The Swedish Foundation for Human Rights (SFHR), Arterial Network and Mimeta join forces to put Human Rights issues higher on the global arts- and culture agenda. Training sessions in Human Rights will be provided for the African sector in 2014 – supported by the Swedish Postcode Lottery
The co-operation is motivated by a common interest in supporting processes that give artists and organizers an opportunity both to influence their legal framework conditions and to have protection against abuse, detention and censorship.
— In the longer run such improvements will give people their right to access the arts, according to Cato Litangen, head of Mimeta. Artists often raise issues of injustice and violence on human rights and their stories often grab your attention and emotions, and may provoke massive resistance or social protest. The strange part is that the messenger herself rarely is aware of the protection she has in human rights law continues Litangen.
Peter Rorvik, who is Secretary General of African based Arterial Network, points to the need for local advocacy on artistic rights: — While global campaigning can have valuable effect, it is on national and local levels that appropriate pressure to hold authorities accountable for human rights transgressions is crucial. Through the Artwatch Africa initiative, we will constitute knowledge and raise awareness about the state of freedom of expression for artists on the African continent in particular. Organisational competence and understanding of human rights positions in the varied social and political contexts across Africa will empower artists and arts organisations to address the challenges in this sector – that is the starting point, according to Rorvik.
Jenny Jansson Pearce, Secretary General at the Swedish Foundation for Human Rights - From experience we know that the most effective results are reached when people from different sectors work together to promote a common cause - this is one of the reasons why we are so excited about this project. It is rare for the human rights and the culture sector to join forces like this and we believe this will benefit both our worlds. We also see this as a great opportunity to promote cultural rights as human rights within the African regional human rights system, an important policy body in the region.