.RU
Карта сайта

The legal protection of freedom - Dp united Nations Development Programme Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development arab human

The legal protection of freedom



Freedoms are not confined to political and civil freedoms; they embrace economic, social and cultural freedoms as well. Without free­dom of thought, opinion and expression -which head the list of fundamental rights in­dispensable to the knowledge society - the ex­ercise of other freedoms would remain a mere abstraction.

International conventions and Arab con­stitutions and laws sanction freedom as a nat­ural human right. Most Arab states have signed the international conventions5 that pro­tect freedom, and have unanimously agreed to endorse freedom in the substance of their con­stitutions6. They have further introduced in their laws clauses that bear on the protection7 of freedom as part of legal controls that tighten or relax according to the type of regime: controls may vary between censorship and declaring a state of emergency.

The problem with freedom in Arab coun­tries is not related to the implementation of laws8, but to their violation. It has to do with the spread of oppression and the erratic nature of the measures used. It also has to do with the hegemony of censorship and its use by politi­cal powers to tighten their grip on those very freedoms that they have ostensibly recognised.

General rules for the exercise of freedom



The exercise of freedom, in societies that re­spect it, is subject to well-defined general rules, wherein a balance is struck between the

Restoring the judiciary's credibility and rebuilding Its independence are urgent priorities.

The problem with freedom In Arab countries Is not related to the implementation of laws, but to their violation.

5Such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and others.

6Except for Saudi Arabia, which has not drafted a constitution per se, and the single-party states.

'For example, the press and publishing laws in the Arab states provide that the freedom of issuing newspapers, printing and publishing is guaranteed according to those laws and that it is exercised within the framework of the constitution's principles, the provisions of law and the profession's code of ethics. The same applies to the freedom of founding associations and organising general assemblies.

8Those laws must be completed and adapted to the needs of Arab societies.

THE POLITICAL CONTEXT

153

Penalties meted out to journalists, publishing houses and news agencies used to be a small fine; they now range from provisional suspensions to outright closure.

Authorities reach above the constitutional institutions and the law, using the pretext of national security.

requirements of justice and law on the one hand and those of the public good as agreed upon by all social groups on the other. Thus those rules are perceived positively. Moreover, the legal system in those societies places laws in the hands of a fair judiciary that refers to those laws in the settlement of disputes. In this framework the law has a double role: to pro­vide the basis for resolutions in disputes and to inculcate the values it protects, penalising of­fenders against those values. People's appeals to the rule of law and the judiciary attest to their confidence in the proper performance of the legal system.

What determines how well freedom of thought, opinion and expression are protected in practice are the general rules for enforcing laws and ensuring public compliance and the degree to which such compliance serves the public interest. If the legal restrictions that en­force compliance with the law are stated clearly in the text of the law, are compatible with the constitution and conventions and the spirit of the legislation, and are implemented by the relevant legal authorities, then these re­strictions are effective and useful. Otherwise, they become harmful and oppressive.

In the Arab world, restrictions imposed on freedom take the form of legal constraints on publications, associations, general assemblies and electronic media, which prevent these from carrying out their communicative and cultural roles. Such restrictions also obstruct the dissemination of knowledge and the edu­cation of public opinion, notwithstanding citi­zen's rights as secured by the law and the international charters.

Restrictions on freedom vary in degree from one state to another. They range from prohibiting the publication of new political newspapers to banning the circulation of one or more issues of existing journals, administra­tive seizure of newspapers and publications and advance censorship of periodicals. Penalties meted out to journalists, publishing houses and news agencies used to be a small fine; they now range from provisional suspen-

sions to outright closure.

Regulations governing the freedom to form associations that were laid down in the colonial period endorsed the rule of free as­sembly, provided that the founding organisers informed the competent authorities of the as­sociation's creation. The situation today is that, except for those older laws, all other amendments governing freedom of association made in the post independence and national liberation era are restriction-oriented.9

Yet the more dangerous restrictions are those imposed by the security authorities when they confiscate publications or ban peo­ple from entering the country or prevent the sale of certain books during fairs while pro­moting other kinds of books. In committing these acts, these authorities reach above the constitutional institutions and the law, using the pretext of national security - a criterion seldom clarified by them. Other forms of re­striction come from classes of citizens them­selves, who, as noted in chapter three, appoint themselves the custodians of public morality, and press for the censorship of books, articles and media events.

To escape this censorship-freedom contra­diction, the rule of law should be enforced, as it guarantees freedom and shrinks the role of censorship. Yet, as noted earlier, Arab laws and legal institutions suffer from several struc­tural problems and many have lost their effec­tiveness and credibility. The restoration and effective application of the law in the interest of public and individual freedoms depend critically on addressing these problems through significant reforms.

Violation of political and legal guarantees

for the protection of freedom



Most constitutions have political and legal guarantees for the protection of freedom. Such political guarantees are reflected in the rule of law and exemplified in the principles of people's sovereignty, equality and right to scrutinise the government's policies and work and express their views on them. The legal

'Originally, the formation of associations did not require a license from the administrative authorities; it only required that the association be pro­claimed before those authorities. Now, laws governing associations require, upon proclamation or declaration of an association, that a temporary ac­knowledgement of recognition be delivered by the administrative authorities. Once the proclamation or the declaration text fulfils all the measures provided for in the same associations law, a final acknowledgement is delivered to the association, within a specified period. This acknowledgement represents a "license" that legitimises the work of the association. Should the authorities fail to deliver this acknowledgement within the specified period the association may operate in accordance with the objectives outlined in the relevant laws. However, by delivering the temporary and not the final acknowledgement, the administrative authority becomes able to revoke it whenever it likes, which is the core of the problem.

Examples of this are the 1909 associations law of Lebanon and the statement of the minister of the interior issued on 17 January 1996; the associa­tions law of Morocco of 23 July 2002 amending and complementing the 15 November 1958 law on the right to form associations. The same provi­sions apply to the association of general assemblies.

154

ARAB HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT 2003

guarantees are embodied in respect for the principle of the separation of authorities, the precedence of the law and in subjecting states­men and public officials to a common judi­ciary. Legal guarantees are also embodied in clauses regulating interior affairs. These guar­antees, however, are violated and become in­active during times of war and emergency in the Arab world. Their suspension results in in­tensifying repressive measures - the sole co-or­dination framework found between Arab ministers of the interior in their successive summits.

Repression of freedoms in emergencies



The relative expansion in the sanctioning of laws providing greater freedom in Arab coun­tries is a positive sign, yet its value is dimin­ished when contrasted with practices in enacting such laws. This often reveals a failure to reconcile the interests of the government with the rights of the people and the exigen­cies of state security with the principles of free­dom. The positive trend is further undermined when the pressures of security lead political authorities to curb freedoms that they believe threaten the status quo.

Arab countries live in a state of maximum security under the Arab-Israeli conflict. However, internal security procedures cannot always be justified in that context. In fact, those procedures often eliminate all compo­nents of civil liberty, opposition and criticism in the name of mobilisation.

Some Arab countries have declared a state of emergency10. This act suppresses freedom, and shelves the political guarantees invested in the rule of law and the institutions that safe­guard public and individual freedoms. A state of emergency releases the State from constitu­tional accountability under the rule of law and legal accountability through the judiciary. It curtails respect for the rule of the separation of authorities by sanctioning direct intervention in the affairs of the judiciary and it freezes the legal guarantees that protect individuals from state aggression.

Freedoms that are hostage to matters of se­curity, to censorship and to self-appointed

watchdogs of public morality are freedoms de­nied. The first victims of this denial are cre­ativity, innovation and knowledge.

The stifling legal context that has devel­oped from the crisis of law in the region will cramp Arab minds, inhibit local knowledge production and drive good Arab scholars and thinkers abroad, intensifying the region's knowledge deficit. Overcoming that crisis is a central part of the challenge of building the knowledge society.

2014-07-19 18:44
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • Контрольная работа
  • © sanaalar.ru
    Образовательные документы для студентов.