“Okeil”: African governments should pay attention to the victims of defenders of culture and heritage
“Basha”: Protecting heritage, arts and culture legislations should be included in all African constitutions.
Based on the African Union theme for this year 2021, “Arts, Culture and Heritage: A Tool for Building the Africa We Want”, and coinciding with the anniversary of the Africa Day, Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights issued a study entitled “Culture, heritage and arts in Africa and its relationship with human rights.”
While the African continent celebrates “May 25” as the African Day that dates back to the year of the foundation of the Organization of African Unity IN 1963, and believing in the depth of the concept of African unity, and the importance of culture and heritage, Maat issued this study to shed light on the concept of art, and its impact on human rights, while focusing on its conceptual and legislative frameworks, its international and regional level as well as its role in development and achieving the desired goals of the 2030 Agenda.
The study monitored some examples related to human rights violations with regard to heritage, culture and arts in the African continent. The study concluded with a package of recommendations that African countries could adopt in the framework of achieving development, unity and African integration.
In this context, Ayman Okeil, president of Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights, stressed that heritage, arts and culture are fundamental pillars for promoting the human rights environment on the African continent. Okeil also recommends that African governments must pay attention to the victims of defenders of their heritage and the exercise of their cultural rights, including the rights of indigenous peoples, racial and ethnic minorities, and other victims of the defense of heritage and culture.
For his part, Abdul Rahman Basha, Deputy Director at African Affairs and SDGs Unit at Maat for Peace, commended the great and growing interest regarding the role that arts, culture and heritage play as catalysts for social and economic development and integration in the African continent. "Basha" also recommended the necessity to include laws and legislations for the protection of tangible and intangible heritage in all constitutions of African countries.
Notably, Africa is among the issues of concern to Maat for Peace, Development and Human rights, being a member of the General Assembly for the Economic, Social & Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) of the Africa Union (AU). Moreover, Maat serves as an Observer in The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) and as a Northern African Coordinator in the major Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Africa of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA).