Attacks on freedoms are increasing in Europe and among our close neighbours. A associated Euro-Mediterranean and African network of activists, civil actors and researchers is creating an observatory to assess and report violations and failures to respect the rights of association and cultural and artistic expression.
At the beginning of 2019, the situation of guarantees of civil liberties is worrying. Barriers to freedom of association and expression are more common. Directly or more indirectly, public authorities appear to want to place limits on the position of cultural and artistic civil society in the public space. Afraid of independent acts and speech? Secular? Critical? Of opening up society to all diversities? ... the perpetrators of these attacks are united in their desire to muzzle the democratic forces of their society. Artists and cultural actors are not immune from these censorship strategies.
For example, on December 26, 2018, the Court of First Instance of Casablanca decided on the dissolution of the Association Racines for reasons that remain unclear. This decision aims to put an end to the activities of an association known to be a major player in Moroccan civil society, acting for freedom of expression, citizenship, emancipation and cultural diversity.
The object of this observatory is to:
- gather information on all attacks directed at the fields of freedom of association and expression of artistic and cultural groups, both openly democratic and secular, at international and, specifically, Euro-Mediterranean and African levels;
- regularly publish reports by independent teams composed of jurists, artists and cultural professionals reporting on the details of attacks by the authorities;
- bring to the attention of international public opinion not only the diverse range of these attacks, but also the evolution of public policies that allow, if not encourage, them.
The protection of freedom of association and expression can only be guaranteed by an international public opinion that is documented and mobilized.
The following European and international NGOs:
CRVENA (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Istituto Arrupe (Italy)
Relais Culture Europe (France)
The following academic institutions:
Institute of Criminology (Slovenia)
University of Palermo (Italy)
University of Valencia (Spain)
The launch conference of the observatory will take place on April 8, 2019, to Maison des Métallos, 94 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, Paris 11th at 16:30 to 18:30
This first meeting launches our 2019/2020 programme of meetings:
Ljubljana - August 29 2019 - Violations of freedom of association and expression in the Balkan countries and eastern Europe
Istanbul - Autumn 2019 - Violations of freedom of association and expression in Turkey and neighbouring countries
Palermo - Spring 2020 - Violations of freedom of association and expression in Mediterranean countries
Paris - September 2020 - Presentation of the 2018/2020 summary report