Update: 19.08.2011

Freedom of the arts and sciences / Cultural rights  

On this page you will find legal guarantees and other regulations from the Swiss Federal Constitution, the European and international human rights treaties and further documents under international law. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, as regulations from other regional treaties and topically similar safeguarding provisions of international humanitarian law are not included.

Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation of 18 April 1999

(English is not an official language of the Swiss Confederation. This translation is provided for information purposes only and has no legal force.)

Article 20 (Academic freedom): Freedom of research and teaching is guaranteed.

Article 21 (Freedom of artistic expression): Freedom of artistic expression is guaranteed.

Article 69 (Culture): (1) Cultural matters shall be a cantonal responsibility.
(2) The Confederation may support cultural activities of national interest as well as art and music, in particular in the field of education.
(3) In the fulfilment of its duties, it shall take account of the cultural and linguistic diversity of the country.

European Social Charter (revised)

Article 15 (The right of persons with disabilities to independence, social integration and participation in the life of the community): With a view to ensuring to persons with disabilities, irrespective of age and the nature and origin of their disabilities, the effective exercise of the right to independence, social integration and participation in the life of the community, the Parties undertake, in particular: [...]
(3) to promote their full social integration and participation in the life of the community in particular through measures, including technical aids, aiming to overcome barriers to communication and mobility and enabling access to transport, housing, cultural activities and leisure.

Article 23 (The right of elderly persons to social protection): With a view to ensuring the effective exercise of the right of elderly persons to social protection, the Parties undertake to adopt or encourage, either directly or in co-operation with public or private organisations, appropriate measures designed in particular:
• to enable elderly persons to remain full members of society for as long as possible, by means of:
(a) adequate resources enabling them to lead a decent life and play an active part in public, social and cultural life; [...]

Article 30 (The right to protection against poverty and social exclusion): With a view to ensuring the effective exercise of the right to protection against poverty and social exclusion, the Parties undertake:
(a) to take measures within the framework of an overall and co-ordinated approach to promote the effective access of persons who live or risk living in a situation of social exclusion or poverty, as well as their families, to, in particular, employment, housing, training, education, culture and social and medical assistance;
(b) to review these measures with a view to their adaptation if necessary.

(This Charter has not been ratified by Switzerland.)

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 27: (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Article 15: (1) The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone:
(1.a) To take part in cultural life;
(1.b) To enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications;
(1.c) To benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
2. The steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include those necessary for the conservation, the development and the diffusion of science and culture.
3. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research and creative activity.
4. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the benefits to be derived from the encouragement and development of international contacts and co-operation in the scientific and cultural fields.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Article 27: In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language.

Convention on the Rights of the Child

Article 13: (1) The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice. [...]

Article 30: In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities or persons of indigenous origin exist, a child belonging to such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of his or her group, to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practise his or her own religion, or to use his or her own language.

Article 31: (1) States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
(2) States Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.

International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families 

Article 13: (1) Migrant workers and members of their families shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
(2) Migrant workers and members of their families shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art or through any other media of their choice. […]

Article 43: (1) Migrant workers shall enjoy equality of treatment with nationals of the State of employment in relation to: [...]
(1.g) Access to and participation in cultural life.
(2) States Parties shall promote conditions to ensure effective equality of treatment to enable migrant workers to enjoy the rights mentioned in paragraph 1 of the present article whenever the terms of their stay, as authorized by the State of employment, meet the appropriate requirements.
(3) States of employment shall not prevent an employer of migrant workers from establishing housing or social or cultural facilities for them. Subject to article 70 of the present Convention, a State of employment may make the establishment of such facilities subject to the requirements generally applied in that State concerning their installation.

(This Convention has not been ratified by Switzerland.)

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Article 30 (Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport): (1) States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to take part on an equal basis with others in cultural life, and shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities:
(1.a) Enjoy access to cultural materials in accessible formats;
(1.b) Enjoy access to television programmes, films, theatre and other cultural activities, in accessible formats;
(1.c) Enjoy access to places for cultural performances or services, such as theatres, museums, cinemas, libraries and tourism services, and, as far as possible, enjoy access to monuments and sites of national cultural importance.
(2) States Parties shall take appropriate measures to enable persons with disabilities to have the opportunity to develop and utilize their creative, artistic and intellectual potential, not only for their own benefit, but also for the enrichment of society.
(3) States Parties shall take all appropriate steps, in accordance with international law, to ensure that laws protecting intellectual property rights do not constitute an unreasonable or discriminatory barrier to access by persons with disabilities to cultural materials.
(4) Persons with disabilities shall be entitled, on an equal basis with others, to recognition and support of their specific cultural and linguistic identity, including sign languages and deaf culture.
(5) With a view to enabling persons with disabilities to participate on an equal basis with others in recreational, leisure and sporting activities, States Parties shall take appropriate measures:
(5.a) To encourage and promote the participation, to the fullest extent possible, of persons with disabilities in mainstream sporting activities at all levels;
(5.b) To ensure that persons with disabilities have an opportunity to organize, develop and participate in disability-specific sporting and recreational activities and, to this end, encourage the provision, on an equal basis with others, of appropriate instruction, training and resources;
(5.c) To ensure that persons with disabilities have access to sporting, recreational and tourism venues;
(5.d) To ensure that children with disabilities have equal access with other children to participation in play, recreation and leisure and sporting activities, including those activities in the school system;
(5.e) To ensure that persons with disabilities have access to services from those involved in the organization of recreational, tourism, leisure and sporting activities.

Sources:

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