Our voices matter right now. At a time when some politicians in Europe are trying to divide communities with fear, hate and prejudice; to demonise people seeking safety; to stigmatise and incite hatred against minorities; and allowing the destruction of our environment, many of us are worried about what the future holds.
People are coming together across Europe in their neighborhoods, communities and across nations to build the societies we want to live in, which are based on fairness, respect for our environment, and where people are equal and treat each other with compassion.
We are calling on Europe’s leaders and election candidates to commit to change the direction of politics away from fear, towards hope. We call on them to commit to a Europe where human rights are enjoyed by everyone, and to deliver on this promise, if elected.
Protecting free and fair societies: We are witnessing an increasing offensive on our rights, with some governments trying to suppress civil society activism and undermine structures and institutions which exist to protect our freedoms. We stand for free and fair societies, where people can express themselves freely, love who they want, join any peaceful organisation they choose, stand up and protest peacefully, access free media and seek justice in free and fair courts; and where those who speak out and defend human rights both at home, and globally, are recognised, supported, protected and celebrated.
Acting now for climate justice: As climate change ravages forests, raises temperatures, decimates ice caps and batters at shore lines, globally we are facing unprecedented challenges which threaten our future and put our health, housing, water, security and more, at risk. Although developing countries are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, Europe’s people will be hard hit and our failures to reduce climate change impacts on people around the world. We live in one of the most polluting regions in the world, but our governments are failing to step up in the face of this crisis, instead prioritising the interests of corporations who profit from the status quo. We stand for a European Union that takes immediate, ambitious and decisive action to protect the environment, including by ending the use of fossil fuels, shifting to renewable energy, promoting a just transition to a zero-carbon economy, supporting developing countries to respond to climate change and recognising and celebrating those who lead peaceful marches and actions against climate change.
Welcoming and protecting people: While people around the world continue to be displaced as a result of war, persecution, climate change and massive inequalities, our governments are letting them drown, turning them away or leaving them in squalor. We stand for societies that are based on solidarity; guarantee safe passage and a fair asylum process; are welcoming and offer protection to those who need it.
Ensuring equality for all: We are all born equal, yet we are being treated differently. Many politicians use misogyny, racism, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia to divide our communities, and deny us our rights. Many of us are being targeted with hate simply because of who we are, how we look, or where we come from. Gender-based violence, including sexual violence, remains widespread across the European Union, and in some countries, women are not allowed to make decisions about their own bodies and health or otherwise denied their sexual and reproductive rights. We want to live in societies that combat hatred and all forms of oppression; that treat everyone justly and with dignity; that champion human rights and gender equality; that guarantee us freedom from violence and control over our bodies and lives.
Defending everybody’s dignity: Millions of people in Europe continue to pay the high cost of the 2008 economic crisis, including the impact of our governments’ austerity policies, which have reduced public spending on health, education, housing, pensions and other social services. These policies have undermined access to economic and social rights, widened inequalities, and disproportionately affected marginalised groups. EU economic policies must never undermine our countries’ ability to realise human rights, including the right to health, education, housing, and work. Our representatives must ensure that tax policies are progressive and reduce rather than increase inequality. We stand for a European Union that leaves no one behind; where everyone’s economic, social and cultural rights are protected, and where people can look after themselves and their families in dignity.
We stand for societies that work for all of us. At this crossroads, we, people across Europe, will raise our voices for hope, not fear. So that a fairer Europe can contribute to a fairer world.