9th Forum for the Future Ministerial meeting: NPWJ calls for enhanced support to human rights and democracy activists to foster political reforms in the MENA region

Tunis, 11-13 December 2012

A delegation of No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) will participate in the Ninth Forum for the Future Ministerial Meeting in Tunis, being hosted on 13 December 2012 by Tunisia, under the co-chairship of USA. The meeting, which will bring together civil society and government representatives of G8 and Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) countries, as well as regional and international organisations and institutions, aimed at agreeing on a platform of key reform priorities to jointly address regional and national challenges related to women’s empowerment, economic governance and entrepreneurship, and freedom of expression and association.
The NPWJ Delegation, comprised of Niccolo’ Figa-Talamanca, Secretary General, and Gianluca Eramo, MENA Program Coordinator, is also participating in the Civil Society Paralell Forum being held on 11-12 December.

Statement by Gianluca Eramo, MENA Program Coordinator of No Peace Without Justice:
“Since 2004, NPWJ has been working to promote, within the framework of the Forum for the Future, continuous and inclusive dialogue between governments and civil society, based on peer-to-peer and mutual recognition, aiming at the development of joint proposals to promote political reforms and human rights and advance the principles of pluralism, diversity and legitimacy in the MENA Region.
“Recent developments in the region as well as the many challenges to be faced in the coming months and years ahead, including in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, have underscored the urgent need to provide full support to this process in order to ensure that citizens can actively engage in democratic reform and contribute to shape their country’s future based on freedom and respect for fundamental human rights, good governance and economic prosperity.
“To that end, there is a need to continue protecting and expanding the spaces for democratic activities in the bMENA region: freedom of association and freedom of speech, which are still rights that too many individuals and minorities can’t enjoy, must be enhanced. A new deal between public institutions and citizens, a renewed sense of “active citizenship” and a shared responsibility for the future should be fostered in order to advance democratic reforms, ensure their sustainability and consolidate democracy and the rule of law in the region.
“The Arab Spring still has to reap its fruits of freedom and democracy in several countries of the region, including Syria and Iran, where civilians and political activists are confronted with the utmost violence.  Time has come to act in support of local civil society at this crucial juncture in the history of the region and assist – through peaceful and non-violent means – those political processes that can realize the legitimate democratic aspirations of the people and consolidate effective transitional justice and accountability mechanisms to prevent impunity and ensure that those responsible for human rights violations and abuses be held fully accountable.
“We look forward to see the engagement of governments further expanded and reinforced during the Ministerial meeting in Tunis and beyond in order to foster regular and substantive dialogue with civil society as a policy priority, and recommit ourselves to standing by the side of all those who struggle through peaceful means to secure the full establishment of democratic and open institutions in their countries.”

For further information, please contact: Gianluca Eramo, email: geramo@npwj.org, phone: +1 212 9802558 or Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32 2 548 39 15.