Campaign against anti-terror law in Belgium

June 26th, 2007

Signatures against the anti-terror law 

The anti-terror law in Belgium is in force since 2003. This law has brought about restrictions to the freedom of organization and expression. There were organized several actions, conferences and other activities against that law and its results under the direction of CLEA.

Finally there was started a signature campaign against the anti-terror law. CLEA, the League for Human Rights (LDH) and Greenpeace united to the Platform for the Freedom of Expression and Organization. With this purpose the three organizations published an appeal in the beginning of June and so to initiate a public discussion about the anti-terror law. The statement, that was prepared and signed by 58 institutions and organizations as for example CLEA, Comite T, Greenpeace Belguim, Info-Türk, Kurdish Institute, Human Rights League, Oxfam (Oxford Struggle against Hunger) and the VUB (Free University of Brussels) says, that activities of civil societal and democratic mass organizations are criminalized. It is also said, that with this law even questioning and critizing is assumed as threat. Apart from restriction of the freedom of expression and organization, the authority of the police was extended and it has become easier to control social organizations.
This additionally straitens the fields of action.
 The statement also includes recent examples for the aim of these anti-terror laws.
It was reported that the concern Electrabel (European concern for energy production) has opened a trial against the Belgian Greenpeace section some days ago, following an action against them.
 It is stated, that after the 11th September, oppositional thoughts are equated with terrorism in Belgium and that this is even legalized and put into practice in terms of the DHKC trial. Furthermore, there were opened trials against dozens of Moslems with the mentioned laws directly after September 11 and some of them were punished. The common platform statement also points out, that even non-violent actions were assumed as terrorism. The signing organizations declare that they refuse restrictions on the freedom of organization and expression as a constitutional right and call the government to renew the law, since it was the basic duty of a constitutional state to protect freedoms.
The platform will organize a press meeting and a concert on 27th June. Apart from members of the platform there are invited different representatives of institutions, writers and unionists as speakers. In the second part of the program the Rap-band
Starflam will go on the stage.


Meeting 27 June, 2007 - Brussels

Poster RAP for FREE SPEECH.pdf

Concert gratuit et prises de parole pour la liberté d’expression
le 27 juin dès 18 heures au Beursschowburg (A. Ortsstraat 20-28 - 1000 Bxl)

Cent trente associations (dont la FGTB Centrale générale, Greenpeace, CNCD-11 11 11, Ligue des Droits de l’homme, Clea…) se sont regroupées, en à peine trois semaines, autour d’une motion pour la liberté d’expression et la liberté d’association. Votre organisation peut signer cette motion en ligne et consulter une liste –régulièrement mise à jour– des signataires sur le site de Greenpeace [Cliquez ici].

Ce mercredi 27 juin, nous organisons un événement mobilisateur pour faire en sorte que le prochain gouvernement retire du champ d’application du code pénal ce qui relève de la contestation sociale sous toutes ses formes.

Rejoignez-nous afin de déclencher un mouvement social pour la démocratie.

Au programme :

RAP FOR FREE SPEECH (voir ci-dessous).

27/06/07 - 18 u - Beursschouwburg A. Ortsstraat 20 - 28 - 1000 Brussel

Met/Avec: Lieven De Cauter (cultuurfilosoof KuLeuven) - Jos Vander Velpen (Liga voor de Rechten van de Mens) - Daniel Flinker (Clea) - Eric Goeman (Attac Vlaanderen) - Anne Morelli (prof ULB) - Peter Desmet (Greenpeace) - Didier Brissa (Altermondialiste) - Douglas De Coninck (journalist Humo) - Bahar Kimyongür (Militant politique) - Michel Vandenbosch (Gaia) - Caroline Coopers (ABVV) - Benoit Vandermeerschen (Ligue des Droits de l’Homme et CNCD) - Paul Lootens (Centrale Générale FGTB) - Jan Fermon (Avocat).

Concert: AKRO van/de STARFLAM

          Further informations at the CLEA homepage:

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Petition for the Freedom of Association and Expression

The campaign was initiated by NGO’s, democratic mass organisations, unions and human rights organisations in Belgium…

Download the petition and the supporters in French:



Petition in English:

 We demand freedom of association and expression

Text of Platform for Freedom of Association and Expression - June 1, 2007

Belgium has a long democratic tradition of active participation by civil society in political debate. There is a very broad interpretation of freedom of association and freedom of expression, both of them anchored in our constitution. Social action is inseparably tied to the exercise of these freedoms. In recent years, a series of events have shown these freedoms are far from secure. In the framework of struggle against organised crime and terrorism, the powers of police services have been considerably extended. These new powers permit them to control social movements and to limit their freedom of action. The activity of NGOs risks being criminalised. Questions and legitimate criticism are considered to be a threat. They often come into conflict with property rights and public order. Every time commercial interests feel threatened, means are employed to limit the rights of social action. The recent accusation by Electrabel, namely that Greenpeace Belgium is a criminal association, is a disturbing development.
Since September 11, there is a tendency in Belgium to consider radical viewpoints to be terrorism. Current judicial tendencies, with three anti-globalisation campaigners in Liege being accused of membership in a criminal association, as well as the Bahar Kimyongur affair, give the impression that certain laws, in particular the law against terrorist crimes, permit passing heavy sentences against acts that take no violent, much less terrorist form. In both cases, it is a matter of militant, non-violent actions, or the expression and dissemination of a viewpoint.
Associations cannot permit having their freedoms of association and expression being restricted. Associations confirm today that their freedom of movement is being restricted in various ways:

1. By abuse of procedures (for example, reference to articles of the penal codes which are not valid, like article 322 on criminal associations)
2. Through pressing charges against particular actions, intimidating through the threat of heavy sentences
3. Through anti-terrorist legislation which threatens fundamental rights
4. Through extending the powers of police and intelligence services
5. Through unilateral demands to stop actions
6. Through threats of fines or pressing charges by accusing people of libel or defamation
7. Through arrests and searches

Militants of trade union organisations, political parties, NGOs, the anti-globalisation movement and others who work for social and ecological progress, for international solidarity and for human rights, may be criminalised and as a result suffer severe and disproportionate penalties.
The protection of constitutional freedoms is an essential part of a law-based state.
The undersigned call on the next federal government to correct this tendency and to take legislative initiatives to clarify the interpretation of what constitutes social struggle in all its forms, so as to reduce the scope for using the penal code in treating actions as criminal or terrorist.