Nhimbe partners PEN, Freemuse

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AS parts of its critical element of organisational advocacy strategy, Nhimbe Trust would like to increase artists’ knowledge and awareness of their rights so that they are able to engage with the Bill of Rights and constitutional/legal processes.

Within the confines of this awareness initiative, Nhimbe Trust has partnered Freemuse, a Denmark based organisation for the production and publishing of a policy paper that will define artistic freedom and identify fundamental rights that are integral to the enjoyment of artistic freedoms in Zimbabwe.

Nhimbe Trust executive director Josh Nyapimbi said the policy paper will explain the meaning and scope of artistic freedom in the context of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe; apply the concept of leverage rights to identify and analyse fundamental rights in the Bill of Rights which are critical to the enjoyment of artistic freedom in Zimbabwe; identify and summarise primary legislation which Nhimbe Trust and Freemuse will focus on during the legislative realignment process; provide an ‘Artistic Freedom Leverage Rights Bill Tracker’ which is a table reflecting the status in the legislative realignment process, of the relevant laws which affect artistic freedom. The policy paper is due for publication in the first half of 2020.”

Nhimbe Trust has also launched a Digital Resilience program that is designed to explore the opportunities, risks and challenges of the digital environment, within the context of cultural economies. “In partnership with PEN International and Artists at Risk Connection, a Digital Resilience internship has been introduced, with the first intern, Debra Nhokwara, having joined Nhimbe Trust at the beginning of January.”

Having worked with Transparency International, Debra brings with her a diverse multi-sectoral approach to digital culture which will enhance Nhimbe’s Digital Resilience Programming.

Nyapimbi said another initiative has been Nhimbe Trust’s Artistic Freedom Election Monitoring (AFEM), an action that establishes mechanisms to monitor artistic and creative freedoms as a fundamental human right guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as other international documents and national constitutions, in the lead up to elections in 18 African countries over the course of 2020.

“The overall objective of the action is ‘to alleviate threats to participatory democracy in Africa resulting from the imposition, during election processes, of restrictions and constraints on the right to freedom of artistic expression and creativity as a fundamental human right.’

“The first phase of the project, which will run from January to February 2020, aims to formulate and publish a ‘Cultural Governance Research Paper on Promoting the Integrity of Cultural Policies in Electoral Processes.’

“The purpose of this research is to explore what free, fair and credible elections mean within the context of cultural policies and artistic freedoms/expressions. Key findings from this research will inform the development of the inaugural Pan African Artistic Freedom Election Monitoring Index; an indicative framework of early warning signs to any evidence of constraints and violations to artistic freedom during electoral processes in Africa and; draft AU Electoral Model Law and advocacy strategy on artistic freedom,” said Nyapimbi.

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