Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) has published its third survey on Freedom of Association in that region. The premise of the survey of the state of freedom of association in the Euro-Mediterranean region is that freedom of association constitutes a right that is absolutely essential, along with freedom of expression, to the exercise of virtually every other civil and political right, and to the advancement of economic, social and cultural rights. The Survey reports that the period since the last EMHRN survey, in December 2008, has seen little or no improvement in the state of freedom of association in any country in the Euro-Mediterranean region, and in some respects continued deterioration of the ability to exercise this right. In virtually every country covered, there are thousands of associations, a great many of them charitable in nature, and for the most part these organizations do not experience problems with the authorities unless they are affiliated, or suspected of being affiliated, with opposition political movements. The hand of the government as a general rule is heaviest, in terms of legal restrictions and official harassment, when it comes to human rights organizations as well as other groups advocating for changes that can affect the exercise of political power, including the power of security services.