The cancellation of the tribute to Sophie Bessis: a drift towards the prohibition of all free speech!

Petition signed by the LDH

The tribute that the Maison de Tunisie Foundation in Paris, in collaboration with the Committee for the Respect of Freedoms and Human Rights in Tunisia (CRLDHT), had initially planned to pay on December 9, 2022 to Sophie Bessis, committed Tunisian historian and intellectual, internationally recognized both for her works and for her positions, has just been “postponedsine die by this institution on the grounds of “administrative and logistical constraints“. These are the laconic terms of a message sent a few days before the event by the leaders of the Maison de Tunisie.

How not to bring such a decision closer ex abruptly of the climate of hostility maintained at the present time with regard to the democrats of our country?

This decision seems to confirm a worrying drift towards the prohibition of all free speech and criticism of power.

Sophie Bessis, a left-wing woman and feminist activist who regularly speaks out for the defense of rights and freedoms and whose democratic commitment no longer needs to be demonstrated, must be able to express herself freely within Tunisian public institutions. “If the evening scheduled for December 9, 2022 was above all to pay tribute to her work and her career, and not deal specifically with Tunisian news, the critical points of view recently formulated by the historian against the anti-democratic evolution of the Tunisian power seems to us to clearly constitute the backdrop for the cancellation of the event. Just like the presence of participants who have constantly denounced in recent months the drift of Tunisian institutions towards an omnipotent presidency”.

The censorship to which it is not the only one to be subjected today is an additional and alarming manifestation of the authorities’ desire to silence civil society and intellectuals and all the independent institutions which oppose the return practices that were thought to belong to the past.

This is why we express our solidarity with Sophie Bessis by denouncing this unacceptable attack on freedom of expression and by expressing our concern at the increasingly clear will of the authorities to censor intellectuals who want to continue to express freely.

Paris, December 14, 2022

Organizations: General Labor Union of Tunisia (UGTT), Action Jeunesse FMAS-Morocco, APEL-Egalite (Algeria), Assembly of Citizens from Turkey (ACORT), Association Beity, Democratic Association of Moroccan Women (ADFM), Association Femmes Plurielles (France), Association Joussour de Citoyenneté (Tunisia), Association of Families of Saharawi Prisoners and Disappeared (AFAPREDESA), Association of Moroccans in France (AMF), Association of Maghreb Workers of France (ATMF), Moroccan Association for Human Rights Male (AMDH), Association Nachaz-Dissonances Association Pont de Genève, Association of Tunisians in France (ATF), Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (ATFD), Tunisian Association for the Defense of University Values ​​(TDVU), Moroccan Coalition for Climate Justice, Coalition Soumoud, Autonomous General Confederation of Workers in Algeria (CGATA), Committee for the respect of freedoms and human rights in Tunisia (CRLDHT), E-Joussour Maghreb Machrek portal, Euromed-Rights, Federation of Tunisian citizens of both shores (FTCR), Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES), Moroccan Forum of Southern Alternatives (FMAS), Moroccan Truth and Justice Forum (FMVJ), Progressive Action Group (Tunisia), Collective Creation, Culture, Citizenship (3C Collective), Tawhida Ben Cheikh Group, Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH), Tunisian League for Human Rights (LTDH), Moroccan Observatory of Public Liberties, National Observatory for the Defense of the Civil Character of the State, Tunisian Platform of Alternatives, Euromaghrébin Culture and Citizenship Network (REMCC), Feminist Network “Ruptures”, LDH (League of Human Rights), S.O.S. Racism, National Autonomous Union of Public Administration Staff – Algeria (SNAPAP), Union of Tunisian Associations in the South of France (UATLS), Union of Tunisian Immigrant Workers (UTIT)

The cancellation of the tribute to Sophie Bessis: a drift towards the prohibition of all free speech! – League of Human Rights