Human INTERCULTURAL RIGHTS: A Nonkilling Checklist

by Francisco Gomes de Matos, a peace linguist and human rights educator
Professor Emeritus, Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

The Checklist below is open-ended: please add to it, refine, probe it, reflect on it and discuss, contextualize and exemplify. The Checklist is also a reminder of how interculturally literate we could be in an increasingly INTERcultural world. Portions of it have been used (in Portuguese) in workshops given by the author at the Course Educar para os Direitos Humanos (Educating for Human Rights), sponsored by the Dom Helder Camara Human Rights Commission, Federal University of Pernambuco.
To know more about the Nonkilling Approach,visit the site


  1. consider other cultures as inferior than our culture(s)
  2. generalize hastily,inaccurately about customs in other cultures
  3. compare cultures and take our own culture as the model or standard for comparison
  4. humiliate persons,groups,communities in other culgtures through interculturally insensitive vocabulary and phraseology (as when we refer depreciatively to racial and ethnic groups)
  5. make careless intercultural generalizations to describe cultural patterns
  6. rely on dichotomies to refer to cultures (for instance, individualist cultures, collectivist cultures) rather than consider the continuum  in which cultures are variously co-constructed and experienced
  7. fail to relate to each other/one another interculturally with dignity, fairness and respect
  8. believe and impose the belief that our culture is the best to be imitated
  9. make intercultural statements unsupported by research evidence
  10. fail to perceive and acknowledge the intercultural universality or near-universalitry of some core-values such as Peace, Nonviolence, and Nonkilling
  11. fail to contribute to intercultural understanding, especially through Internet communication
  12. view instances of intercultural shock negatively and do not learn from such humanizing experiences
  13. view cultural differences as resulting from unfavorable economic, economic, social, political conditions
  14. separate language(s) from culture(s) in which linguistic systems are embedded,that is,when we fail to see the integrated, holistic nature of languaculture
  15. criticize aspects of our culture which differ from those of another with which we are familiar, through study, work, or leisure abroad
  16. perceive different patterns  of tourist behavior (in our culture) as negative or reflective of lack of intercultural education or sensitivity
  17. fail to relate Tourism and Cultural Change in considering dimensions of diversity such as cultural diversity, biodiversity, linguistic diversity
  18. fail to contribute to a peacebuilding characterization of Global Culture, for instance a Nonkilling Culture, a killing-free Culture, a culture in which citizens are assured of their right to live peacefully, nonviolently, nonkillingly across cultures and to fulfill their responsibilities as nonkilling global intercultural citizens
  19. fail to live up to, nurture, strengthen and sustain our Intercultural Identities
  20. in an increasingly INTERcultural world, we fail to exercise our Intercultural Rights and Responsibilities  with exemplary dignity

(Checklist updated February 27, 2011)

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