2024-02-16 00:00:00
15:45PM – 17:15 PM Nepali Time
Organizer : Forum Marocain des alternatives
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State of public freedoms in the world and in the Maghreb : from the promises of the Revolution to kais Saied's monopoly of power

Social Movements and Violated Liberties: Between Afflictions and Resistances


"The year [2023] that has just ended has been terrifying, given the repression of human rights and the war atrocities that have been committed," as noted in the introduction of the 2024 HRW report.


The World's Shift

The war against Palestinians in Gaza, the massacres of civilians, including children, hospital bombings, and the targeting of journalists, reveal the horror of the collapse of a global human rights value system that the international community has spent over 70 years building. We estimate that its demolition by its former greatest defenders and lecturers would cause the loss of all reference points for dialogue and threaten peace, not only in the Middle East but globally.


From Iran to Egypt, from Saudi Arabia to France and Poland, to China and Russia, the EU, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Korea, and the violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, we witness, powerless, despite the millions of people protesting and resisting, this collapse of human rights values, a shrinking of freedom spaces, and the rise of populism and right-wing regimes that pose a threat to democracy and human rights protection.


Whether in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, or Asia, the war in Gaza has reinforced and exacerbated the trend of incumbent regimes to use the Covid-19 pandemic to launch new attacks against human rights defenders and freedom of expression and assembly, with its share of double standards. On a global scale, the international neoliberal order has proven to be a disaster for the poor and vulnerable populations, but also a source of ecological destruction threatening the planet: war and climate change converge, generating anxiety and uncertainty among populations and economic recession, forced population displacement, racism, xenophobia, and repression.


Regimes Confiscate the Demand for Liberties

The "People's Spring," which began in Tunisia on December 17, 2010, and resulted in the departure of dictators, gave rise to great hopes in the early stages of realizing another world of pluralism, freedom, dignity, and social justice. Tunisia, a universal laboratory for democratic political changes, with the revolutionary slogans of young civil and political elites, the measures taken to reform the system, heralded another possible and achievable world. The World Social Forums in 2013 and 2015 in Tunisia echoed this aspiration.


But after more than a decade, marked by numerous mass protest movements in the Maghreb region, which were the continuation of the revolutionary dream and the hope of realizing it, repressive regimes regained the initiative, prisons filled with political opponents, journalists, and bloggers, fear and security terror prevailed, and the public space shrank before any dissenting opinion.


Tunisia, once considered the "only success story" in the region, suffered an unprecedented setback after achieving political stability and drafting a consensual constitution in 2014 that contained the elements of a civil, democratic, and pluralistic state.


The same factors that led to the coup d'état on July 25, 2021, against the constitution, with the help of army and security forces, and gave birth to a populist regime whose sole concern was to destroy everything the revolution had built, from institutions, laws, and the constitution to democratic opposition. The regime began by attacking the elected parliament, then took control of the judicial institution, perverted the electoral system by undermining its independence, and abolished any inclination of opposition and resistance.


Whether in Morocco after authorities quelled protests and took control of public space, or in Algeria, which experienced an unprecedented mass movement before the army and regime regained control of public space and gagged the media and human rights defenders, in prisons, or in Tunisia, which became a vast prison after a period of democratization. The peoples of the region still dream of revolution, confronting tyranny, and social justice. They need a political and civil force that will restore they need effective Maghreb solidarity and strong support from all global powers committed to justice and peace.


In all regions, autocrats have worked to erode the independence of vital institutions for human rights protection and to reduce spaces for expressing divergent opinions, pursuing the same goal: to exercise unlimited power. They undermine faith in the universality of human rights and the legitimacy of texts intended to protect them.


In light of the above, the Follow-up Committee of the Maghreb Social Forum, in collaboration with organizations wishing to do so, is organizing a meeting to jointly reflect on the reasons for this recession and these offensives against rights, against journalists, but also to identify collective action paths to reaffirm the universal values of human rights. The meeting will also provide insight into the recession of the revolutionary momentum in Tunisia as an example of shrinking freedoms.