Unesco wants Kelantan to lift ban on Mak Yong

Source: FMT News

UN Special Rapporteur Karima Bennoune says ‘Mak Yong’ dance should be celebrated and appreciated as it is among the oldest performing arts in the world. Image taken from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Kelantan government has been urged to lift its ban on public performances of the “Mak Yong” dance and other traditional artistic Malay art forms.

The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Karima Bennoune, said these cultures with rich tradition should instead be celebrated and appreciated as they were among the oldest performing arts in the world.

She said measures should also be taken to provide better understanding and explanation of the meaning of these practices and their long history in Malaysia, to overcome prejudicial views about them.

“Kelantan has a rich artistic tradition and the restrictions of other traditional art forms like wayang kulit, main puteri and dikir barat must also be lifted.

“Everybody should be able to enjoy it and people must learn to value and appreciate native cultures that have been around for centuries. Read more

Karima Bennoune: Cultural heritage is a human rights issue

Source: UNESCO

professor of international law at the University of California–Davis School of Law. She was appointed UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights in October 2015.

Karima Bennoune is a professor of international law at the University of California–Davis School of Law. She was appointed UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights in October 2015.

“Cultural heritage is significant in the present, both as a message from the past and as a pathway to the future. Viewed from a human rights perspective, it is important not only in itself, but also in relation to its human dimension,” Karima Bennoune says. As UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, she decided to address the intentional destruction of cultural heritage as an urgent priority. Her first thematic report to the UN General Assembly, which she presents to the United Nations General Assembly, on 27 October 2016, is devoted to that issue.

The report’s primary message is that cultural heritage is a human rights issue to which we must take a human rights approach. Beyond safeguarding an object or a manifestation in itself, a human rights approach obliges one to take into account the rights of individuals and populations in relation to them. It is impossible to separate a people’s cultural heritage from the people itself and their rights.

This is certainly the way it is often experienced by local populations. Haider Oraibi, the Director of the National Museum of Iraq, was reported to have wept after learning of Daesh destruction of Iraq’s relics, remarking, “They’re just statues, [b]ut for us, they’re living things. We came from them, we are part of them. That is our culture and our belief.” When extremists attacked Mosul’s museum, he was quoted as saying, “it was like someone wanted to kill you, like a murder.” One can hear in these words how much pain and suffering is caused by such destructions and how in fact they represent an assault on human dignity and human rights. Read more