Based on the conviction that artists are the keen awareness of mankind, and that their protection is a collective responsibility requiring the support of all, state, government and civilian authorities, the Carthage Declaration on the Protection of Artists in Vulnerable Situations, which is the result of an initiative of the Carthage Theatre Festival, calls for the protection of artists, who are persecuted, in vulnerable, insecure, precarious and perilous situations, in risk- prone-areas and in armed conflicts zones, and fortaking appropriate measures and developing dedicated mechanisms, to ensure this protection, without any discrimination due to race, nationality, religion or political opinions.
The launch of this Declaration has become ever so urgent, due to the fact that artists are becoming increasingly subject to unbearable acts affecting both their physical and moral integrity (intimidation, harassment acts, and various forms of violence, hostage taking and barbaric acts) and forcing many of them to go into exile, thus depriving them from enjoying the right to create and practice their profession freely.
The text of the Declaration refers to major international conventions, treaties and covenants relating to human rights in general, including the right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community and the right to protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any literary or artistic production of which the afore-mentioned artists are the the authors, as well as international resolutions on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
The UNESCO recommendations calling on States to ensure that artists benefit from the rights and protection under international and national law on human rights and those guaranteed by various mechanisms of social protection of artists are also cited.
To help achieve these objectives, the Declaration calls for taking a set of practical measures such as: Providing persecuted artists facing vulnerable and precarious situations and in risky areas, including conflict areas, with a special international status allowing for the free practice of their profession, the setting up of an “artist-creator” visa, intended to ease the procedures required by artists to take part in joint artistic projects, to participate in international cultural events, disseminate their individual works, and to return to their respective countries, without intimidation, retaliation or travel ban.
The Declaration also calls for seeking assistance of international institutions, including UNESCO, in order to provide artists with travel documents, inspired by diplomatic and consular passports and travel documents issued to refugees and stateless persons, and for setting up a fund aimed at assisting artists, in the form of grants and subsidies for creation, to implement measures facilitating the professional integration of artists, including the granting of a temporary residence permit in host countries, along with other assistances to help them practice their profession, for extending the protection provided to the artists to their relatives and all exposed people who take their defense in their respective countries, for taking urgent measures to defend the artists and prosecuting authors of aggressions perpetrated against them at both national and international levels and finally for raising awareness of world public opinion to the situation of artists and forming a solidarity network to support them.
HERE you can download the text of the Declaration