On the 16th of October, the Drama, Diversity and Development project was pleased to announce its support to seven selected innovative advocacy projects, which work to end discrimination against minorities in the Southern Mediterranean region. One of these projects is carried out by Beirut DC organization to raise awareness about the discrimination faced by Syrian refugees artists in Lebanon. The advocacy project consists of three stages: a research phase, a production phase and a distribution phase. The research process, which started on the 20th of September and ended on the 15th of October, consisted of a phase of looking into the general instances of oppression and discrimination faced by Syrian artists in Lebanon, with a main focus on the restrictions of travel imposed on Syrian performers within Lebanese territory. The research phase was accompanied by conducting interviews with artists who has experienced instances of restricted cultural rights and activity, either directly or indirectly, as in the case of restrictions on the freedom of movement of artists. This period also involved the establishment of further contacts to strengthen the advocacy plan of the project. Particular focus was stressed on finding complementary national and transnational civil society actors and cultural institutions who’d be able to lend support to the final outputs of the project’s video and report, and promote the content in their own capacities. The group also took this period as an opportunity to find other national and international advocacy plans implemented by other small and large actors, who also focussed on the promotion of artists and communities rights to culture.
The production phase, which took place between the 15th of October and the 1st of December, included collating all the materials collected during the research process into a report to be submitted to decision-makers within the Lebanese government and municipalities to appeal discriminatory policies against Syrian refugees. The report will be shared in the coming period with colleagues in the legal human rights field, specifically, but not limited to, the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, for appraisal and shared opinion. The distribution phase will be the final stage of the project and will include the distribution of the report to the Lebanese Ministry of Culture, as well as other relevant authorities, specifically the General Security responsible for the movement of people within Lebanon. To gather as much support as possible, efforts will firstly be made to find other relevant signatories to the report from the civil society and the cultural and human rights sphere both nationally and internationally.