The new UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Mr David Kaye, has invited Freemuse Executive Director Ole Reitov to join an international expert consultation in London.
In the invitation the Special Rapporteur stresses “There is an urgent need to map out a strategy to revive the public’s attention to freedom of expression and to invigorate national and international efforts to support policy promoting and protecting freedom of expression.”
Mr Kaye will “convene a meeting of leading experts and advocates from around the world to discuss these issues.”
Freemuse is the only organisation representing artists at the expert consultation.
“It is very promising that Mr Kaye has taken an interest in the role artists’ play as human rights defenders and opinion makers. It is also an honour for Freemuse to join this consultation,” said Mr Reitov.
Six Universal Periodic Reviews
Freemuse has gradually stepped up activities in regards to United Nations. During the past year Freemuse has submitted five Universal Periodic Reviews on violations of artistic freedom in Turkey, Iran, Belarus, Egypt and USA.
The UPR adressing violations in Turkey will be presented at various meetings in Geneva this week on behalf of Freemuse by Ms Sara Whyatt and Freemuse partner Siyah Bant, and in collaboration with partners in Beirut, Freemuse is preparing a UPR on censorship of the arts in Lebanon.
Protecting vulnerable groups
Among the issues to be addressed at the expert meeting is the protection and promotion of the right to freedom of expression of members of vulnerable groups:
“What are the main obstacles to expression by members of vulnerable groups? What can and must be done to ensure their voices are heard? What sorts of measures are being applied to undermine the rights of expression of individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity? What obstacles do civil society organizations face in advocating on behalf of vulnerable groups? What restrictions are applied against artists, and how might the mandate confront such restrictions? What is the nature of contemporary attacks on academic freedom? What tools are being used to undermine freedom of expression? What are the ways in which criminal defamation, lèse majesté, and blasphemy laws (among other tools) are used to undermine legitimate expression?”
Excerpt from the expert meeting agenda
David Kaye was appointed as UN Special Rapporteur in August 2014.
» Freemuse’s Universal Periodic Reviews
The special rapporteur’s initial statement to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly provides an overview on the main issues to be addressed by his mandate over the next years.