ART UNDER THREAT IN 2016: FOREWORD
Populists and nationalists, who often portray human rights as a limitation on what they claim is the will of the majority, are on the rise globally. As this phenomenon rises, artists continue to play an important role in expressing alternative visions for society. But as our Art under Threat in 2016 report shows – this year with a record 1,028 registered cases – artists also continue to be silenced all over the world.
In 2016, artists were censored, tortured, jailed and even killed for their creative expressions. Claims of defending “traditional values” or “the interest of the state” were, in many cases, driving arguments behind the violations.
As you will see in this report, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, China and Russia top the list of serious violators. Documenting violations in these and other countries has never been easy. Further, as Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, pointed out in 2016, an increasing number of states are becoming more hostile to official UN mechanisms, as well as independent civil society groups, when they wish to enter a country or otherwise document and work to improve the human rights situation.
At Freemuse we experience this in our daily work. However, “even where the powerful might seek to deflect our work and evade our scrutiny, we and other human rights actors will always continue to seek the truth and stand up for the rights of all people”, as Al Hussein told member states of the UN Human Rights Council.
With populist and nationalist leaders questioning the universality of human rights, now is the time to document violations and use those facts to defend and amplify threatened artistic voices. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our members, network partners, stringers and, not least, our very persistent donors for all their support.
And finally, a heartfelt thank you to all the courageous artists around the world who continue to make art.
TO EXPLORE OTHER AREAS OF THE ART UNDER THREAT IN 2016 REPORT CLICK ON THE SECTIONS BELOW:
THE ART UNDER THREAT IN 2016
FULL REPORT HERE