World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

States Must Prevent COVID-19 Cultural Catastrophe: UN Expert

GENEVA (3 March 2021) – A UN expert today warned that COVID-19 may lead to a global “cultural catastrophe” with severe, long-lasting consequences for human rights if urgent measures, such as establishing a global cultural fund, are not implemented.

Karima Bennoune, UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, said in a report to the Human Rights Council that culture sectors have been among those hit hardest by the pandemic crisis.

“The cultural rights commitments of states under international law require them to take action so as to avoid catastrophe but also to lead to cultural renewal as an essential component of any efforts to build back better,” Bennoune said.

Arts workers and cultural practitioners are among those most affected by pandemic-related unemployment crises worldwide. An entire generation of young artists may be forced to turn elsewhere for jobs, diminishing cultural life for years to come, the expert said.

“This is not the time for cuts in culture funding but for increases,” the Special Rapporteur said. “Culture and arts funding should be integrated into all COVID-19 relief and stimulus packages, with the specific nature of cultural and artistic work accounted for. Additionally, adequate, direct support for cultural workers is critical now, including full consideration of vulnerable sectors such as young artists. The creation of a global culture fund to save the cultural life of humanity should be considered.”

Bennoune said the pandemic has had a grave impact on women’s participation in cultural life and urged that responses to the current crisis must fully consider the cultural rights of women.

The expert also expressed concern that some governments had exploited emergency powers to censor and criminalise artists with dissenting views. “I call for all those imprisoned for their artistic or cultural work to be immediately released, such as Ahmed Kabir Kishore, a Bangladeshi cartoonist, and Nigerian singer Yahaya Sharif Aminu.”

The Special Rapporteur cautioned that as important as digital cultural life may have become during the pandemic, it is a complement, not an alternative, to a shared public cultural life in physical public spaces. States must commit to the full renaissance of such a public cultural life. when that becomes safe again.

“Future generations must not lose the opportunity to go to the cinema, to the theatre or to browse in a bookshop. If they do, the pandemic will have not only killed and impoverished millions but have also destroyed some of the best tools we have for imagining a better future,” Bennoune said.

ENDS

The expert: Ms. Karima Bennoune was appointed as Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights by the United Nations Human Rights Council in October 2015. Ms Bennoune, grew up in Algeria and the United States. She is Professor of Law and Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall Research Scholar at the University of California-Davis School of Law where she teaches courses on human rights and international law. Her research and writing, including on cultural rights issues, has been widely published in leading journals and periodicals. Her mandate covers all countries and has been renewed by Human Rights Council resolution 37/12.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Awake At Night: S3-Episode 21: There Is Hope

Brazzaville visit to CSI Pilote du Diabete with Health workers at a local government clinic. 2018 - Photo: ©CSI/Dr. Soumya Swaminathan 'When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses More>>

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>

How Can We Vaccinate The World? Five Challenges Facing The UN-Backed COVAX Programme

The aim of the UN-backed COVAX scheme is to get two billion vaccine doses into the arms of around a quarter of the population of poorer countries by the end of 2021. What are the main challenges that need to be overcome, if this historic global effort ... More>>