On the occasion of the World Summit on Arts & Culture, UNESCO published a report calling on States to enhance the protection of artists and culture professionals in emergency context. It recommends new monitoring and emergency assistance policies for artists at risk. UNESCO also announced a new investment of US$1 million to finance projects supporting artistic freedom in over 25 countries.
The new UNESCO publication Defending Creative Voices highlights that emergency situations – as armed conflict, unstable political contexts and natural disasters – exacerbate these pre-existing vulnerabilities. Artists face multiple threats, as online and offline harassment, brutal loss of income, legal prosecution, violence, censorship, silencing – and often lack minimal safety nets due to the precarious legal status.
The report recommends that the international community develop tailored assistance to protect and promote artistic freedom in emergency context, built on UNESCO’s experience in protecting artists during conflicts – most recently in Iraq, Ukraine, and Yemen. It could also capitalize on best practices concerning press freedom for which a global action plan has been implemented by the Organization for more than ten years.
The report suggests in particular:
Recent cases have demonstrated the importance of emergency practical measures such as trainings on artistic freedom, temporary art residencies, temporary financial assistance for culture professionals, expedited issuance of visas and prioritization of artists within evacuation and resettlement programs with specific attention to women creators.
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