activists in ukraine Kirill Kudryavtsev/Getty Images

Repressie is terug van weggeweest

BERLIJN – Regeringen over de hele wereld nemen draconische stappen om organisaties in het maatschappelijk middenveld te onderdrukken, met maatregelen variërend van restrictieve wetten en bureaucratische lasten tot lastercampagnes, censuur, en regelrechte repressie door inlichtingendiensten of de politie. Wat de middelen ook mogen zijn, regeringen willen het werk van politieke-, sociale-, en milieuactivisten verstoren in een mate die sinds vijfentwintig jaar geleden het communisme in elkaar stortte in Europa niet meer voorgekomen is.

Vanzelfsprekend zullen regeringen zeer uiteenlopende redenen aanvoeren om de repressie van Non-gouvernementele organisaties (Ngo’s) en andere groepen uit het maatschappelijk middenveld te rechtvaardigen; veiligheidsoverwegingen, zoals in betrekking tot terrorisme, worden momenteel het meest gehoord. Maar de realiteit is dat veiligheidsrisico’s – die zeker reëel kunnen zijn – geen excuses zijn voor het soort overkoepelende verdachtmaking die regeringen gebruiken als voorwendsel om onafhankelijke organisaties het zwijgen op te leggen of te verbieden.

Deze troeblerende trend lijkt geen overwaaiend fenomeen te zijn, maar een teken van fundamentele veranderingen in de internationale geopolitiek. Een van de meest belangrijke hiervan is de groeiende nadruk op ‘soevereiniteit’ in opkomende economieën, van Egypte tot Thailand.

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