Freemuse requests UNESCO
to address violations in Iran
Musician Mehdi Rajabian and his brother, filmmaker Hossein Rajabian have been imprisoned in Iran since June. This month Freemuse submitted a complaint to UNESCO regarding the imprisonment and ill-treatment. NGOs can submit an individual complaint to the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations of UNESCO if they have a sufficient connection to the claimed violation. As part of our ongoing campaign in support of the artists, Freemuse has also forwarded complaints to the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights leading to a strong statement calling for the artists’ release.
Freemuse calls on the Chinese government to release musicians
On World Human Rights Day, 10 December 2016, Freemuse reminded China and the world that the Chinese government has held five Tibetan musicians collectively 5,236 days in prison; that is nearly 14 years and 4 months of collective prison time for practicing their human right to artistic freedom. Freemuse called for the immediate release of the imprisoned musicians, as well as other artists. We will continue to campaign for the release of Lo Lo, Shawo Tashi, Kelsang Yarphel, Gonpo Tenzin, Trinley Tsekar, and any other artists China imprisons for violating their human right to freely create art.
Freemuse in collaboration with Shirkat Gah, a Pakistani NGO, has conducted a workshop with artists, cultural organisers, lawyers and media in December with the purpose of qualifying a new study on artistic freedom of expression in Pakistan. The two organisations will prepare a joint report to the UN Human Rights Council under the so-called Universal Periodic Review process. A journalistic cum legal report will be published next spring. The project is funded by CKU, The Danish Center for Culture and Development.
Freemuse has received a grant of NOK 250,000 (approximately EUR 28,000) from the Norwegian foundation Fritt Ord for activities with a special focus on freedom of artistic expression for women artists, attacks on intangible artistic heritage and Music Freedom Day activities in 2017.
Ramy Essam, Emel Mathlouthi, Abazar Hamid, Mahsa Vahdat and Mashrou’ Leila are amongst the artists featured in the program ‘Dying for a Song’ broadcasted by BBC World Service on 2 and 4 January 2017. Director Rex Bloomstein talks to artists whose songs have led to their imprisonment, torture and to the continuing threat of violence. Artists who have been driven from their homelands. Artists who literally risk dying for a song.
Bloomstein and co-producer Brian King have consulted Freemuse during the preparation of the programme, which also features an interview with Freemuse Executive Director, Ole Reitov.
→ Listen: BBC World Service, Sunday Jan. 1 at 03:06 and 14:06 and Wednesday 4 at 09:06 and 23:06 GMT
Remember Music Freedom Day is coming up 3 March 2017
Music Freedom Day 2017 will put a particular focus on freedom of musical expression for women artists. Preparations are already in progress in Pakistan, Spain, Italy, Senegal, Norway and the US. Join us in making the day another memorable event.