Arts Rights Justice Working Group

Arts Rights Justice Working Group

February 27, 2015, 11:07 pm

The Arts Rights Justice EU Working Group is an independent 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 are representing around 30 EU and international associations, NGOs and networks from arts, free speech and human rights sectors. Since 2014, ARJ is working under the framework of Culture Action Europe, and is currently powered by CAE, and the volunteering work of its members and pro-bono experts.

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

Now, together with Culture Action Europe, the focus is to strengthen 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. ARJ also has a strong history of collaborating with the UN Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights, supporting and feeding various reports and review processes.

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

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 pressed, in the EU or in countries with which the EU has special relations;
  • artistic freedom is not written into the law of most European countries while public and private force that aim at stifling free expression are on the rise, and that
  • artists’ and culture workers’ human rights are increasingly abused in EU and EU partner countries, as artists respond to a world in which economic control and the paradigm of fear have come to dominate over humanistic values.


Please get in touch for inquiries, and questions, Lillian Fellmann,


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