Kabul Photo Biennale “Rebirth” | IDP theatre group performance, Ikhtiaruddin Fort, Herat ©Amin Noruzi

Thematic Area 1: The Right to Culture 

Cultural rights are the human rights to the enjoyment of culture and its components in conditions of equality, human dignity and non-discrimination. The Right to Culture thematic area will strive to put forward the right of all Afghans to access culture, something that has been largely sidelined in the past decades.

 

In a context of post-war recovery, the emphasis on people’s right to culture can play a significant role in promoting a positive public discourse, as well as raising the awareness of the broader and critical goals of reconciliation and peace building.

The Right to Culture will translate into social and cultural integration for which access to the means of information exchange and cultural expression must be fostered. This means supporting access to libraries, to community or cultural centers, to workshops, to creative hubs.

Modern art, artists’ networks, media and cultural industries and cultural tourism can prove powerful accelerators for economic growth and job creation.  UNESCO will support initiatives and organizations that contribute to societal and cultural development. Enabling and involving full-time authors and artists in cash-for-work-programs, supporting culture-related awards and industries, nurturing young promising artists, promoting mobile libraries, supporting local cultural initiatives and underwriting participation in international arts events, are just some of the activities that could come under the umbrella of this thematic area.

Linkage with the Citizens’ Charter National Priority Program (See ANPDF, Chapter 5.6 – Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion) will be sought to introduce the delivery of cultural components at the community level. Another link with government programs will be to support the integration of Internally Displaced People (IDPs), returnees and refugees through cultural activities, with a special emphasis on gender inclusive activities for youth. In 2017, UNESCO has initiated cultural projects for IDP settlements in Herat, in an attempt to contribute to the social integration of the IDPs and to bolster their human rights. See a short documentary, “Home: A Story of Displacement” here: https://youtu.be/fcOmd8dFtP4

Through an “Invest in Culture” initiative, UNESCO will encourage partnerships with the private sector in order to create a web of support for the culture sector in Afghanistan through sponsorships and donations.  To boost private sector support for culture, UNESCO will advocate for the introduction of a favorable tax arrangements for private investment in the culture sector. (See Thematic Area 4: Legal Framework and Policy).

The NPCE will support Afghanistan in national and international cultural events and festivals to ensure that the country’s interests are promoted and protected, and its reputation enhanced. The long-term goal here is to support the Government of Afghanistan efforts in the rebranding of “Brand Afghanistan.”

Examples of past activities include the 2015 first Kabul Photo Biennale under the theme, The Afghanistan We are Proud of, 2017 second Kabul Photo Biennale under the theme, Rebirth(See the official Kabul Photo Biennale webpate: https://www.kabulphotobiennale.org/), and various exhibitions organized by UNESCO.

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