United Nations member states urge Iran to improve human rights

Eighty-five United Nations (UN) member states voted on 15 November 2016 calling upon Iranian authorities to take real steps in correcting its human rights record. The resolution builds upon last year’s adopted resolution where Iran accepted 130 recommendations made to its human rights record and practices stemming from the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process […]

Deeyah Khan to be appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

Award-winning film director and activist Deeyah Khan will be appointed UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador on artistic freedom on 21 November 2016 by UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova at the organisation’s headquarters in Paris. Welcoming the appointment, Freemuse Executive Director Ole Reitov said: We have worked with Deeyah for many years and jointly addressed the importance of […]

Candidates to the UN Human Rights Council are grave violators of artistic expression

Copenhagen 27 October 2016 | Freemuse is deeply concerned about the candidacies of Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China and Cuba, for seats in the UN Human Rights Council. These countries are leading the league of countries violating freedom of artistic expression and cannot be considered qualified to protect human rights in the Human Rights Council. “The […]

Freemuse report on the effects of terror on arts and culture

Terrorism has affected and damaged cultural industries and artistic freedom on several continents over the past 20 years. However, few studies have described the short- as well as long-term effects of this terror on arts and culture. Freemuse has submitted a 12-page report, “Challenges and effects of terror on arts and culture” to United Nations Office of […]

UN Special Rapporteur releases report on intentional destruction of cultural heritage

In her latest report, UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights Karima Bennoune states that the intentional destruction of cultural heritage is a human rights issue and calls for national and international mechanisms to prevent such destruction, hold those accountable who have caused the destruction and support and protect those who defend cultural […]

UN: “Artistic expression is not a crime” – Special Rapporteurs urge the Iranian government to free jailed artists

On 24 June 2016 the two United Nations Special Rapporteurs on cultural rights, Karima Bennoune, and freedom of expression, David Kaye, issued a statement calling on Iranian authorities to free musicians Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi, and filmmaker Hossein Rajabian. The statement was also endorsed by the Special Rapporteurs on Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, and torture Mr. […]

Nordic Ministers of Culture declare support for artistic freedom

“Artistic and creative expressions, as an integral part of the human right to freedom of expressions, is critical both to the development of cultures and to the functioning of democratic societies,” said a declaration by the Nordic Ministers of Culture adopted at a seminar on 2 May 2016 during the World Press Freedom Days in Helsinki. […]

UN Special Rapporteur outlines focus of mandate on cultural rights

Karima Bennoune, the new UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, in her preliminary report to the UN Human Rights Council stresses the importance of defending cultural rights including artistic freedom. “Many people still think of cultural rights as a luxury. The Special Rapporteur hopes to continue demonstrating that cultural rights are key […]

Saudi Arabia: Growing clamp down on freedom of expression

The following is a news release from the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commisioner: UN rights expert raises alarm over Saudi Arabia’s growing clamp down on freedom of expression GENEVA (16 December 2015) – United Nations human rights expert David Kaye today expressed grave concern at the growing repression of freedom of […]

Artsfreedom newsletter: UNESCO addresses challenges to artistic freedom

News and knowledge about artistic freedom of expression | View this email in your browser UNESCO addresses challenges to artistic freedom A decade has passed since the adoption of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of Diversity of Cultural Expressions. In the words of one of the prime “mothers” of the convention, Sheila Copps, […]

UNESCO report: Visas and logistics vex artists

A UNESCO analytic report on the status of the artist, published in September 2015, focuses on four key areas that are affecting artists’ social and economic situations today: digital technologies and the Internet, artist mobility, social protections, and freedom of artistic expression. As the world continues to change with its advances in technology and the […]

UNESCO focus on artistic freedom

Artistic freedom will be in focus at two UNESCO events in Paris in November and December 2015. Freemuse Director Ole Reitov has been invited to take part in both events as a panelist and expert. On Friday 13 November 2015, Denmark, Norway and Sweden together with UNESCO’s Secretariat will organise a discussion panel on efforts […]

United Nations appoints new cultural rights rapporteur

Karima Bennoune is the new UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights. The new Special Rapporteur succeeds Ms Farida Shaheed, who strongly addressed issues of artistic freedom during her mandate period. Karima Bennoune is a professor of international law at the University of California, Davis School of Law. She grew up in Algeria […]

UN: Right to artistic freedom of expression reaffirmed

The universal right to artistic freedom of expression was reaffirmed at the United Nations Human Rights Council on 18 September 2015. Those who suppress artistic expression fear its transformative effect. This was one of the messages delivered when 53 states at the 30th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on 18 September 2015 […]

USA raises the question about artistic freedom of expression in UN

“The United States would like to discuss the rights of freedom of opinion and expression, ‎particularly focusing on artistic expression and creativity,” said the American Ambassador Keith Harper in a statement at the 28th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. He continued: “Artistic expression and creativity as a form of freedom of expression is […]

Suppression of artsfreedom in Middle East and North Africa discussed in UN

The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies in conjunction with Freemuse and the Norwegian Foreign Ministry organised a discussion panel on Friday 13 March 2015 on the sidelines of the 28th Human Rights Council session in Geneva, discussing several forms of suppression of artistic freedoms in the Middle East and North Africa. The panel, the […]

UN Special Rapporteur joins artists and Freemuse in Geneva

The UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Ms Farida Shaheed, will join a meeting entitled ‘Suppression of artistic expression in MENA region’ on Friday 13 March 2015 at the UN headquarters in Geneva. Organised by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and Freemuse, the meeting will feature two artists: Sulafa Hijazi, […]

Iraq: UNESCO alarmed over mass destruction of books in Mosul

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova expresses alarm over reports of the massive destruction of books in the museums, libraries and universities of Mosul in Iraq. According to numerous media reports, thousands of books on philosophy, law, science and poetry have been deliberately burned over the past several weeks. If confirmed, this would be one of the […]

Turkey: Government reported to the UN Council on Human Rights

Artists, activists and journalists respond to Turkey’s presentation to the UN Council on Human Rights Universal Periodic Review   On 27 January 2015, Bülent Arinç, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, delivered a report on the state of human rights in Turkey to the United Nations Council on Human Rights. Arinç, accompanied by a delegation of […]

Freemuse co-hosts UN Universal Periodic Review session on Turkey

Freemuse and several Turkish partners are hosting a joint event in Istanbul, Turkey, on 27 January 2015 for artists and freedom of expression activists and media. The participants will watch a live web-cast from the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva as it reviews the human rights situation in Turkey. On 27 January 2015, […]

Art versus advertising: United Nations recommends marketing regulation

“States should protect people from undue levels of commercial advertising and marketing while increasing the space for not-for-profit expressions,” says new report from the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed. “What is the space given to art compared to advertising?,” asks Ms Shaheed. In her report to the UN […]

Freemuse to UN: Belarus should explain censorship

In a Universal Periodic Review submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Freemuse argues that Belarus is failing to abide by its international commitments to fully protect the fundamental artistic freedoms of its citizens. “Belarus should take active steps publicly to document and explain its censorship policy – not least its communications with media […]

US fails to protect the human right to read, says report

In a submission to the United Nations, Freemuse and NCAC document violations of freedom of information and expression in public schools, jails, and prisons in the USA. In a new report to the United Nations assessing the United States’ compliance with its human rights obligations, Freemuse and USA-based NCAC, the National Coalition Against Censorship, argue […]

Turkey abuse laws to punish artists challenging authorities

Law suits, arrests, threats and banning orders, these are all dangers that artists in Turkey who touch on sensitive issues face today. This is pointed out by the UPR submission that Freemuse, Siyah Bant and the Initiative for Freedom of Expression has forwarded to the UN. The Turkish Anti Terror Law (TMK) continues to be […]

UN Rapporteur receives complaints on violations of artistic and cultural rights

The UN special rapporteur in the field of culture has developed a new set of guidelines for individuals and groups that have had their cultural and artistic rights to freedom of expression violated. The information is available in three languages and according the guidelines the Special Rapporteur can act in two ways: • Urgent appeals […]

Artists are truth tellers risking their lives for us

Our consideration of the human rights in any country should include the freedom of artists to express their heart, writes Deeyah Khan – a critically acclaimed music producer, composer and an Emmy award-winning documentary film director – in this statement she submitted to the United Nations in March 2014. Video recording of Deeyah Khan’s speech […]

UN study on the impact of advertising and marketing on cultural rights

The United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed, is launching a new study on the impact of advertising and marketing practices on cultural rights. The study takes a close-up look at the effect of advertising and marketing practices on cultural diversity and human rights. According to a press release from the […]

Vietnam: UN call for greater freedom of expression

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on cultural rights Farida Shaheed says it’s time for the Vietnamese government to ensure better freedom of expression in order to prevent artists from being arbitrarily punished, harassed or detained. The UN human rights expert has just returned from a fact-finding visit to Vietnam where she met with government officials and […]

UN report on artistic freedom launched at EU Parliament

Members of the European Parliament will join a lunchtime presentation of the UN Report ‘The Right to Freedom of Artistic Expression and Creativity’ at the European Parliament in Brussels on 2 October 2013. The report will be presented by its author, Mme Farida Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights, who was […]

Freemuse Award to be presented in UN building in Geneva

Manny Ansar, festival director and co-founder of Mali’s world famous ‘Festival au Désert’, will receive the Freemuse Award on Monday 3 June 2013 at the Geneva United Nations headquarters in Switzerland. The award ceremony will take place in connection with a UN session on the right to freedom of artistic expression and creativity featuring artists […]

UN report on the right to artistic expression and creation

The 25-page report is now available in all UN languages. “This is the first time such a comprehensive study is carried out. Unfortunately artists all over the world are trapped between political, religious, cultural and economic interests,” said Programme Manager Ole Reitov, who has worked as a consultant to the UN office during the preparation […]

UN: Global study on the right to artistic freedom

The United Nations special rapporteur in the field of cultural rights has sent a questionnaire to all member states asking them to report on legislations and practices related to artistic freedom and censorship. Freemuse’s Programme Manager has been attached as a consultant for the world organization’s upcoming study and report on conditions and right to […]



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