ADF Win for Free Speech in Brussels

The importance of vigilance in the defence of freedom of speech was on display in Brussels last week thanks to a last-minute legal effort from the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Brussels was the host venue for the National Conservatism conference on 17-18th April.

Organisers faced censorship threats from the outset. They had difficulty finding a venue, with two locations falling through due to political pressure. Then, having found a venue and with the conference underway, local mayor Emir Kir ordered the conference shut down.

The action was a direct violation of the EU’s conventions on freedom of speech and assembly, and Mayor Kir was very clear that the reason for shutting down the event was due to the political content of the program.

The shut-down order specifically cited the fact that the conference was “conservative” and hostile to “abortion and same-sex marriage” and included speakers who are “euroskeptic”.

The ADF defends fundamental freedoms across North America and Europe and throughout the world. When police arrived at the conference on April 17 to shut down the venue, they sprung into action:

ADF International worked around the clock to lead an emergency legal challenge to the censorship, and at 2:30 a.m., the highest court in Belgium issued a favorable ruling for free speech that allowed the conference to resume. Still, the incident underscores the tenuous state of free speech in Europe.

The conference continued and proved to be a great success, but it was the quick and effective legal work of the ADF that made it possible.

HRLA shares ADF’s commitment to fundamental freedoms including speech, religion, belief, and assembly and stands ready to defend those freedoms for all Australians.