equal opportunities, for dealing with intolerant, extremist movements,
I want to note that by advocating multiculturalism I do not mean isolating and differentiating communities. Multiculturalism is about sustaining multiple identities and building unity in diversity. Nor is it a defense of tradition at the expense of universal human rights. All cultures change and adapt; humanity does not advance when culture is stagnant.
As Amartya Sen writes in the chapter he contributed to the Report, ‘Rather than glorify unreasoned endorsement of inherited traditions, or warn the world about the alleged inevitability of the clash of civilizations, the human development perspective demands that attention go to the importance of freedom in cultural spheres and to ways of defending and expanding the cultural freedoms that people can enjoy’. Cultural freedom is a simple but a profoundly disturbing idea that challenges past practice and ideas that have become conventional wisdom. Authoritarian regimes have brutally suppressed language, religion, and custom. But even democracies have restricted cultural freedoms – by policies of forced assimilation or by failing to recognize minority cultures, or by being disdainful of their heritage, labeling them inferior. Why? Because of the myth that national integration is only possible with a single national identity, a myth that ignores the fact that people have multiple identities: one can be Walloon and Belgian, Catalan and Spanish, Aborigine and Australian, Indian and muslim. Identity is not a zero sum game.
Clashes of civilizations are not inevitable. None of the leading studies identify pure ethnic hatred as a cause of violent ethnic conflict. For example, the conflict in Sudan may be driven by ethnic and religious divides but it is rooted in struggles over economic resources, over land and political power.
The idea that cultural diversity stops growth and development is not credible when one considers Canada, Malaysia and Mauritius outperforming more homogeneous countries. It is a myth that some cultures are intrinsically at odds with democracy. Democratic values of freedom, participation, and equality are found in all cultural traditions of the world.
These myths about cultures and cultural diversity leading to conflict, failed development and democracy are dangerous and stand in the way of human freedoms and the stability necessary for peace and prosperity.
Cultural liberty will not just happen, any more than health, education or women’s rights do. It takes active measures by state and society, and should therefore be a core concern of governments. Civilizations will not clash when state policies allow people to be who they are. The purpose of this report is to show how it can be done.
I close with a statement by Aunng San Suu Kyi which eloquently captures the essence of the cultural liberty as a human development challenge:
At a time when the world is preoccupied with the menace of terrorism, it is worth considering that people who feel deprived of control over their lives - necessary for a dignified life - are liable to search for fulfillment along the path of violence. Merely providing them with a certain material sufficiency is not enough to win them over to peace and unity. Their potential for human development has to be realized and their human dignity respected so that they can gain the skills and confidence to build a world strong and prosperous in harmonious diversity.