AIS and the United Nations


In her 2021 report to the Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur focused on the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on cultures and cultural rights and the potential global cultural catastrophe it represents, with severe, long-lasting consequences for cultural rights and other human rights.

The AIS made a submission to this report and were invited to observe the opening of the 46th UN General Assembly and to take part in a meeting regarding this report.

The AIS’s question and answer from,and to the UN Special rapporteur

Question from the AIS:
Many references to cultural rights are to be found in provisions and instruments relating to minorities. The non-discrimination principle, enshrined in a large number of international legal instruments, constitutes an important legal basis for the mandate. The Independent expert noted that it is generally agreed that the enjoyment of rights and freedoms on an equal footing "does not mean identical treatment in every instance", which enables the accommodation required to respect and facilitate the expression of various cultural identities.
While states are given a degree of “wiggle room” in interpreting these international legal instruments, the fact that the majority of financial aid during the pandemic by the UK government has been based on fixed premises, which for a travelling cultural minority such as travelling Showmen does not respect and facilitate the expression of our cultural identity.

Would the Special Rapporteur agree that this goes against the non-discrimination principle in regards to the duties of the UK Government in upholding their international legal obligations with regards to protecting cultural minorities of the UK?

Answer from the UN:
In regard to the important question about discrimination, the report calls for inclusion audits of all pandemic measures and of digital cultural offerings inter alia. Para 58: . "Essential human rights commitments to non-discrimination and inclusion of diverse voices must be maintained even in the face of the economic crises associated with the pandemic."

You can read our submission here. (Third entry under Civil Society Organisations)