The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced the “Seoul Citizens’ Cultural Rights Declaration”, which consists of a total of 4 chapters and 17 articles on Seoul citizens’ rights and responsibilities of the city to the ‘cultural rights’. The Declaration begins saying that “Citizens are the owners of culture and the subjects of rights.” Article 1, “Right to Enjoy Culture” states that “citizens should not be discriminated against based on their class, age, region, sex difference, race, religion, nationality and other factors when enjoying culture and arts.”
The 17 articles are as follows: ▴ Right to enjoy culture, right to access culture, right to cultural education, the freedom of expression (Articles 1 to 4), ▴ The cultural diversity of Seoul, cultural landscape, cultural resources (Articles 5 to 9) ▴ Citizens’ obligations, obligations of Seoul City, and roundtables of cultural rights (Articles 14 ~ 17).
In particular, the city has been organizing a “Cultural Rights Declaration Working Group” led by city officials, experts and local cultural activists for the past year instead of one-sided presentations to prepare the declaration through citizen discussions and proposals. In addition, Seoul’s Declaration includes the value and direction represented in international covenant on cultural rights such as “The UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001)” and “The Charter on the City’s Cultural Rights and Duties (2002, Barcelona)”, as well as those of cities which declared cultural rights in advance.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government held “The Seoul Citizens’ Cultural Rights Declaration Ceremony” with the participation of more than 100 people including Mayor Park Won-soon on December 20th, 2016. On this occasion, Mayor Park Won-soon promised five agendas that “all declarations are not the end but a new decision and a new start.”
① Ensure cultural rights
② Support citizens so that simple spectators can become everyday artists enjoying creative activities.
③ Strengthen citizen’s cultural capacity by ensuring the stable life of artists and freedom of creation.
④ Strengthen the foundation of cultural autonomy for promoting local culture in Seoul.
⑤ Establish Seoul’s identity as a 2,000-year-old city.
Mayor Park said, “‘The Seoul Citizens` Cultural Rights Declaration’ is a promise made by Seoul to build freedom of expression instead of censorship, and a transparent and autonomous cultural policy led by citizens rather than corrupt cultural businesses.” He also said, “Specifically, it is a result created through the cooperation of Seoul and citizens in various fields along with the recently announced ‘Seoul Artist Plan’ and ‘Vision 2030 Cultural Seoul’, which is more meaningful.”