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FIM Vice President Roméo Dika in danger

Roméo Dika

Since he left the Presidential polit­i­cal par­ty, Cameroonian musi­cian Roméo Dika – also pres­i­dent of musi­cians union SYCAMU and FIM Vice President – has been the sub­ject of seri­ous intim­i­da­tion in his coun­try. Today, he fears for his safe­ty and that of his fam­i­ly.

As well as free­dom of expres­sion, free­dom of opin­ion is an essen­tial val­ue in Democracy. Like the entire trade union move­ment, FIM is deeply attached to the pro­tec­tion of this fun­da­men­tal free­dom and wish­es to express here its most pro­found con­cern.
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Egypt | Freedom of expression undermined once again

Mahraganat concert

President of the Egyptian Musicians’ Union Hany Shaker has once more made the head­lines by depriv­ing sev­er­al of his mem­bers of the right to per­form their art, judged to be incom­pat­i­ble with pub­lic morals.

In 2016, the same Shaker had already exclud­ed six women musi­cians accused of wear­ing inde­cent cloth­ing and per­form­ing las­civ­i­ous pos­es dur­ing their stage per­for­mances. This time, it is a style of music which has come under fire, a style that is increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar in the coun­try: the mahra­ganat, an elec­tric folk music which, to begin with, orig­i­nat­ed in the poor­est dis­tricts.
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Statement of support to imprisoned Iranian artists

Iranian artists

The International Federation of Musicians (FIM) is deeply con­cerned about the impris­on­ment of Iranian artists Mehdi Rajabian (musi­cian) and Hossein Rajabian (film­mak­er), who were joint­ly sen­tenced to six years in prison and fined IRR 2 bil­lion (about USD 66,650) each for “insult­ing the sacred” and “pro­pa­gan­da against the state” through the pro­duc­tion and pro­mo­tion of under­ground music. Iranian musi­cian Yousef Emadi was sen­tenced in the same case but remains at lib­er­ty.

The Rajabian broth­ers were impris­oned on 5 June 2016. They began their sec­ond hunger strike on 28 October 2016.
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ILO | Workers’ Group Statement on Human and Trade Union Rights in Egypt

ILO HQ (Geneva)

On 4 February 2016 the life­less body of Giulio Regeni, a 28-​year-​old Italian PhD stu­dent from Cambridge University, was found in Cairo. Giulio’s death was announced ten days after his dis­ap­pear­ance in mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances. His body was cov­ered in cuts, bruis­es and scars, proof that he was a vic­tim of tor­ture.

Giulio Regeni was research­ing social devel­op­ment in Egypt, focus­ing in par­tic­u­lar on dif­fer­ent forms of free­dom of expres­sion and asso­ci­a­tion, work­ers’ rights and the con­di­tions under which inde­pen­dent organ­i­sa­tions in the coun­try oper­at­ed.
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FIM condemns the decision of the Egyptian Musicians Union’s President to suspend 6 singers

FIM Logo

The fight for the right to free­dom of expres­sion is inher­ent to the labour move­ment his­to­ry. The Declaration of Philadelphia, adopt­ed at the 26th ses­sion of the ILO on 10 May 1944 and referred to in Article 1 of the ILO Constitution, states that “[…] Freedom of expres­sion and of asso­ci­a­tion are essen­tial to sus­tained progress […]”.

ILO Convention 87 on “Freedom of asso­ci­a­tion and the right to organ­ise”, one of the most impor­tant ILO con­ven­tions for the recog­ni­tion of work­ers’ fun­da­men­tal rights, includes a ref­er­ence to this state­ment in its pre­am­ble.
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Egypt | Union president Hani Shaker suspends six singers from performing

Hani Shaker

Hani Shaker, con­tro­ver­sial pres­i­dent of the Egyptian Musicians Union, has issued a deci­sion to sus­pend six singers from their right to work as artists based on their behav­iour dur­ing per­for­mances, report­ed Al Arabya News.

Shaker stat­ed that their behav­iour was not in line with pub­lic morals as they wore “body reveal­ing clothes” and act­ed “racy” and “sex­u­al­ly sug­ges­tive” on stage, includ­ing danc­ing while singing, to “delib­er­ate­ly stir instincts and desires”.

Shaker stat­ed that their behav­iour was not in line with pub­lic morals

The sus­pend­ed singers were Karima Gamal Ahmed, Nema Adel known as “Shahd”, Nahed Adel known as “Lamis”, Yasmin Yusri known as “Farah”, Dalia Yusef known as “Sandy”, and Fatma Jaber known as “Fifi”.
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FIM and SYCAMU file a joint complaint with the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association against the Cameroon government

ILO HQ (Geneva)

On 18 January 2016, FIM and the Cameroon Musicians’ Union (SYCAMU) offi­cial­ly filed a com­plaint with the International Labour Organization’s Committee on Freedom of Association for breach by the Cameroon gov­ern­ment of ILO’s Convention 87.

Last September, FIM sent a let­ter to the President of the Republic of Cameroon ask­ing him to oppose the deci­sion of his Prime Minister, Mr Philémon Yang, to order the Labour Minister to impose a ban on SYCAMU, which was reproached with being in breach of its own rules by organ­is­ing a meet­ing aimed at cre­at­ing a col­lect­ing soci­ety, since SOCAM (pre­vi­ous­ly in charge of man­ag­ing copy­right and relat­ed rights for music) had ceased its activ­i­ty.
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Iran must drop charges on two musicians and a filmmaker

Iranian artists

Whilst the world focus­es on the lift­ing of sanc­tions and Iran’s pris­on­er swap with the US, many artists remain impris­oned in Iran.

Mehdi Rajabian, a musi­cian and founder of BargMusic, an alter­na­tive music dis­trib­u­tor in Iran, along with his film­mak­er broth­er Hossein Rajabian and musi­cian Yousef Emadi, were joint­ly sen­tenced to six years in prison and fined 200 mil­lion tomans (about USD 66,650) each for “insult­ing the sacred” and “pro­pa­gan­da against the state” in May 2015.

The three were first arrest­ed in 2013.
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