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Interview with Amesty International Turkey Coördinator Laurien de Vos

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Do France’s New Emergency Powers Pose A Threat?

Media Populism in the USA and the Netherlands: a lecture by Maarten van Rossum




.................................................. Preface


Media Populism in the USA and The Netherlands 6 Lecture: Colombia vs. FARC


Interview Laurien de Vos


DO France;s New Emergency Powers Pose a Threat? 12 Urios Symposium: Russia vs. The West


Movie Review 16 10 Freedom Fighters 18 What can you do?


Member’s Page 24 Featured in Curious 25






ROOS BOS Editor-in-Chief Dear readers, As with so many of the important characteristics of Western civilisation, freedom of speech can be traced back to the ancient Greeks. Socrates already advocated the right to free speech, he spoke to the jury at his trial hearing and pronounced the following words: ‘If you offered to let me off this time on condition I am not any longer to speak my mind... I should say to you, “Men of Athens, I shall obey the Gods rather than you.”’ The following centuries scholars, clerics and artists from all over the world kept freedom of speech on the agenda when discussing the fundamental bearers of mankind. The humanist Desiderius Erasmus in his advocacy of education wrote: ‘In a free state, tongues too should be free.’ Galileo Galilei touched upon free speech in his defence before the inquisition and the poet John Milton addressed the issue in his pamphlet against restrictions to the freedom of press by saying: ‘He who destroys a good book, kills reason itself.’ Nowadays, freedom of speech is written down in various universal declarations, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant of Political and Civil Rights. Even though the fundamental -but not absolute right- is anchored in international law principles; it is still a hot topic in the political arena of the world. Some people wish that freedom of speech is kept on a tight leash while others argue that liberty to speak is the foundation of a democratic society. In Turkey conditions for media freedom are deteriorating, Angela Merkel stunned Germans this month by granting the Turkey’s request for possible prosecution of a German comedian, who mocked president Erdogan. On the other side of the world Donald Trump; the republican nomination for president of the United States, is increasingly campaigning in a aggressive manner, and revealed his full-blown antipathy for the First Amendment’s freedom of the press, proclaiming that he is “gonna open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.” In this issue of Curious you can get to know the crux of the right to free speech debate in Turkey or if you are looking to read about something a bit closer to home, learn all about our own prominent Dutch politician Wilders who is now faced with charges of inciting hatred. Hope you will enjoy this issue of Curious!




Media populism in the USA and The Netherlands

A lecture by Maarten van Rossum By Alina Chakh On Monday, the 11th of April, Maarten van Rossem (a famous Dutch historian and expert on American politics), attended the beautiful Academiegebouw on Domplein to give a lecture about Donald Trump, Pim Fortuyn, Geert Wilders, and the causes and consequences of media populism in the USA and the Netherlands. Maarten is known for his cynical humor so we couldn’t wait to enjoy this discussion. As we all know, media populism is a very big thing now in the Netherlands. And across the ocean, in the United States, we can affirm that practically the same thing is going on, according to Maarten. Donald Trump is known over the entire globe for his bold comments, about foreigners, Muslims, and even women. In our own country, there has been an increase in media populism ever since Pim Fortuyn, a Dutch politician, came along. After his death (he was murdered in 2002) Geert Wilders (politician of the Party for Freedom) stood up and continued the debate. With the refugee crisis, the political discourse is drenched

with the talks about refugees, Muslims, and whether they can stay or not. Wilders never misses an opportunity to speak up and the question is all the time, did he cross the line now? Or will he do next time? Wilders won a lawsuit against him last year, but his comments keep on going. And people are listening. Maarten gave us an analysis about how populism can take over, especially with the help of the media. He started the lecture with explaining what these three politicians have in common: they are outsiders and outrageous.



And they’re seizing every chance to speak bad things about the minorities in their country. According to the statistics, a very small part of the American population is Muslim. So why are people taking his sayings seriously? The same thing can be said about Pim Fortuyn. It is all about creating a problem and convincing people that there is a problem, and there are people who you can blame. The funny thing about populism, is that it has been there forever. Populism is about the people; it is created by the people. The people want to protect the people, and stand up against their government. They are convinced that they have been treated badly. But a part of the people, doesn’t belong to the people. With the populism we are creating, we are ruling people out. And it is, if we believe Maarten, all due to the fact that people are afraid of strangers and tend to be xenophobic. With the jihadi attacks, people are giving a new dimension to the populism: the fear of jihadi attacks. But Obama stated, that the chance of dying, in a Western country, are even smaller than dying in your own bathtub. We shouldn’t be afraid of all the Muslims, (a very small part of the entire population), and be more afraid of what damage our bathtub can cause. In the Netherlands, there is something else going on. Yes, we are afraid of Muslims, but, Geert Wilders is convincing us to believe something else as well: with all the foreigners living in our country, we are losing our identity. We should send them away, or, if they are so lucky that they can stay, they should adjust as good as they can. No more mosques (but synagogues are okay). There is a fear of losing identity, but if you ask a Dutch person, Maarten is convinced that they can’t define ‘the Dutch identity’. If anyone will say ‘Sinterklaas’ (a Dutch version of Santa Claus), he will slap you in the face. His point is, that we are telling ourselves that we are losing our identity, we are creating a problem, but the bigger fear may be, that we are afraid of not


having an identity. The Americans are also a bit afraid to lose identity, but mostly, they are paranoia and sleep with rifles next to their beds. You want to see the real America? Go to the South, or the Mid-West, and not to New York or Los Angeles. Maarten also give a friendly advice if you want to see the real Netherlands. You don’t need to see Amsterdam, just go to Apeldoorn. Does Trump really believe his own his sayings? Do Americans believe it? No, they don’t, but they really like bullshit. So how does Maarten describe populism? How does it work? Populism only occurs in democracies. ‘’The people’’ are coherent to the identity of a nation. People begin to wonder, what a nation is, and what their thoughts of a nation are. The people always have a will, and the people are always angry. That is what a populistic politician will tell you. ‘’The people are very angry!’’ has being said on the television. You are sitting at home, just watching the eight o’clock news, you had a pretty nice day, but there was this slum somewhere on the street who gave you a bad look. ‘’Damn,’’ you’re thinking to yourself. ‘’This man with his yellow hair is totally right!’’ Or maybe you’ve been experiencing some trouble lately in your career, due to a medical condition, and you’re not able to work for a while. And you see this refugees, getting free shampoos and life supplies. ‘’Damn,’’ you’re thinking to yourself. ‘’They are all getting shampoos. Maybe if we didn’t let them in, I would get more money from the government. The government isn’t doing anything for people like me!’’ And then, the refugees won’t be accepted anymore, and a new guy will stand up and declare that the people (and you are the people) are angry. And the whole thing will start over again. It’s called populism.




Lecture: Colombia vs. FARC On the 4th of April, Urios organized a lecture on the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and FARC. A short overview of the background of the topic: Since 1964, Colombia has been engaged in a low-intensity asymmetric war between various groups, of which today the most important ones are the Colombian government and far-left guerilla group FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). The war has taken 220,000 lives, most of them civilian, and more than five million civilians have been forced to leave their homes, generating the world’s second largest population of internally displaced persons. Since Juan Manuel Santos became president in 2010, the government has been engaged in peace talks with FARC in order to end Colombia’s conflict for once and for all. This initiative has been both highly criticized and highly praised by various national and international organizations. We had the honor to have Ambassador Juan José Quintana to the Kingdom of

the Netherlands at the lecture to speak to us about the historical background of the conflict and the political motives of the government to engage in such negotiations. Legal expert Lily Rueda, formerly active for the Colombian Ministry of Justice and for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, informed us about the transitional justice mechanisms which were being negotiated in order to comply with international legal standards. Sandra Rios, expert in sociology, concluded the lecture with an interesting part on the sociological side of the story. This made for an interesting composition of speakers with different professions and academic backgrounds. Through each of their individual experience and knowledge, we had the chance to observe this very complex issue from multiple angles in order to get the best possible overview. All in all, it was a successful evening, confirmed by the high number of attendees.




Talking with Laurien de Vos For this Curious issue, which is in the theme of freedom of speech, we interviewed Laurien de Vos, Turkey coordinator at the policy department of Amnesty International Netherlands. We had a chat about the current human rights situation in Turkey, its relation to the refugee crisis in Europe and the projects of Amnesty Netherlands for these issues.

For starters, would you like to tell our readers something about yourself, what you do and how you got here? I studied International Relations in historical perspective in Utrecht, in which I did quite a few human rights subjects. During this Masters program I had a part-time job at Amnesty International, that was a great start. It was not easy to work 20 hours a week during my Masters, but it was a great chance to gain relevant professional experience. Eventually I also applied for the Foreign Affairs Course at Clingendael for which I received a scholarship. All this was a very good basis for where I am now. While being responsible for Turkey it helps that I spent a semester studying in Istanbul, where I developed a great passion for the country, its culture and its people. What do you do specifically in your function within Amnesty? Well first of all, Amnesty made a strategic choice of focusing on 5 different countries: Russia, Turkey, Saudi-Arabia, Indonesia and Chi-

na. I am responsible for the Turkey program, in which I initiate various projects. We do trial observations in Turkey, for which we send professionals to observe several trials. That way we want to ensure fair trials by being present and thus showing that the international community and especially the EU is watching. Here in Holland we strive to ensure that there is more attention given to these problems through actions, media work and lobby. The other project is focusing on the support for Human Rights Defenders in Turkey. We would like the EU and member states to be more supportive of Human Rights Defenders. The trial observation project focuses mainly on freedom of expression and related issues, such as excessive police violence and impunity. Right now there are many cases concerning the crime of defamation towards the President. Since President Erdogan has become President in August 2014, 1845 requests have been filed to begin a judicial procedure against people who have made critical statements concerning the President.

How about the academics that were arrested this year? That is very relevant, because the trial is starting as we speak. The Academicians for Peace consist of 1128 academics, who set up a petition to raise attention for the violence in the south-east and call for peace in that region. Four of them were in detention on remand, their trial started at the 22nd of April. They were released but they face possible charges under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. Amnesty’s researcher Andrew Gardner was present. In the same courthouse at the same day, the trial of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül continued, two journalists who were indicted because of their criticism of a military arms transport to Syria. They are now facing life-long sentences for supposedly having attempted to overthrow the government. The case has been closed to public since the first hearing, but one of our staff members who happens to be a lawyer will be observing that trial too.


More than ever the EU needs to trust Turkey with the refugee flows and at the same time they are still negotiating for EU membership as Turkey still does not comply to the demands the EU has set, such as compliance to human rights. How have these issues affected the EU-Turkey relations and Turkey’s candidateship to the EU? It seems as if the EU used to have more leverage in relation to Turkey, but because the EU wanted to stop the refugee flow, not protect refugees, this leverage has decreased. Due to the refugee deal with Turkey the EU has mixed the European accession process with the refugee situation. The Turkey deal contains ‘solutions’ – which Amnesty does not qualify as solutions in accordance with EU’s own human rights obligations. Part of the deal is that the Turks get visa free travelling as of the end of June in return. However an EU officer has commented that at the moment Turkey complies to only 35 of the 72 conditions for visa-free traveling. At the same time the Turkish authorities have stated that if the deal for visa-free traveling does not pass through in June, the Turkey deal as a whole will not pass through. The question is whether Turkey is a safe third-country. Can Europe send refugees back to Turkey? Refugees need protection. They need to receive a refugee status, they need to be guaranteed that they will not be sent back to where they fled from and in the end they need the guarantee of a future in that third country. In the case of Turkey, Syrian refugees fall under a temporary protection measure. There are now already 2,7 million Syrians in Turkey. In the deal it is arranged that for every Syrian refugee that risks his life on the Mediterranean Sea and is sent back to Turkey, there will be a resettlement place in Europe with a maximum of 72.000. It is both odd and absolutely absurd that a person that has the same right to life as every other citizen of Europe needs to first risk their life in order to give someone else a resettlement place. The resettlement places should have been there anyway. Compared


to the numbers of refugees in Turkey and many other countries surrounding Syria, the number settled in Europe is minimal. Europe has been looking away from these issues for far too long, it has not taken any responsibility in the past years. So we can be critical towards Turkey on the question whether it is a safe third country, since this deal it seems as if Turkey has become more keen on keeping Syrian refugees outside. As regards the right to a future, work is part of that. At the moment the conditions set for work permits are rigorous, which makes it difficult for most refugee Syrians to obtain work legally. This causes their participation in the black market, which restricts the possibility for protection. With this Turkey-deal the EU breaches its own rules on asylum and also many other human rights treaties. Do you think the protection of universal human rights have failed in this matter? I don’t think that it is human rights that have failed, I think that the political leaders have failed. There is a great amount of real-politics going on. The weird thing is that when Amnesty published its reports on Syrians being sent back to Syria it got denied. Further research is needed, they said in Dutch Parliament. While in the meantime the NOS confirmed the story. The Prime Minister said that the responsibility to solve these problems lies with the European Commission. Politicians simply don’t have the will to do something about it. In the end Europe doesn’t take its responsibility to protect refugees, who are not very different from you and I. Countries such as Lebanon and Jordan have received many refugees. While Europe has so much more wealth and higher standards of living than these countries. You could say that the EU’s credibility is decreasing every day. After having fought so hard for human rights and after we all agreed on these standards (many Islamist countries including Turkey), Europe turns its head from these responsibilities when they don’t serve their needs. Which is very troubling.


Have there been any cases Amnesty witnessed with a positive result in Turkey? We cannot claim results solely. An evaluation showed that lawyers and victims stated that public pressure like trial observation is working. What we do know for sure is that the victims feel supported because of Amnesty’s presence. It gives them hope that the trial will be fair. For us that is most important. How do you think the Dutch government has been reacting to these problems? Have they been handling it well in your opinion? The Netherlands is now chairing the EU and it has had an important share in the creation of the refugee-deal. I think that Europe has little leverage towards Turkey, it has been very dependent on Turkey to stop the refugee flow. Because that is there main aim, instead of protecting refugees. As stated before, Amnesty finds the deal morally bankrupt. What advice could you give to our readers that are interested in working for NGOs such as Amnesty? Try to gain relevant work experience during your student years. Participate in relevant projects and show what you can do besides getting good grades, particularly on social aspects. Start asap with CV building. As for Amnesty, becoming involved locally with Amnesty for example gives the organisation insight in who you are and what your qualities are.




With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Do France’s New Emergency Powers Pose A Threat? BY NICOLE RÖMER EDITORIAL BOARD, UTRECHT JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL AND EUROPEAN LAW

“Je suis Charlie.” Short but sweet; this phrase was coined as a response to the 7 January 2015 attack on the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Before long, it saw itself practically transformed into a battle cry, with supporters of freedom of speech and freedom of the press shouting it from the rooftops. But what has happened since then? Tragically, France found itself struck yet

again on 13 November 2015 in so-called “Paris Attacks.” What followed from this series of attacks is a nationwide state of emergency within the French Republic as well as the extension of the government’s emergency powers. As we all know, however, with great power comes great responsibility, and as these emergency powers are granted, one has to wonder at what cost.



After declaring a state of emergency on November 13, the French government made quick work of redefining the outdated emergency powers (which hail from the 1950s). Additionally, the state of emergency was extended until 26 February 2016. The newly extended emergency powers allow, inter alia, for law enforcement officials to conduct house raids and searches without a warrant and to place individuals under house arrest without authorization from a judge. Furthermore, any computer files that are found may be seized, and any websites believed to glorify or encourage terrorism may be blocked. In early February, the state of emergency (and consequently the aforementioned powers) was extended until at least May 26. This decision, however, has been met with significant criticism from human rights groups and United Nations experts, who claim that the powers seriously impact fundamental freedoms, particularly the rights to liberty, freedom of movement and freedom of expression. The main point of warning is that regarding the lack of clarity and precision of certain provisions of emergency laws. As an example, the Minister of the Interior is given the power to “take any measure to ensure

the interruption of any online public communication service that incites the commission of terrorist acts or glorifies them.” Lacking significantly precise limits, this particular provision could give rise to the blocking of entire Internet services as a means to restrict access to speech that “glorifies” terrorist acts, a term that is also insufficiently precise in and of itself. As a result, the Human Rights Watch urges France to apply these broad new powers in as narrow and limited a manner as possible so as to avoid gross violations of the fundamental freedoms currently at risk. Western Europe research at the Human Rights Watch Izza Leghtas firmly states: “Now, more than ever, France should be irreproachable in its respect for human rights. Excessive restrictions would be a gift to those who seek to instill fear, undermine democratic values, and hollow out the rule of law in France and in Europe.” And thus, as the war against terrorism wages on, perhaps we must ask ourselves: how far are we willing to go in the name of peace?






Russia vs. The West

The unfair portrayal of Russia by the media BY JULIE ALBERS Symposium: The (un)fair portrayal of Russia by the media Communism versus capitalism, Russia versus the United States, Ukraine versus the Crimea. Every day we are indoctrinated with stories about Russia’s dangerous strategy in foreign politics. But is it really that bad compared to the West? And do our media actually portray the two stories on an equally objective basis? Open any Dutch or other western newspaper, and chances are high that you will find some article about Russia’s next outrageous move in foreign politics. To mention a few: there is the ongoing issue of the annexation of the Crimea, the pro-Russian separatists in the Ukraine, or the role Russia is playing in Syria by bombing non-IS targets. But as goes for everything, it is hard to distinguish what we believe because of the way the media portrays it, and what is true. This made us wonder if the perspective of the western media changes when it covers on the one hand foreign politics and intervention in foreign conflicts by Russia, and on the other hand by the West – in particular the USA. Which part of the stories has been biased by our

rock-solid belief in capitalism and western values, and which part is an actual portrayal of reality? And, just as important, what is the stance of the Russian media in this respect? So that is why the symposium committee is organising its second – and last – symposium of the year! We have invited speakers with varying backgrounds, so we will be able to present you with an overview as broadly as possible. The political perspective will be offered by Han ten Broeke, who is a member of parliament for the VVD. After a long and extensive career in politics, he is now spokesman for Foreign Affairs and he chairs the Committee for Defense. Next up is Russia expert drs. Marie-Thérèse ter Haar. She has lived in Russia for more than twenty years and still returns yearly for a couple of months. It is too much to name all the things she has done, but most importantly, she has founded the Empirique Russia & Eastern Europe Academy, where courses and lectures are offered on various subjects. She strives to convene an image as complete as possible about the country to build a bridge between Eastern and Western Europe.

Our third speaker is Hella Rottenberg, former Moscow-correspondent for de Volkskrant. She is an Eastern Europe specialist, and covered the end of communism in 1989. Together with two other journalists, she has recently launched the knowledge platform ‘Window on Russia’. This is well on its way to become an institution about Russia, where facts and debates will be analysed in an objective manner to develop a more sound understanding of the Russian order. She will therefore tell us more about the perspective of Russian media. More speakers will be announced soon, but it already promises to be an exciting and eye-opening evening. Hopefully our understanding of this influential and mysterious country will be broadened, and we will become more critical of the media. So all there is left to say is: we would be truly honoured if you would join us! All members are warmly invited to join our symposium. It will take place on May 26th in the evening (the location is still to be announced). Keep an eye on our facebook page and don’t forget to sign up!







Movie Review By Judith Bel

HBO Documentary Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech

If we think of the United States, many things may come up. One of these things might be ‘the American dream’: the freedom and endless possibilities that the average American enjoys. As a Dutch person you might not necessarily be impressed by the amount of freedom and opportunities that is supposed to come with this ‘American Dream’. Yet, this freedom does play a big part in the United States and their political and legal system. We all read about the Second Amendmend related to gun laws all

the time, but even before that, we find that the First Amendment is related to the freedom of expression:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”



Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech is a HBO documentary that shows some of the history and current and past cases that exist around this freedom of speech given to the people by the First Amendment. Most of this is in related to 9/11 and the effects that this shocking event had on the people of the United States and their views in general and around Free Speech. The documentary is partly filmed in a personal setting, with the director of the documentary interviewed her own father. The cases are very diverse yet all follow the theme of free speech. One of them, for example, is the story of Ward Churchill, as Colorado University professor that expressed some controversial opinions on the role of America related to 9/11 in his lectures. This was all legal, yet there were so many people that disagreed with Churchill teaching these things, that the University eventually


yielded for this political pressure and looked through all Churchill’s researches and lectures to find mistakes on which they could dismiss the professor. Another case explains how the reputation of an Arab woman that was just about to be the principal of a new opening school in Brooklyn, got ruined. Her words got so twisted in the press that she was eventually portrayed as someone who supported violence. Because of the freedom of press that exists in America, there was nothing to do except for her to step back from her position. The documentary furthermore talks about controversial topics as free speech at high schools and Nazism, as well as the impact of the leaking of the Pentagon Papers in the Vietnam war. It also addresses how the Patriot Act gives the government more opportunities to limit several freedoms of the American citizens, and why this could be a bad thing.




By Natasha McArdle-Ismaguilova

A chronological history of ten people who fought (and died) for our right to freedom of speech.

Socrates, 399 BC.

Perhaps an unlikely figure for the father of free speech, Socrates nevertheless was one of the first well-known intellectual figures to fight for freedom of expression. The Greek philosopher made it his motto that “the unexamined life is not worth living” and sought to live by this by being openly critical of Athenian democracy. He continued to express his views even after being arrested by the city’s officials, claiming knowledge of the truth was more important than living in ignorance. He was subsequently sentenced to death by poison, but died with the conviction that he had never given up his ideal of free speech.

George Washington, 1789. The first president of the United States is also often thought of as the founding father of freedom of speech, the influence of which we still see today in the US. He once quipped “if the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” This strong conviction led the way for America’s free press, where independent newspapers were encouraged to emerge as opposed to government published ones. This led to the creation of newspapers such as the National Gazette which was openly against Washington’s administration. Nevertheless, on the principle of freedom of speech it was allowed and even encouraged to stand.





Mikhail Gorbachev, 1990. The former president of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev oversaw the transition from Communism to democracy in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, paving the way for greater freedom of speech. His main contribution to this was the instigation of ‘Glasnost’, meaning ‘clarity’. This programme sought to promote religious freedom and particularly sought to end restrictions on free speech. The press became far less controlled and encouraged openness and sharing of information with its citizens. This development was branded “socialism with a human face”.

4 3

Richard Handyside, 1972.

Another unlikely hero- this story began when Handyside purchased British rights to the infamous “Little Red Schoolbook”. In July 1971, the books were seized all over the UK for containing blasphemous material- amongst which schoolchildren were advised on how to take drugs and consume alcohol. Handyside refused to go down without a fight- in 1972, he lodged an appeal at the European Court of Human Rights for violation of Article 10, the right to freedom of expression. Sadly, it was ruled there was no violation due to measures being proportionate and legitimate, but the case left its legacy: “Freedom of applicable not only to ‘information’ or ‘ideas’ that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population”. This vital conclusion paved the way for many later successful cases on freedom of speech.

Jillian York, 2000s. Jillian York is an American free-speech writer and activist and Director of Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Her prime concerns relate to freedom of expression in the digital age and how we can protect this to the fullest extent. She is also an outspoken critic of the mass surveillance undertaken by the NSA and other governments. The EFF was one of the early organisers of The Day We Fight Back, a recent world-wide online campaign calling for new laws to curtail mass surveillance. She continues to tweet, write and debate daily, allowing ordinary people unfamiliar with such concepts to become acquainted with her work.






Anna Politkovskaya, 2006.

The “McLibel case”, 2005. Famous for being the longest-running case in English history, the case concerned the right of two environmental activists to publish a pamphlet criticising the McDonalds corporation. The pamphlet, originally distributed in 1986, was claimed by McDonalds to be libel and thus began a gruelling tenyear court battle to figure out who was right. Throughout the ten years, the two activists had to periodically turn down bribes and offers for settlements by McDonalds by insisting that people hearing the truth about McDonalds was far more important. The Courts eventually ruled in favour of McDonalds. However, there was a light at the end of the tunnel- on 15 February 2005, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the original case had breached the Article 10 right to freedom of expression and ordered the UK government to pay the activists a not insignificant sum of compensation. At the end of the day, the principle remained that the law must protect the public right to criticise corporations whose business practices affect people’s lives and the environment and fair and open criticism of large corporations must be allowed.


On 7 October 2006, the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was found dead in the lobby of her apartment building. Anna was well-known for her criticisms of Russia’s actions in Chechnya and the pro-Russia Chechen government. When news of the assassination broke it triggered an outcry of criticism of Russia in the Western media, with accusations that Putin has failed to protect the country’s new independent media. Many Russians now regard her as a martyr for free speech, giving them renewed hope to keep fighting.





Chelsea Manning, 2010.

Julian Assange, 2006. Julian Assange is perhaps one of the most well-known contemporary fighters for freedom of speech. After co-founding WikiLeaks in 2006, he dedicated his life to publishing secret reports and information, including war logs and secret diplomatic conversations. In 2010 US authorities began investigation of his works, eventually meaning Assange was forced to seek political asylum under the Ecuadorean embassy. Despite allegations of rape, Assange continues to be a huge influence on many freedom of speech advocates. As of December 2015, US investigations are ongoing and the story therefore continues.


Another notorious WikiLeaks case, Manning was arrested in 2010 due to allegations of passing along US army classified information to the organisation. In 2013, she was sentenced to 35 years’ imprisonment. The Chelsea Manning case is currently the number one priority of free speech activists, who busy themselves with lobbying efforts to free her from imprisonment.


Malala Yousafzai, 2012. Towards the end of 2012, a schoolgirl from northwest Pakistan was shot several times in an assassination attempt by the Taliban over blog posts written by her when she was just 12 years old criticising the Taliban for not allowing girls to attend school. Almost overnight, this young schoolgirl became the household name Malala Yousafzai. Having survived her attackers, Malala began campaigning for equal rights for women and children. Her triumph in the face of violence showed



WHAT CAN YOU DO? Ways to contribute to a world with more freedom of expression

By Judith Bel

Luckily, most places where the freedom of speech is largely violated are far from the places where we live. This does make it more difficult for us to do our fair share in helping these people, yet there still ways in which we can contribute to a better world, where the freedom of expression is not so widely violated. The people that become victims of the violation of this

right, are usually political prisoners locked up in their country for expressing things that their government did not approve of. This is why most of the things on this list are related to freeing these political prisoners. Things that are useful for helping these people mostly revolve around helping charities with money or publicity – using our free speech to help create more freedom of speech in the world.




Sign a petition

There are many petitions around that are raising awareness about political prisoners and trying to eventually free these people by convincing governments to do so. You can easily find them on websites like or on the websites of charities that are (partly) related to political prisoners such as Amnesty or Human Rights Watch. Even though it is not always clear that petitions actually make a change every time they reach their goal, this still is a very easy way to contribute.

Write a letter

This might be like a petition, yet you have more of your own control to it: writing a letter to a state official that could be of power when it comes to the political prisoners. This could be the prime minister of an ambassador of the foreign country where political prisoners are held, yet is could also be the minister of foreign affairs in your own country. This way, you can try to get in contact with the people that are in charge, or the people that could have more power to change the situation than you do.

Become a volunteer

While the volunteering positions will not get you to be able to literally free these people from prison right away, helping a charity with their fundraising and other activities can be a great help in how much change they can make. More


people volunteering usually leads to more people donating and thus the organization might be able to operate on a bigger scale and have more result.

Donate to a charity

An obvious one: find a charity that appeals you and donate. Amnesty is the obvious one, but there a different ones around with different projects that maybe serve the cause you want to reach. They might use your money to take action in the country itself and reach people that you possibly could not.

Spread the word

This is more of a publicity one, yet a lot of charities list it as a very important way that you would be able to help them: spread the word. You can tell your friends, but you can alsoeven write articles or host events to raise awareness – the charities will be more than happy with your effort. More publicity, thus more people against these political prisoners can eventually create a movement that can make a change, especially if you urge these people to take actions like the ones above. The more power that is with the people and the charities, the more pressure they can put on the governments and the more change they can create.



Urios Lustrum 2016







Meet Stanny, she is a member of the activities committee and currently finishing her bachelor of Laws. She is has a lot of different interests varying from IT to family law, so she has not decided which master she will start after she is graduated. She joined Urios to experience the practical side of international law; getting an idea about what kind of career opportunities this field of law has to offer. Another reason for joining the association was going on various trips with Urios and this year she can proudly say that she and her fellow committee members made it possible for us to go on the big trip to Israel. The greatest accomplishment of the committee she says. ‘’Organising a trip for a group of 22 people and visit two different cities in a week takes a lot of time! We wanted to make sure there is a good balance between the formal visits and informal activities. At this very moment the last arrangements are being made and hopefully the trip will be a big success.’’ If she was given the opportunity to organize an activity in the future if anything were possible, she would want to organize a visit to an intergovernmental organization like the United Nations! Within the committee they have a golden rule, anyone who is late to a meeting has to pay a round of beers next time they go out. She highly recommends this system to other committees as well! Hopefully someone is late in their next meeting, so they can get the members drink started!!


Curious - Urios Magazine Vol. 1 Issue 4 April 2016 Editors Roos Bos, Judith Bel, Natasha McArdle-Ismaguilova, Alina Chakh, Sofia van Dijk Address Janskerkhof 3 3512BK Utrecht The Netherlands Copyright The copyrights of the articles, photographs and pictures are reserved to the authors and artists. Nothing in this issue may in any way be duplicated or made public without permission from the authors.

Curious #4  

Curious Urios Magazine Volume 1 Issue 4 April 2016

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