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Arts Rights Justice Working Group

The EMC is an active member of the Arts Rights Justice Working Group (ARJ), coordinated by Culture Action Europe (CAE).

ARJ is an independent cross-sector working group (arts and human rights) set up in 2012 in the framework of the civil society dialogue platform Access to Culture. It 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 European Commission and the EU’s Member States, and to highlight new trends pertinent to their policy making. Now the focus is on 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
– artists’ and culture workers’ human rights are increasingly abused in EU and EU partner countries, when artists express their reactions to a world in which economic values have come to dominate over humanistic values.

For artists and organisations facing political threats the ARJ group has written a Public Toolkit in 2016 to provide guidelines on where to find help, how to react, etc. The toolkit is also a manual for arts associations, networks and cultural organisations, that wants to get involved in the protection of artistic freedom. 

This Companion works alongside the toolkit, providing cases that illustrate many of the issues and ideas raised in the Toolkit as an aid to readers and trainers. There are examples of artists and artworks that have been censored that show the many forms of censorship of the arts globally, with a special focus on Europe.

To learn more about ARJ, click here.

Download the ARJ Toolkit and its companion!

To download the ARJ Toolkit, click here.

To download the ARJ Toolkit Companion, click here.

If you know of infringements of freedom of artistic expression, culture workers’ human rights or the like and would like to bring these to the attention of the working group, please get in touch.