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Arts, Rights and Justice


The Roberto Cimetta Fund is engaged in advocacy work to improve the representation of artists in civil society organisations, to work on putting human rights in the Arts and Culture and culture and arts in Human Rights. 


RCF is a member of Arts, Rights and Justice (ARJ). ARJ is a cross-sector working group (arts and human rights) set up in 2012 under the framework of the civil society dialogue platform, “Access to Culture”.


ARJ Members (see list below) representing 19 EU and international associations, NGOs and networks from arts, free speech and human rights sectors collaborated during three years. ARJ is now working under the framework of Culture Action Europe for the period 2014-2016.  


ARJ advocates for artistic freedom, human rights and social justice within the specific field of the arts sector. ARJ’s original mandate was to make policy recommendations to the EC and the EU’s Member States, and to highlight new trends pertinent to their policy making. 


The Fund is also a member (and Executive Committee member since 2013) of Culture Action Europe, a Brussels based European political platform for the arts and culture, and participates actively in this platform. 

Now, together with Culture Action Europe, a focus will be strengthening the capacity of the arts sector to know and defend their rights and the rights of individual artists, within the scope of international and EU-level treaties, EU accords with Third Countries and EU and Member States’ development activities.  

In short, ARJ aims to encourage greater understanding in public spheres of the interaction between culture and human rights in upholding democratic principles. We wish to improve compliance with human rights provisions relating to culture and freedom to speech.


ARJ is concerned that:
• participation in the arts, and freedom of artistic expression is an individual human right and a collective cultural right which, despite international treaties, is frequently denied or repressed, in the EU or in countries with which the EU has special relations and that
• artists’ and culture workers’ human rights are increasingly abused in EU and EU partner countries,  when the artist’s expression comes close to the work normally associated with political activists - a situation which occurs more and more frequently as artists express their reactions to a world in which economic values have come to dominate over humanistic values.


ARJ’s previous activities with RCF

From 20112-2013, ARJ held internal workshops to share knowledge of the relevant fields and thus raise our own capacities and identify actions to support.  We presented the work of the group to potential political allies and culminated our first two years by organising a presentation in the European Parliament by the UN Special Rapporteur for Cultural Rights, Farida Shaheed, of her UN Report, “The Right to Freedom of Creative Expression”.  ARJ presented its own demands, based on the Shaheed Report, to the 68 participants there, including EP, EC and other important delegates. For this event, ARJ gathered 11 two-minute videos by artists illustrating the importance of support for artists whose work speaks truth to power and upholds social justice, and they dangers they face. In addition ARJ has put together a (draft) series of documents (Toolkit) explaining the issues for networks or associations who wish to inform their members. 




ARJ members want to continue working together and have been able to team up with Culture Action Europe to continue our working group. Together with CAE we have defined an indicative action plan over three years. However, we need to come together as a group in order to decide a common vision and plan. Thus, it is necessary to hold a new constitutive meeting of those former ARJ members who wish to continue as well as welcoming new members to the working group.  

Membership 2014 - 2016

CAE members are of course warmly welcomed, but pertinent associations, networks or NGOs working in the arts, human rights and free speech sectors who are not CAE members may also join. ARJ is not limited to EU countries and already includes colleagues from Africa, Latin America and the USA. We wish to include NGOs working for arts and human rights in the neighbouring regions of EU (Arab world, Balkans, Caucasian region and further…)

What is required from ARJ members is a firm commitment to participation in ARJ’s activities, sharing of common tasks such as responding to calls for comment, presenting ARJ’s work in your own organisations, reading and taking note of group decisions.
Join us!

Why join: to improve your skills on this question, to team up with other members and share expertise, to raise your capacity to share the issues and actions with your own members, to take action to prevent violations and to raise awareness in the sectors, on political levels in your own territories and the EU, and with the general public. 

Contact for more information: Mary Ann DeVlieg, Group co-ordinator, ma@dialogart.org


ARJ Members 

 (expressed interest to continue as members and/or allies from 2014)


Arterial Network (http://www.arterialnetwork.org  network /culture / Africa)

Article 19 (http://www.article19.org  Freedom of Expression /NGO)

Circostrada/Hors les Murs (http://www.circostrada.org  circus / street arts network) 

EMC (http://www.emc-imc.org  European Music Council)

European Academy of Yuste Foundation (www.fundacionyuste.org    

European cultural and social foundation)

EWC (http://www.europeanwriterscouncil.eu  European Writers Council)

FERA (http://www.filmdirectors.eu  Federation of European Film Directors)

freeDimensional (http://freedimensional.org  international safe havens / Creative Resistance Fund)

IDEA (http://www.idea-org.net international theatre in education network)

ICORN (http://www.icorn.org International Cities of Refuge Network)

IETM (http://ietm.org    international contemporary performing arts network)

FEP (http://fep-fee.eu Federation of European Publishers)FIA (http://www.fia-actors.com International Federation of Actors)

Art for Social Transformation (http://artforsocialtransformation.blogspot.be network/culture /Latin America)

On the Move (http://on-the-move.org artists’ mobility resource / network)

ResArtis (http://www.resartis.org/en/ network / international artists’ residencies)

TransEuropeHalles (http://www.teh.net network / independent cultural centres)

UTE (http://www.union-theatres-europe.eu/home Union des théâtres de l’Europe) 

Center for Art and Politics, Amsterdam, www.centerforartandpolitics.org


ARJ allies

ITI (International Theatre Institute) Germany  : www.iti-germany.de

ITI Sweden / Swedish Theatre Union:  www.teaterunionen.se together representing the Action Committee on Artists’ Rights

Index on Censorship : www.indexoncensorship.org

Freemuse : www.freemuse.org

IFCCD (International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity): www.ficdc.org



Previous advocacy work of RCF 


RCF set up a consultative platform in May 2011 in Paris with 50 participants from 14 European, Arab and other Mediterranean countries and defined an action plan with 6 specific recommendations that was sent to members of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly, members of the European Parliament and the EU Commission executive teams.


In 2012, RCF helped the network On the move, to obtain “stories” from artists and cultural operators concerning visa refusals. A report was drafted by On the Move, with the precious advice of the General Directorates in charge of Culture and Home Affairs from the European Commission. This report will contribute to the preparation of the new “Visa Code” of the European Union.


As a member of the working group on the mobility of artists within the structured dialogue platform on cultural and creative industries, RCF co-organised a working session in June 23rd 2011 in Brussels to define recommendations of the platform on the theme in collaboration with the International Federation of Musicians, the European Office of Music and the network Pearle. In October 2013, RCF joined forces with other members of the Arts, Human Rights and Social Justice working group of the "Access to Culture structured dialogue platform" at the European Parliament in Brussels to promote the recent United Nations Report on the Freedom of Artistic Expression by Farid Shaheed.


The Fund is a member of the French network of the Anna Lindh Foundation and the Euromed Network France.




What do we do?

Presentation of RCF |  | Partners