ACAR made a successfull presentation about tools and partners for artists rights, presenting the recent Freemuse Report on artistic freedom violations “Art under Threat” and the Artists Rights Justice Toolkit. The congress decided unanimously a resolution to support the initiative of Ole Reitov at the 2017 World Press Freedom Day to call the UNESCO, UN and parties to create an UN Plan of Action for the safety of artists and the safe promotion of art, according to the reaction scheme for journalists. The second resolution which ACAR brought to the congress was also fully adapted. It expresses the support of ITI with the Israeli theatre and performance artists in their protest against the exclusion of PRISONERS OF THE OCCUPATION from this year’s Acco Festival (see letter to ACAR for detailed information). For congress participants ITI Germany and ACAR organized also a seminar on the role of Civil Society Organisations for the implementation of the UNESCO convention on Cultural Diversity. “The Declining of Diversity” was conducted by Cornelia Dümcke, ITI’s representative at UNESCO Cultural Diversity IG Committee.
Thomas Irmer (Germany), journalist and theatre expert, will be the new coordinator for ACAR. Ann Mari Engel (ITI Sweden) remains as spokesperson. Thomas Engel (managing director of ITI Germany), ACAR coordinator from 2011-17, remains in ACAR for backup from the German ITI centre.
Resolution 1 (en, fr), Resolution 2 (en, fr), Presentation sheets Tools and Partners for Artists Rights
Invited by UNESCO for a keynote speech at the World Press Freedom Day event in Jakarta (1-4 May), the outgoing Freemuse co-founder and Executive Director Ole Reitov pointed out that while UNESCO drafted the UN Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, no such plan exists for artists, who work, create and communicate in very different ways.
“Journalists are articulate, well organized and their work for the protection of journalists has led to a number of international declarations and support programmes. This is not the case with artists,” Reitov explained. “Artists express themselves differently and in many countries they are poorly organized. There should be no distinction between the condemnation of attacks on journalists and artists.”
Thus, Freemuse calls for the current and forthcoming Director General of UNESCO to strongly condemn censorship, imprisonment and attacks on artists, and to draft a UN Plan of Action for the Safety of Artists and the Issue of Impunity.
Further Freemuse also calls on UNESCO to revamp its mechanism for filing human rights complaints needs to be strengthened, made more accessible and easy to use.
The ARJ Program was developed in cooperation with 30 international expert institutions and is initially intended to run from 2017 until 2019 with the support of the German Foreign Office and the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN). It will encompass an annual ACADEMY accompanied by an international CONFERENCE at the University of Hildesheim (Germany); a series of ARJ LABORATORIES with partners in different world regions; and an open access online library.
This year’s ARJ ACADEMY runs from August 24 – August 30, followed by the ARJ CONFERENCE August 30 – September 1 in Hildesheim (Germany). A call for particiaption an an application form is online. Deadline: May 15, 2017.
Source and further information: arts-rights-justice.de
In her second report to the 34th session Human Rights Council (27 February-24 March 2017) Karima Bennoune – the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights – explains this growing challenge must be faced with urgency, using a human rights approach and stressing the centrality of cultural rights in combating such threats.
Download the full report from the UN OHCHR site here (Word document, 23 pages)
Today an event titled “Time to end intentional destruction of cultural heritage: a human rights call to action” happened at the UN headquarters in New York. The UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights, Karima Bennoune, noted that Cultural heritage is not limited to tangible objects like buildings or ruins, but applies to intangible works that include works of artistic expression as well. Freemuse was was invited by the UN to briefly address the destruction of the living arts and has published yesterday the “Report on the effects of terror on arts and culture” with 10 recommendations to the UN and other international bodies:
- UN member states must pay stronger attention to violations on artistic freedom. Most UPR submissions focussing on freedom of expression are purely discussing media and neglect attacks on artistic freedom.
- The universal right to artistic freedom of expression reaffirmed at the United Nations Human Rights Council on 18 September 2015 should be supported by all UN member states.
- UN Special Rapporteurs and Treaty bodies should pay more attention to violations on artistic freedom.
- A special task force should analyse in-depth the nature, size and effects of terror on artistic freedom and the uses and abuses of terror legislations.
- International donor communities should establish more support programmes for artists and cultural industries victimized by terror.
- Support to organisations documenting and monitoring violations on artistic freedom should be established.
- The UN Human Rights Council should host a hearing on terror and artistic freedom.
- Inspired by the “UN Action Plan on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity”, UNESCO should develop an action plan in collaboration with artistic civil society groups to secure artists’ safety.
- UN Member States should, in accordance with their obligations under international conventions, take concrete measures to secure artists and audiences so they can express themselves freely and take part in cultural activities without fear of reprisal.
- UN Member States should guarantee that current and new anti-terror legislation is not being used to silence peaceful artistic expression.
The School of Communication at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL offers a nationally or internationally recognized media maker, screenwriter, playwright, theatre artist, and/or scholar with screenings, productions, distribution, and publications, via recognized venues/outlets, to be in residence as an artist-scholar at Northwestern University. Eligibility: Applicants must be facing or have recently fled from immediate, severe, and targeted threats to their lives and/or careers in their home countries or countries of residence. Appointment ideally starts January 1, 2017 for up to a year (although start date and length are negotiable).
Deadline for application: September 26, 2016, all details here (PDF)