7 September 2016 – Following up on a seminar detailing how civil society organisations (CSOs) are facing multifaceted restrictions to the space in which they operate in the Euro-Mediterranean region, EuroMed Rights published today a report titled ‘Shackled Freedoms: What Space for Civil Society in the EuroMed?’
This report depicts the obstacles and repression against civil society in the region and showcases first-hand accounts from Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, among others. The report also features recommendations by CSOs for joint action and seeks to influence EU policies to that effect.
The report insists on the impact of security and anti-terrorist policies on human rights defenders, and lists the growing arsenal of repressive measures – both in law and practice – that CSOs face on a daily basis: judicial harassment, surveillance, arbitrary arrests, torture and assassination.
EuroMed Rights argues that freedom of association and assembly is key to promote democratic reforms. It has steadily documented how, in some countries, the failure of governments to respond to peaceful demands of civil society and to the aspirations of the people eventually turned into armed conflict (such as Syria).
In other countries, like Algeria, Egypt or Turkey, repressive laws targeting independent organisations, freedom of expression and assembly, and judicial harassment of activists and dissidents, are becoming everyday occurrence. Stigmatising discourses and smear media campaigns often lead to intimidation against human rights defenders and political opponents, who are also subjected to interrogations, travel bans and asset freezes. A shocking number of them have been arrested or face prosecution, and some have even disappeared or been killed.
Despite legal safeguards and the human rights “shared values” rhetoric in EU countries, EuroMed Rights argues that European civil society is also under increasing pressure. Austerity measures and anti-terrorism laws are increasingly used to legitimise practices that go against individual freedoms and rights of assembly, association and expression, such as in France, Spain or the UK for instance.
The seminar was organised in April 2016 as an open dialogue between EU representatives, South Mediterranean activists and Brussels-based civil society organisations.
Check out our webpage with full report and video interviews.
Interview with Mrs. Fatiha Chtatou, president of the Injaz Center against gender based violence, related to the subject of the safe abortion, the consensual relations and the position of the feminist movement (Arabic)
the caravan of radio and gender
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