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29th April 2019, 14:37:43 UTC

Your voice matters. You have the right to say what you think, express your hopes and wishes and demand a better world. You have the right to agree or disagree with those in power, and to peacefully protest.

But in parts of Europe the freedom to do this is being restricted by governments who are afraid to be challenged.

In Poland, many people have been put under surveillance. Hundreds have faced fines and legal action simply for gathering and protesting against the restriction of their rights.

Hungarian authorities are trying to silence critical voices. New laws have come in to criminalise people working to help refugees and migrants and to make it extremely hard for NGOs to operate.

This pattern of targeting NGOs and people showing solidarity with refugees and migrants is not limited to Hungary. Several countries in Europe are taking steps to slander and even criminalise such solidarity. In Italy, NGOs helping to rescue people crossing the central Mediterranean have faced a smear campaign and investigations. In France, we have seen cases of people facing criminal action for helping refugees.

And in other attempts to further restrict our freedoms, there has been widespread securitisation across Europe with the expansion of counter-terrorism powers, which has seen a shift from governments providing security so people can enjoy their rights, to governments restricting people’s rights in the name of security.

There are people who won’t stand for it and fight for the societies we live in to be free and fair for everyone.

What better reason is there to raise your voice, than to protect the very right of people to do so?

• Make some noise – share Zofia’s story by sharing this page
• Follow #TurnItUp and raise your voice for the right to say what you think
• Let your candidates know what you want by raising your voice ahead of the EU elections


Note that Amnesty International is not encouraging people to vote for or against any candidates, parties or groups in this election. Also, in Ireland, Amnesty International is not calling on people to vote, due to the constraints of Ireland’s Electoral Act’s ‘third party’ provisions as potentially applying to NGOs.