IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) has announced that the 2024 World Library and Information Congress will take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
This is a disgraceful decision. Neither the regime of Dubai nor the United Arab Emirates respect fundamental human rights, women's rights or the freedom of speech. Furthermore, LGBTQI people are, by law, systematically persecuted and harshly punished.
This is not the first time IFLA has made a highly questionable choice of host for their annual congress. In 2018 the congress was held in Malaysia, another country with a regime well-known for its disregard of basic human rights. The very same week as the IFLA congress took place, two women were publicly caned for homosexual activities in the country.
It is unfathomable that IFLA has once again chosen a country and region whose regimes thoroughly disregard basic human rights to host their “flagship annual event”. Thus, effectively also making it impossible for many potential participants to attend due to very real safety and security concerns.
IFLA’s repeated lack of concern for values which libraries around the world work hard every day to foster and maintain, combined with the past years’ serious problems within the organisation, is deeply regrettable.
DIK will not attend the 2024 congress. We will instead think long and hard about whether we believe there is still hope for a positive and lasting change, or if it is time for DIK to part ways with IFLA. A global voice for libraries must stand firm in its defence of the freedom of speech and fundamental human rights for all.
Anna Troberg, Chairman of the Board, DIK (the Swedish Union for Librarians)