Published: Wednesday, 01/11/2006 12:00 am EST

Canada became the first country to ratify an international convention protecting cultural diversity on Dec.23. The agreement will not come into force until months after all 30 state parties have added their signatures. "UNESCO has elaborated a range of standard-setting instruments to protect cultural diversity, to be found not only in tangible and intangible heritage, but also in contemporary forms of creativity," said Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The convention seeks to protect things like cinema, language, the Internet and world cultural industries which are being threatened by globalization and monopolies. The Convention reaffirms the sovereign right of States to create cultural policies which safeguard and promote the diversity of cultural expression while respecting human rights and freedoms.

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