Wile the UNHCR is investigating Iran’s killing of hundreds of peaceful protesters, the Islamic Republic of Iran has just been appointed Chair of the United Nations Human Rights Council 2023 Social Forum, to be held on November 2 and 3. This year’s theme is the contribution of science, technology and innovation to the promotion of human rights, including in the context of post-pandemic.
UN Watch hast launched a Petition to UN Secretary General Antònio Guterres. You can sign here.
The Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Alexandra Xanthaki, has published a series of 14 Questions & Answers, following an interaction with the International Olympic Committee after the recommendation of the IOC Executive Board, on 28 February 2022, to exclude all Russian and Belarusian athletes from sports events.
The concern of the Special Rapporteur on the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes includes a “wider concern of on-going unnecessary exclusions of Russian and Belarusian people from participating in cultural life. Artists too have been excluded from cultural events, festivals and other platforms based on their nationality and their artistic freedom tightened.”
The Q&As can be downloaded here and are published on the website of the mandate.
In her thematic report the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Alexandra Xanthaki, underlines the rights of migrants to have access to and effectively participate in all aspects of cultural lives, both of the host State and their own cultures: “Migration enables individuals, both migrants and the host population, to reevaluate their cultural frameworks and be positively influenced by other ideas, values and practices. In that process, States must be aware of the vulnerabilities of migrants and take measures to enable them to enjoy their cultural rights, irrespective of their status.”
The report has been introduced in February 2023 and is now available in all 5 UN languages.
A Moscow court has ruled on Friday, May 5th, that both artists must remain in custody until at least 4 July. Both are accused of “justifying terrorism” in their play “Finist, the Brave Falcon”, an ironic play about Russian women recruited by the Islamic State that Berkovich’s independent theater company, SOSO Daughters, produced. “Finist” premiered in 2020 and was awarded Best Text at the most important Russian theatre festival Golden Mask 2022. Authorities also detained the company’s director, Alexander Andriyevich. The court thus complied with a request by investigators, as the state agency Tass reported. Authorities raided the homes of Berkovich’s mother Jelena Efross and her 88-year-old grandmother, the writer Nina Katerli in St. Petersburg the same day.
The 38-year-old Berkovich is one of the few outstanding theatre directors of her generation who did not go into exile after 24 February 2022 and, despite everything, tried to continue making contemporary theatre in the warring homeland. She studied directing under Kirill Serebrennikov at the Moscow Art Theater School and writes poetry. Berkovich is also known as a translator and librettist.
The author of “Finist, the Brave Falcon”, Svetlana Petriychuk, studied international journalism and filmmaking in Los Angeles and theater in Moscow under the renowned directors Kama Ginkas and Mikhail Ugarov. Her socially critical plays regularly appear on the shortlists of drama contests and festivals and on the playbills of leading theatres in Russia.
The charge is punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Novaya Gazeta published a petition (Google Docs, Russian) supporting the two women and calling for their immediate release. The petition has already more than 12,000 signatures.
Sources: Meduza, Novaya Gazeta Europe, The Moscow Times,
As confirmed by relatives and witnesses, during the raids and mass arrests in the Diyarbakir region on April 25, the following 6 members of the City Theatre of Diyarbakir (Amend Municipal Theatre) were arrested:
– Yavuz Akkuzu
– Elvan Köçer Yıldırım
– Özcan Ateş
– Sena Özbey
– Şahperi Alphan Bayhan
– Sadettin Inal
On 25 April, 19 days before the parliamentary and presidential elections in Turkey, there have been numerous arrests of Kurds in the morning hours. Police arrested more than 100 persons, including journalists, politicians, lawyers, artists and activists in 21 cities and 19 provinces. The raids, which were carried out as part of an investigation based in Diyarbakır, mainly targeted pro-Kurdish organisations.
The Amed Municipal Theatre, Dicle Culture and Art Association, Mezopotamya Culture and Art Association and other theatre institutions were raided and many actors were arrested.
In February, more than 50,000 people died in Diyarbakır in the worst earthquake disaster in recent Turkish history, thousands are missing and hundreds of thousands have been left homeless.
Sources: Bianet.org, Tyatro Yasasin (via Twitter), Frankfurter Rundschau