From the 21th to the 25th of February The Hague Peace Projects will host the 3rd edition of The Hague Freedom Book Fair at Het Koorenhuis in The Hague. It is much more than a book fair: it is a space for reflection, networking, debate and about the importance of having the right to freely express yourself.
Worldwide, freedom of expression is under severe pressure and in many countries it is already completely absent. It has become a global trend to clamp down on minority opinions, human rights defenders and all those who dare to publicly criticize authorities. In many countries books are banned, media is censored and controlled, journalists, academics, artists and activists are subject to threats and persecution and sometimes even murdered. In May 2017 Amnesty International stated that: “While the world’s powerful are increasingly using toxic narratives of fear and division casting collective blame for social ills onto minority groups, those who dare to make a stand against injustice and defend human rights are under attack.”
The Hague Freedom Book Fair aims to contribute to widening the spaces for writers, thinkers, journalists, artists, activists and citizens in those countries with an increasingly hostile and repressive environment towards free expression. There will be various activities over the course of the five days, such as book presentations, cultural evenings, movie screenings and panel discussions. The Book Fair is a place where writers, journalists, human right activists, artists and civilians from all over the world can discuss, connect, debate, initiate a dialogue, celebrate their work and raise awareness for their cause.
The Hague Freedom Book Fair started in 2016 as an initiative to atract public attention to the situation of the Bangladeshi bloggers and minorities that had been targeted by Muslim extremists during that period. The then called “Bangladesh Alternative Book Fair” was organized in memory of Avijit Roy and other Bangladeshi writers and free thinkers who got killed from 2013 till 2016 and in solidarity with the persecuted and exiled Bangladeshi writers who were unable to be present at their beloved Ekushey Book Fair in Bangladesh. The second edition in 2017 expanded its theme to oppressed voices around the world, including countries such as Somalia, Turkey and LGBT rights in religious countries.
See for program, tickets an all other information: freedombookfair.com