Hivos International

Secularism

The topics of human rights and civil society provoke a lively debate on both sides of the Mediterranean. It is important to underline the fact that in the political arena these two issues are particularly emotive. This publication examines this synergy, looking at the role of external participants (in this case, Europeans) in promoting democratic values, and looking at the reception that has been given to this “interference” by official bodies of the societies in question. The debates and contradictions concerning the issue of human rights and the use to which it has been put – neutral or self-interested – explain the feelings of reticence and suspicion.

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