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Humanists International joins 11 NGOs supporting Cultural Rights Defenders, at UN

  • post Type / General news
  • Date / 6 March 2020

At the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, Humanists International has joined 11 other civil society organisations to deliver a statement in support of the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights, Dr Karima Bennoune, and her most recent report on “cultural rights defenders.”

UN Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights, Karima Bennoune

Cultural rights defenders (CRDs) are human rights defenders who fight for the respect, protection, and fulfilment of cultural rights. Dr Bennoune dedicated her report for the 43rd session to developing this category of human rights defenders and made many recommendations on how the international community can better protect them.

Delivered by Humanists International’s Director of Advocacy, Elizabeth O’Casey, the statement spoke out in support of Bennoune’s report, noting that the work of CRDs is often used to defend human rights more broadly. It said, CRDs defend “more than 25 other human rights, including those of indigenous peoples, minorities, refugees and migrants, women and LGBTQI persons, and more.”

The statement observed, “CRDs are critical to a free and open society, but often face threats from both state and non-state actors for their work. However, CRDs are often ignored as a subcategory of human rights defenders and receive insufficient attention, support, and protection.”

The UN Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights defends the human right to science and culture, as expressed in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 27 states that: “(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits;” and “(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.”

The promotion of the human right to science and culture, is an advocacy priority for Humanists International.

The statement was drafted by PEN America and its Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) program and supported by NGOs including Artist Protection Fund, Cartoonists Rights Network International, Front Line Defenders, Minority Rights Group International, and UNESCO Chair “Cultural Policy for the Arts in Development”, University of Hildesheim and its Arts Rights Justice program.

Full statement can be found in full below (and in pdf format here):


ORAL STATEMENT

Pen International

UN Human Rights Council, 43rd Session (24th February – 20th March 2020)

Interactive dialogue on Cultural Rights

Speaker: Elizabeth O’Casey

 

The 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the beginning of the SDG Decade of Action is a unique opportunity to reiterate the importance of Cultural Rights Defenders and recognize their work as being in the same category as that of other human rights defenders.

On behalf of 12 civil society organizations, it is an honor to be present at the Human Rights Council to express support for the work of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights and commend her most recent report on Cultural Rights Defenders.

Cultural rights defenders (or CRDs) are human rights defenders who fight for the respect, protection, and fulfillment of cultural rights. Their work is often used to defend human rights more broadly. According to data from Front Line Defenders, CRDs defended more than 25 other human rights, including those of indigenous peoples, minorities, refugees and migrants, women and LGBTQI persons, and more. They are thus critical for making progress on the SDGs and vice versa.

President, CRDs are critical to a free and open society, but often face threats from both state and non-state actors for their work. However, CRDs are often ignored as a subcategory of human rights defenders and receive insufficient attention, support, and protection. The present report does not create a new category but rather calls for a more comprehensive approach to implementing the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

Therefore, we encourage the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights to continue to work for the recognition and protection of cultural rights defenders and call upon member states to fully implement the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations.

Thank you for your attention.

Signed,

Arterial Network
Artist Protection Fund
Bahá’í International Community
Cartoonists Rights Network International
Front Line Defenders
Humanists International
Minority Rights Group International
PEN America and its Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) program
PEN International
Penn Cultural Heritage Center
UNESCO Chair “Cultural Policy for the Arts in Development”, University of Hildesheim and its Arts Rights Justice program
Urgent Action Fund


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