Prague to become city of refuge for persecuted artists and writers

Photo: Jakub Lucký, Czech Radio

The Czech capital is set to become a so-called city of refuge. The City of Prague has signed a contract with the Norwegian non-profit organisation ICORN, joining a network of more than 80 cities around the world that provide temporary asylum to writers or artists persecuted in their home countries.

The idea to establish a network of cities that would provide refuge to persecuted artists, writers and journalists originated back in the 1990s. The people behind the original concept, called International Parliament of Writers, included Salman Rushdie, but also the late Czech president and playwright Václav Havel.

Since 2006, the job was taken over by the Norwegian non-profit organisation ICORN. On Tuesday, Prague has become the 86th city to join the network. The signing of the agreement was also attended by ICORN director general Helge Lunde:

“Since we started in 2006 we have protected more than 300 persecuted writers and artists, who can be everything from novelists, poets, journalists, but also cartoonists and lately also non-verbal artists.

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Authors: Ruth Fraňková, Jakub Lucký