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Speakers Shahidul Alam, Karima Bennoune, Julie Trebault, Natalia Koliada, and Helena Nassif
Artists are Human Rights Defenders: Launching ARC’s New Guide for Artists at Risk
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed some of the greatest threats to artistic freedom and cultural rights in recent memory. The virus itself has required retreat from many public spaces and the closures of many cultural institutions, leading to financial hardships for cultural practitioners. Meanwhile, authoritarian or nationalist governments exploit the health crisis to crack down on dissent, while other governments fail to take necessary strides to protect the health and livelihood of cultural actors. Throughout all this, massive social upheaval has proliferated from the USA to Belarus to Thailand and further, triggering ever more dangers for critical voices. Through their murals, songs, slogans, and more, artists and other cultural rights defenders––those human rights defenders who act in the defense of cultural rights––are often at the forefront of such movements and therefore tend to be some of the first to face subsequent backlash. Yet, artists and CRDs are consistently under-recognized in international norms of what constitutes a “human rights defender,” and therefore tend to receive less protection around the world.

In the wake of these realities, ARC has developed a practical guide for artists in distress, drawing upon our programmatic knowledge and the expertise of our vast network of partners to help artists navigate and overcome risks and better understand their work within the framework of human rights defense.

Join guests UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights Karima Bennoune, photojournalist Shahidul Alam, director of Belarus Free Theater Natalia Koliada, and director of Al Mawred al Thaqafy Helena Nassif as we celebrate the launch of the guide through a dynamic panel discussion. The conversation will draw upon the 2020 report of the Special Rapporteur and explore how art can be levied in the fight for human rights and how artists can be better protected against human rights violations.

Feb 3, 2021 10:00 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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