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Launching the “ART LAB MAROC” Program on the Social Integration of PWD in Partnership with the CNDH

Ms. Amina Bouayach, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH), affirmed that the effectiveness of human rights, particularly the right to participate in cultural life and enjoying arts, as recognized internationally and constitutionally for persons with disabilities (PWD), depends on the thorough removal of all obstacles and barriers preventing their access to cultural programs and spaces.

This was part of her statement at the dialogue organized on Monday 18 December 2023 in Rabat, Morocco, on the occasion of the launch of the “ART LAB MAROC” program on the social inclusion of PWD.

Ms. Bouayach stated that the CNDH believes that art is a means of transmitting significant human rights messages. Thus, the CNDH has placed artistic and creative expressions at the core of its strategy throughout the current mandate, considering that “Human Rights Expressions” a renewed slogan for several campaigns, events and annual activities that celebrate human rights at the international and regional levels.

Addressing art as a form of expression, the CNDH Chairperson emphasized that art and the participation of PWD are not luxuries but inherent rights. They are guaranteed internationally and constitutionally, including freedom of expression and the right to participation, particularly in cultural life.

Ms. Bouayach highlighted that developing policies and programs considering PWD may enhance their artistic creativity in the broader national artistic context. This initiative, in turn, has the potential to serve as a lever for the social and economic inclusion of this group. CNDH Chairperson underscored that the combination of art and disability is ample to reshape stereotypes regarding the right of PWD and combat discrimination.

In this context, CNDH Chairperson called on partners, institutions and actors to engage in developing an ambitious national action plan to promote the rights of PWD and combat discrimination against them.

Ms. Aawatif Hayar, Minister of Solidarity, Social Inclusion and the Family, noted that Morocco has undertaken significant initiatives on both legislative and public policy levels (the National Action Plan 2024-2026 as an example) to promote PWD rights and enhance their social inclusion.

Mr. Mehdi Bensaid, Minister of Youth, Culture and Communication, affirmed that the “ART LAB MAROC” initiative will facilitate the integration of PWD, serving as an opportunity to underscore the significance of art and culture in society.

He shed light on Morocco’s commitment in harnessing culture as a tool for economic growth, social integration, and the promotion of collaborative efforts across all segments of society. He also stressed that this artistic project represents a significant moment to place art at the core of public policies for the benefit of PWD.

Mr. Eric Falt, Director of the UNESCO Office for the Maghreb region, highlighted that this artistic project is a collaborative effort focusing on the joint and exceptional training of PWD. Recognizing them as crucial contributors, he underscored their role in the success of this ambitious project, leveraging their experiences and expertise. He urged collective contemplation through art to foster an inclusive society.

Mr. Abdelmajid Makni, President of the Moroccan collective for the Rights of PWD, stressed that the “ART LAB MAROC” project is a significant opportunity to align efforts among partners. This collaboration aims to contribute to the development of public policies and involve PWD in the implementation of diverse integration procedures and initiatives.

This artistic project was launched in partnership between the CNDH, the Ministry of Solidarity, Social Inclusion and the Family, the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication, the UNESCO office in Morocco and the Collective for the Rights of PWD. It aims to defend and promote the rights of this group, enhance their creative, artistic and intellectual capacities and recognize their cultural and linguistic particularity.

At the end of this event, partners of “ART LAB MAROC” initiative signed a joint Charter titled “Together for the social inclusion of persons with disabilities through art in Morocco”. This Charter reaffirms the importance of art in inclusive policies for PWD.