JOINT STATEMENT “End the war against Ukraine!”

JOINT STATEMENT “End the war against Ukraine!” #StandWithUkraine

Please follow the link here or below to sign this letter. Also, please help it to reach more people by sharing it with your networks and on your social media.

Date: 1st of March 2022

Roma individuals, civil society organisations, and allies from across the globe; we condemn the war against Ukraine and call on the Russian Federation to cease the attacks and acts of violence against Ukraine.

This war is not only a threat to European security and peace, it is a violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws under treaties ratified by the Russian Federation. This act of violence has already led to far too many deaths on both sides and continues to force hundreds of thousands of citizens to seek refuge in neighbouring countries while many others are stuck in conflict zones where missiles, bombs, and gunfire are a daily occurrence.

As signatories, we call in solidarity for peace and diplomatic relations to return.

From the Second World War to the Balkan Wars of the late 1990s, history has shown us that in times of war or conflict, the plight of Roma as well as other minorities is continuously ignored. Ethnic minorities are often rendered invisible and further victimised instead of being provided equal protection. Amid bomb and missile assaults upon Ukrainian cities, let us not yet again forget that among the stranded families (who are increasingly living without supplies, electricity, or medical equipment) are Roma, people of African descent, stateless people, migrants, women, elderly, sick people, differently-abled human beings, children, including those in state care. Let us not forget that amongst those joining the resistance to fight for the freedom and security of Ukraine, and all its residents, are those same people.

As we have already witnessed in countries around the world, people of all nationalities are standing in solidarity with the civilians affected by war once again in Europe. Let us collectively fight for peace, justice and integrity by continuing to be united in taking a stand against the horrors of war and violence.

As signatories, we call on:

  • Relevant authorities to ensure that the 400,000 Roma and other vulnerable and marginalised individuals, including women, elderly, sick people, differently-abled human beings, children, including those in state care, detainees, stateless people (among them 35,000 stateless Roma), migrants, including the estimated 15,000 students from African and Asian countries living in Ukraine are granted equal protection and safety when seeking refuge inside and outside of the country.
  • Governments, world leaders, international, regional and European institutions and organisations to provide equal access to humanitarian aid for Roma, and other marginalised or vulnerable individuals (including ethnic, religious, sexual, and racialised minorities, women, elderly, sick people, differently-abled human beings, children, including those in state care, detainees, stateless and those without identity documents).  
  • Governments, world leaders, international, regional and European institutions and organisations to monitor human rights violations and violence experienced by Roma and other minorities and vulnerable and marginalised individuals and communities; and to investigate the reported allegations of discrimination against minority groups by the Ukrainian and/or EU authorities when seeking protection and asylum at the borders.
  • Media editors, journalists, and politicians to not monetise the war against Ukraine to promote inflammatory, racist portrayals of marginalised groups, including Roma. Such stories only further stigmatise and victimise minorities and promote the risk of additional violence against these groups.
  • United Nations bodies – High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Development Programme, UNICEF and other UN secretariat units – to work closely with Roma civil society organisations and take measures to ensure that Roma refugees and other minorities face no discrimination; and to provide monitoring and practical knowledge and assistance for the respect of human rights at the national level to prevent any human rights violations. 

We in civil society will continue to collect information on the situation of Roma in and out of Ukraine, including evidence of allegations of discrimination or other human rights violations and to keep relevant European, international institutions and treaty bodies informed.

Please consider joining us by signing this letter. To do so follow this link.

Additionally, advocacy letters were sent by ERGO Network to the European Union and United Nations. See more information here.

Signatures:

Members and former Members of European Parliament:

Romeo Franz, Member of the European Parliament
Monika Vana, Member of the European Parliament
Dr. Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, Member of the European Parliament
Terry Reintke, Member of the European Parliament
Soraya Post, Sweden, former Member of the European Parliament

International organisations:

European Roma Grassroots Organisations (ERGO) Network
European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC)
European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC)
Phiren Amenca International Network
Global Forum of Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent (GFoD)
European Public Health Alliance, Belgium
ternYpe International Roma Youth Network
Dikh He Na Bister (Look and don’t Forget) – Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative
CEU Roma Students and Alumni Association
International Roma Women Network Phenjalipe
Dikhlo Collective

National Organisations:

Minority Rights Group International, Hungary
Minority Rights Group International, United Kingdom
Central Council for German Sinti and Roma, Germany
Roma Active Albania, Albania
Art Foundation Jaw Dikh, Poland
Amaro Drom e.V., Germany
ROMEA, Czech Republic
ARA ART, Czech Republic
ARA ART SK, Slovakia
RomanoNet, Czech Republic
KaskoSan Roma Charity, United Kingdom
Roma Support Group, United Kingdom
Life Together, Czech Republic
E-Romnja Association, Romania
Regional Roma Educational Youth Association, North Macedonia
Amare Phrala – Our Brothers, Romania
Center for Education and Human Rights, Romania
Federation of Roma Associations in Catalonia – FAGiC, Spain
Magasin DIKKO, Sweden
Roma emancipation, Sweden
KHarkiv national cultural society Romen, Ukraine
Network for exposed EU-citizen, Sweden
Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group, UK
Amnesty International, Sweden
The Chorus of Woman Foundation, Poland
l’association choregraphique, France
Integro Association, Bulgaria
Romedia Foundation, Hungary
National Network of Health Mediators, Bulgaria
Advancing Together, Kosovo
Roma women and girls Network in Moldova ‘Moldsolidaritate’, Moldova
Roma Lawyers Association Macedonia, North Macedonia
International Falcon Movement- Socialist Educational International, Belgium
Association for Roma Women Development “Latcho Dive” Skopje, North Macedonia
Fundacja Puk Puk, Poland
Traveller Movement, UK
Pakiv Romania
Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre, Ireland
Romanó Kher, Spain
Fundatia CRCR, Romania
Forum Roma of Serbia
Community Renewal Trust Roma Team, Scotland
Fundación Secretariado Gitano, Spain
Culture Goes Europe e.V, Germany
Christian Roma Support, Netherlands
YUROM Centar, Serbia
Union Romaní española, Spain
Amalipe Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance, Bulgaria
Drive2survive, UK
The University of the West of Scotland
Voice of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians, Kosovo
Romano Lav (Roma Voice), UK
Roma Youth Organization Walk with us – Phiren Amenxa, Montenegro
Friends, Families and Travellers, UK
Advisory Council Education of Romany and Travellers, UK
Spring Pictures, UK
NGO “Association of Roma women “Voice of Romni”, Ukraine
Civil Rights Defenders, Sweden
Policy Center for Roma and Minorities, Romania
Fläming Kitchen, Info Zentrum der Winkel, Germany
individual, Hungary
Rromano Kham, Albania
Roma resource center, Croatia
Association for integrative inclusion Of Roma Otaharin, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Network of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian women organizations of Kosovo, Kosovo
Roma European Union JEKHIPE, Belgium
Roma Active Albania, Albania
NGO,,VISION 02″, Istog, Kosovë
Institute of Romani Culture in Albania, Albania
Women Space, Serbia
Youth Voice Network of Organizations, Albania
International Roma Women Fund “Chiricli”, Ukraine
AMSK/Brasil, Brasil
Luton Roma Trust, United Kingdom
Roma Women Fund “Chiricli”, Ukraine
Grandmothers without borders, Czech republic
Romedia Foundation, Hungary
Center for Roma Initiatives, Montenegro
Balkan Youth Activism, Albania
Activist, Albania
Plataforma Gitana de Acción Política Politirrom, España
Useful to Albanian Women, Albania
Irish Community Care, England
Juventas, Montenegro
CF “Winds of Changes”, Ukraine
Committe on National Minorities, Albania
European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture ERIAC, Berlin
Foundation Opre Roma for Community Empowerment, Bulgaria
Association LARGO, Bulgaria
Standing Conference of the Roma Associations of the Citizens – League of Roma, Serbia
Roma solidarity foundation, Bulgaria
Kulturno prosvetna organiziaciya na ciganite, Bulgaria Shumen
Former National Decade of Roma Inclusion Coordinator, Bulgaria
Sun for everyone, Bulgaria
RROMANE SIKLOVNE, Spain
The Health of Roma Foundation, Bulgaria
Associatina of Citizens Educational Centre of Roma, Serbia
Sdr. MAICHIN CENTAR ALTERNATIVA, Bulgaria
RAKO, Bulgaria
Roma Indian Diaspora, United Kingdom
Child Rights Centre Albania, Albania
RO -MAG, SHUMEN
ROMACT Bulgaria, Bulgaria
СНЦ “МАГ-Ботевград”
House of Lords, UK Parliament, UK
ESMA-Carrefour des Cultures, Belgique
minority rights activist, Slovenia/Belgium
Indiwidual, Indiwidual
Equal Opportunities Initiative Association, Bulgaria
Kerry Travellers’ Health Community Development Project, Ireland
Unite, Labour Party, UK
Voice of Roma in Albania, Albania
Roma Women and Youth Association “LULUDI”, Republic of North Macedonia
European Roma and Travellers Forum, France/Finland
French and Romanian Rromni, lawyer, author and activist, France
Associació Gitana de Joventut igualtat i Pogrés , Spain
INACH, Netherlands
Roma Women Platforme “ROMNI”, Moldova
Agency Drom Dromendar, Bulgaria
European Network on Statelessness (ENS), United Kingdom
Ververipen, Spain
Stowarzyszenie Romów w Polsce , Polska
National Roma Lawyers Network-Bulgaria, Bulgaria
Asociatia Nevo Parudimos, Romania
RYMEcast – Sinti & Roma Podcast, Germany
Article 12 in Scotland, United Kingdom
Czech Women´s Lobby, Czech Republic
Lumos Foundation, International organisation
Terne bersha, Ukraine
Symnakyno petalo, Ukraine
Ideea Rom Association Nottingham, United Kingdom
SODI e.V., Deutschland
Europia, UK
British Association of Social Workers, Cymru, United Kingdom
Lacho drom, Ukraine
GRTSWA, UK
Roma Support Group, UK
European playwork association, Germany
Govanhill Women’s Forum, UK
Glasgow to Ukraine, UK
Coop. Romano Drom Onlus, Italia
British Association of Social Workers (BASW), UK
Fondacioni “Harriet Martineau”, Tirana
Sdruzhenie Integro – Senovo, Bulgaria
Welsh kale, Canada
Gypsy Roma Traveller Social Work Association, UK
Schola Fidentiae – Škola s(ebe)vědomí, z.s., Czech Republic
Community Renewal Trust Roma Team, Scotland, Scotland
Youth of European Nationalities / Jugend Europäischer Volksgruppen, Germany
Asociación Intercultural Nakeramos (Ternype-Spain), Spain
Gypsies Travellers Wales, UK
Travellers Against Racism, United Kingdom
Birmingham City University, UK
Youth for Social Changes, Albania
Правозащитный ромский центр Одеса, Ukraine
Roma Entrepreneurship Development Initiative, Belgium
Odesa Romano kongreso, Ukraine
African Rainbow Family, United Kingdom
Biljajivka Romano sango le Odesake chakreste, Ukraine
Manchester Migrant Solidarity, United Kingdom
“Vatra” Psycho-Social Centre, Albania
Voice of Roma, United States of America
фондация “Бъдеще”, Ukraine
Пронет Медия, Bulgaria
Amrita OBK Assocition, Hungary
Samphire Charity, United Kingdom
Centre of Resources for Social Inclusion Cris, Romania
EUROPIA, United Kingdom
Connecting Roma C.I.C, United Kingdom
CHURCHES NETWORK FOR GYPSIES, TRAVELLERS AND ROMA – CNGTR, United Kingdom
Ben Hoare Bell LLP, United Kingdom
St James Centre, United Kingdom
Samphire Charity, United Kingdom
Amrita OBK Assocition, Hungary
NGO Slovo 21, Czech Republic
BASW Cymru, United Kingdom
Roma Center for Intercultural Dialog, Germany
CESPYD. Center of Community Research and Action, Spain
Roma Networks, Croatia
Prozor, Ukraine

Individuals and non-legal entities:

Margareta Matache, Roma scholar and activist, Romania
Marius Taba, United Kingdom
Jarmila Balážová, journalist, Czech Republic
RomLink initiative
Sri Kumar Vishwanathan, member of Czech Human Rights Commission
Elżbieta Mirga-Wójtowicz, Poland
Natalia Duminica, Moldova
Brandon Eby, Canada
Xhenson Çela, Albania
Mustafa Jakupov, North Macedonia
Norina Elvira Herki, Romania
Ramiza Sakip, North Macedonia
Igor Kostic, Serbia
Claudiu Stanescu, Italy
Simona Barbu, Romania
Tomas Scuka, Czechia
Frans Brinkman, Romania
Michał Dąbrowski, Poland
Nicolae Radita, Moldova
Anna Kaczmarzyk, Spain
Kamen Atanasov, Bulgaria
Angela Kocze, Hungary
Ognyan Isaev, Bulgaria
Katarzyna Dybzynska, Spain
Irina Faion, Bulgaria
Maria Metodieva, Bulgaria
Gultenur Mystafa Syuleyman
Greta Tünkler, Germany
Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Republic/USA
Nadja Greku, Serbia
Sarah Werner Boada, Austria
Atanas Zahariev, Austria
Radost Zaharieva, Belgium
Bożena Świerczek Flores, Poland
Juha Airola, Finland
Ileana Rotaru, Romania
Genoveva Sotirova, Bulgaria
Irina Spataru, Belgium
Ana Rozanova, Belgium
Jussi Valanki, Finland
Natalia Makowska, Poland
Margaret Beissinger, USA
Nina-Ursula Dreschke, Germany
Maritha Marques, Portugal
Lamia Missaoui, France
Magdalena Mira, Germany
Mattey Mitchell, UK
Sue Mutter, UK
Magda Hirschberger, Germany
Tamara Kovačević, Slovenia
Norman Biddlecombe, UK
Javier Sáez, Spain
Julija Marosek, Slovenia
Korab Jaha, Kosovo
Bernadett Varga, Belgium
Brisilda Taco, Albania
Maria Dumitru, United Kingdom
Sorina Sein, Italia
Miriam Kuse, Germany
Ana Oprisan, France
Adriatik Hasantari, Albania
Bernard Rorke, Hungary
Roma advocacy and research centre, Slovakia
Gabi Muntean, Ireland
Pedro Aguilera Cortés, Spain
Tica Muntean, Ireland
Shqipe Breznica, Kosovo
Diyan Dankov, Bulgaria
Annabel Carballo-Mes, Spain
Dawn Taylor, UK
Kata Nemeth, Hungary
Erion Xhaibra, Albania
Dritan Ziu, Albania
Wendy Charlton, UK
Valeri Lekov, Bulgaria
Ejona Mema, Albania
Alexandra Raykova, Bulgaria
Victoria Petrova, Bulgaria
Valeri Lekov, Bulgaria
Zsuzsanna Kovacs, Hungary
Galina Topalova, Bulgaria
Arman Heljic, PhD student in Gender Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Lalo Kamenov, Bulgaria
Iliya Rusev, Bulgaria
Zina Tenekedzhieva, Bulgaria
Bagryan Maksimov, Bulgaria
Kalinka Vassileva, Bulgaria
Rusev Angel, Belgium
Ipek Mehmed, Bulgaria
Ramiza Sakip, Republic of North Macedonia
Iliana Tsankova, Bulgaria
Rositsa Hristova Milkova, Bulgaria
Fanya Gadularova, Bulgaria
Yulka Savkova Hristova, Bulgaria, Bulgaria
Irina Ilieva, Bulgaria
Ivan Miglenov, Bulgaria
Rachel Lloyd, USA
Byulen Mladenov, Bulgaria
Daniela Mihaylova, Bulgaria
Jasmina Tobbeche, Belgium
John Hockley QPM, United Kingdom
Jeman Hasan , Партньорство в действие
Radostin Yanev, United Kingdom
Ines Djemail, Republic of North Macedonia
Radka Yaneva, United Kingdom
Radostin Yanev, United Kingdom
Vergil Hasan Ibryam, Bulgaria
Andrea Ignacz, Hungary
Friedrich-Wilhelm Hoeper, Germany
Andrii Kosko, Ukraine
Nikita Lupolenko, Ukraine
Max Stukanov, Thailand Phuket
David Benak, Czech republic
Gilda-Nancy Horvath, Austria
Iliana Tsankova, Bulgaria
Martina Horváthová, Czech Republic
Milena Ivova Ilieva, Bulgaria
Paula Mittrowann, Germany
Maryana Borisova, Bulgaria
Carmen Baltzar, Finland
Roma Zimenko, Ukraine
Nonna Zolotareva, Ukraine
Ioana Țîștea, Finland
Voloshin Kamila, Ukraine
Voloshin Sergey, Ukraine
Voloshin Nelya, Ukraine
Khmeleva Oksana, Ukraine
Khmeleva Lida, Ukraine
Sinitsa Olga, Ukraine
Cherepovsky Petro, Ukraine
Cherepovsky Roman, Ukraine
Cherepovsky Ivan, Ukraine
Cherepovskaya Margarita, Ukraine
Cherepovskaya Marta, Ukraine
Cherepovskaya Tatiana, Ukraine
Cherepovsky Ruslan, Ukraine
Rada Voloshyna, United States
Cherepovskaya Zarina, Ukraine
Dragica Felja, United Kingdom
Dragica Felja, United Kingdom
Marie Horváthová , Czech Republic
Dragica Felja, United Kingdom
Rose Marie Maughan, Ireland
Dean Rheims, United Kingdom
Tobias Belli, United Kingdom
Phil Martin, United Kingdom
Christine Black, United Kingdom
Nicole Healing, United Kingdom
Olga Fuseini, United Kingdom
Paul Sayers, United Kingdom
Mr Jordan Lee James, United Kingdom
Adrian Leahy, United Kingdom
Grace Elbers, United States
Ruth Sullivan, United Kingdom
Jane Elisabeth King, United Kingdom
Hannah Johnston, United Kingdom
Violeta Naydenova, Bulgaria
Martin Gallagher, United Kingdom
Laura Cashman, United Kingdom
Alexandra Bahor, United Kingdom
Nidhi Trehan, United States
Ioanida Costache, Bucharest, Romania
Assia Kayoueche, United Kingdom
Professor Margaret Greenfields, United Kingdom
Samantha Heeson, United Kingdom
Jeannie Caton-Etherton, United Kingdom
Sephe Leslie Stewart, United Kingdom
Laurentiu Iapornicu, Romania
Chris Kidd, United Kingdom
Nathan Vishwanathan, Czech Republic
Ennèa Bála, United States
Ventsislav Savkov, Belgium
Stanislava Yassmin Vilcekova, United Kingdom
Lilyana Hristova, Belgium
Seher Erdzhan Kemal, Belgium
Miglena Asenova, Belgium
Lucy Lee, United Kingdom
Mária Zemanová, Slovakia
Cath Larkins, United Kingdom
Esther Stubbs, United Kingdom
Elizabeta Chase, Romania
Jo Cooper, United Kingdom
Merlina Koseni, Albania
Mimoza IKONOMI, Albania
Andrea Gilbert, United Kingdom
Andrea Gilbert, United Kingdom
John Blackchurch, USA
Orlin Orlinov, Bulgaria
Bagir Kwiek, Sweden
Judith Klenter, Belgium
Anjali Jeter, United Kingdom
David Williams, USA
Niamh O’Sullivan, Ireland
Rosa Cisneros, United Kingdom
Alexander Mušnka, Slovakia
Loizos Symeou, Cyprus
Maria Roth, Romania
Julia Szalai, Hungary
Max Matter, Switzerland
Mark Turner, Ireland
Sam Beck, Emeritus Senior Lecturer, Cornell University, USA
Meira Goldberg, United States
Carolina Leinwand, USA
Bonnie Jensen, Grønland
Amanda Parker, USA
Maria Manuela Mendes, Portugal
Isabelle Mas, Canada
Dr. med. Ricarda Kauert, Germany
Hristo Kyuchukov, Germany
Clara Chinoy, Spain
Lucy Hetherington, United Kingdom
Marius Tudor, Romania
Maria Alfredo Lopes Moreira, Portugal
José Luis castañeda Martínez, Columbia
Sophia Yamaguchi, Germany
Tina Magazzini, Italy
Alicia Fernández Gómez, Spain
Liliana José Alves Moreira, Portugal
Ana Rozanova, Belgium
Lucy Hetherington, United Kingdom
Russell Brown, USA
Christin Müller, Germany
Siegward Elsas, Switzerland
Ann Ostendorf, USA

Open Letter calling for meaningful debate on and written responses to European Citizens’ Panel recommendations

Open Letter calling for meaningful debate on and written responses to European Citizens’ Panel recommendations

Dear members of the Executive Board,

The Conference on the Future of Europe (hereafter: the Conference) is at a crossroads: either it will turn into an ugly interinstitutional battle happening largely behind closed doors, feeding cynicism about EU and the oft-declared ‘Europe of citizens’, or it will fully embrace the potential of meaningful and publicly accountable engagement with Europe’s citizens and residents. In order to increase our chances of the Conference going down the second road, we call on you to ensure that the recommendations coming out of the European Citizens’ Panels are all seriously and publicly debated and responded to in writing by the Conference Plenary and its Working Groups.

While the process of European Citizens’ Panels designed and implemented for the purpose of the Conference is very far from perfect, and while their output is not and should not be the exclusive input for the work of the Conference Plenary[1], the way this output is dealt with will be a crucial indicator for the success of the Conference[2]. If you invite 800 citizens from all across Europe to dedicate more than three weekends of their time to come up with recommendations for the future of the European Union, the least you owe them and the wider European public is a public debate followed by a clear, reasoned and detailed answer on each of their specific recommendations.

An important task of the Conference Plenary is to debate the recommendations coming out of the European Citizens’ Panels[3]. However, in order to ensure that this debate is meaningful and accountable, connected to the outcomes of the Citizens’ Panels, it should be followed by the adoption of a resolution in which the Conference Plenary responds concretely and in detail to each of the recommendations. In the absence of such a document, many citizens are likely to feel misled, as they will not see how their recommendations had a serious chance of being heard and making a difference. Even if the Conference Plenary disagrees with certain recommendations, it is of crucial importance to communicate and justify such opposition explicitly, publicly and in writing.

The Working Groups are the appropriate place to debate recommendations in detail and to prepare the final position of the Conference Plenary on citizens’ recommendations. In order to fulfil this role, Working Groups should be given the adequate resources and working structures, and their meetings should be live-streamed[4].

Considering the powers the EU institutions invested in you as Executive Board, as defined by the Joint Declaration, we count on you to adjust the Conference’s Rules of Procedure and the Working Groups Terms of Reference to accommodate our urgent requests for meaningful, publicly accessible Working Group and Conference Plenary debate on, and clear, detailed and reasoned written responses to, the European Citizens’ Panel recommendations.

We are looking forward to hearing back from you.

Sincerely,

List of civil society organisations co-signing this letter:

Alliance4Europe
Allianz für WERTEorientierte Demokratie (AllWeDo)
Alpe Adria Green
Another Europe
Asociación Musulmana por los Derechos Humanos
Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN)
Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law
Citizens for Europe
Citizens Take Over Europe
CIVICO Europa
Civil Society Development Foundation, Romania
Civil Society Europe
Culture Action Europe
Danubiana Network
Debating Europe
Democracy International
ENAR – European Network Against Racism
Equinox Initiative for Racial Justice
ERGO network
ETUC – European Trade Union Confederation
Eumans – citizens for democracy and sustainability
Europe for Scotland
European Alternatives
European Center for Not-for-profit Law Stichting (ECNL)
European Civic Forum
European Democracy Lab
European Environmental Bureau
European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless
European House
European Movement Italy
European Network on Religion & Belief
Fix The Status Quo
Fórum dos Cidadãos
Friends of the European Republic
Gong
Greek Forum of Migrants
IGO – Interessenvertretung Gemeinnütziger Organisationen
ILGA-Europe
INITIATIVE FOR DEVELOPMENT AND COOPERATION
Institute of Public Affairs
Ligue de l’enseignement
Mehr Demokratie e.V.
Music Theatre International
National Network for Civil Society Germany (BBE)
OGA Ireland – Open Government Association Ireland
Politics for Tomorrow / nextlearning e. V.
Pulse of Europe
Regional Roma Educational Youth Association – RROMA
Social Platform
Society for Sustainable Living/STUŽ
SOLIDAR
Stand Up for Europe
Take a Break from Brexit
TGEU
The ECI Campaign
The Good Lobby
The Wheel
Unconditional Basic Income Europe
Understanding Europe

This letter is sent to Executive Board members on Thursday, 20 January 2022, with a total of 58 co-signatories. If your organisation still wants to support this letter and remain updated, including about possible future actions, please fill out this form.

Footnotes:
[1] In this context, we want to mention and recognise the work done by the Civil Society Convention on the Future of Europe in bringing civil society actors together and developing common proposals for the Conference Plenary to debate and consider.
[2] We note that our call for written replies to recommendations from the European Citizens’ Panels does not preclude the Conference Plenary additionally developing written responses to recommendations from National Citizens’ Panels, from the Civil Society Convention on the Future of Europe and/or from other sources, as collected on the Digital Platform.
[3] See articles 5 and 17 of the Rules of Procedure of the Conference on the Future of Europe.
[4] Up until now, only one Working Group meeting was ever live-streamed, the ‘EU in the world’ Working Group meeting taking place on 17 December at 11:00 CET (find the recording here).

Open letter to the Members of the Future of Europe Conference

Civil society organisations are  disappointed and concerned about the lack of consideration that the Executive Board of the Conference on the Future of Europe has shown in regard to the inclusion of marginalised communities.

ERGO is among a group of over 50 civil society organisations from across Europe who have prepared a letter the Executive Board of the Conference , expressing strong concerns about the lack of inclusion and other shortcomings.

The open letter can be found below:

 

20 October 2021

Dear members of the Conference Plenary,

On 19th June, 57 civil society organisations from across Europe sent a letter to the Executive Board of the Conference on the Future of Europe (hereafter: the Conference), expressing strong concerns about the lack of inclusion of marginalised communities in the Conference. On 16th July, the Co-Chairs sent a reply, indicating that they are not planning on taking any concrete measures in response to these concerns. With this letter, civil society organisations from across Europe, many of which have signed the first letter, issue a final appeal to the Conference Plenary.

We are disappointed and concerned about the lack of consideration that the Executive Board has so far shown in regard to the inclusion of marginalised communities. We call on EU institutions to address this oversight in order to fulfill the Conference’s intended goals of being an open, democratic, and inclusive process. In its current form, the Conference epitomizes Europe’s fundamental shortcomings rather than its solutions. The Conference Plenary meeting on 23rd October is a crucial opportunity to turn things around and to create an inclusive and meaningful participatory Conference process.

We turn towards you, the Conference Plenary and highest decision-making body of the Conference: we urge you to use your power and influence to ensure that the voices of marginalised communities are prevented from being silenced and can be included at the centre of the Conference, and in the debate and decision-making on the future of Europe more generally.

More concretely, we call on you to join us in voicing the following demands during the upcoming Plenary meeting and throughout the Conference process:

  1. Implement a diversity assessment of the Citizens’ Panels[1]: the selection of participants for the Citizens’ Panels has been insufficiently clear and transparent and highly problematic in its design: EU residents without EU passports have been excluded, and due to the gender binary approach, non-binary people have been mistreated, if not excluded, as well. Finally, no quota has been set to ensure adequate representation for racialised and other marginalised communities. This dynamic may reproduce the same inequalities this Conference aims to tackle. While it seems impossible to make changes to the composition of the Citizens’ Panels now, a diversity assessment would make transparent how (non-)diverse the panels are. The assessment should also address the degree of diversity of the organisers, moderators and experts that are involved in the Citizens’ Panels.
  2. Take measures to create a safe space for all Citizens’ Panel participants[2]: the Citizens’ Panels have started already, but we need to ensure that all the selected people are equally included and heard in the process, given the structural inequalities in society and the previously identified inconsistencies in the participant selection criteria and process. Active and inclusive measures should be taken to ensure a safe space for all panel participants, including notably those from marginalised communities, starting with the appointment of a qualified Inclusion Officer or Person of Trust who is mandated and equipped to address complaints and needs from participants in a confidential and resolute manner.
  3. Set up a Conference Inclusiveness Council and ensure the representation of marginalised communities in the Conference Plenary: in order to ensure that the voices of marginalised communities are heard, and to compensate for the shortcomings of the Citizens’ Panels, an additional Conference body should be set up: a Conference Inclusiveness Council. This body should be composed of a wide variety of EU citizens and residents from marginalised communities with a proven track record of social and political engagement with underrepresented communities. Like the Citizens’ Panels, this body should appoint 20 members as delegates for the Conference Plenary. The Conference Plenary should commit to examining and responding in detail to the proposals put forward by the Inclusiveness Council.
  4. Invite the Coordinator on Anti-Racism as member of the Conference Plenary: in order to ensure that anti-racism is mainstreamed in all of the work of the Conference, the EU Coordinator on Anti-Racism Michaela Moua should be invited to become a member of the Conference Plenary. This would enable a consistent policy alignment and an intersectional approach across EU policies.
  5. Extend the timeline of the Conference: in order to ensure intentional and impactful engagement with marginalised communities around the Conference process, more time is needed to effectively build pathways for participation. Additionally, we call on the Conference organisers to create more accessible conditions for ideas to be shared and events to be organised on the Conference Digital Platform. An extended timeline and more accessible participation opportunities would enable both civil society organisations and Conference organisers to bridge gaps in communication and bring a better representation of marginalised groups into the Conference at the community level.

The above list of demands is not exhaustive, but they constitute important steps towards an inclusive Conference.

An explicit, credible and sustained effort of implementing strategically inclusive and equitable practices in the Conference process is crucial. The oppression experienced by many marginalised communities, which lies at the root of many of Europe’s pressing social and political problems, should not be exacerbated in a free and democratic exercise overseen by EU leadership. Without the voices of marginalised communities, the EU will not comprehensively address these inequities, effectively contributing to the reproduction of systems of oppression that underlie them.

We count on you to lead the way towards an inclusive Europe!

Sincerely,

List of 59 organisations co-signing the letter:

#DiasporaVote!

A Buon Diritto Onlus

AEGEE-Europe

Alliance4Europe

Allianz für WERTEorientierte Demokratie (AllWeDo)

Alpe Adria Green International Org

Asociación Musulmana por los Derechos Humanos

Avrupa Gençlik Parlamentosu Derneği (AGPD)

Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN)

BIL:Armenia

Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law

Citizens Take Over Europe

CIVICO Europa

Culture Action Europe

Danubiana Network

Democracy International

Equinox Initiative for Racial Justice

Eumans – citizens for democracy and sustainability

Eurochild

Europe for Scotland

European Alternatives

European Anti-Poverty Network

European Center for Not-for-profit Law Stichting (ECNL)

European Civic Forum

European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc)

European Democracy Lab

European Environmental Bureau

European Forum of Muslim Women

European House

European Movement Italy

European Network Against Racism (ENAR)

European Network on Religion & Belief (ENORB)

European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network

FEMYSO – Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations

Fórum dos Cidadãos

Friends of the European Republic

Gong

Greek Forum of Migrants

Green Liberty

IGLYO – International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Intersex Youth and Student Organisation

Initiative for Development and Cooperation

Music Theatre International

New Europeans

Oxfam

Regional Roma Educational Youth Association-RROMA

Schwarzkopf Stiftung

SDG Watch Europe

Social Platform

Society for Sustainable Living

SOLIDAR & SOLIDAR Foundation

Stand Up for Europe

The ECI Campaign

The European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless (FEANTSA)

The Good Lobby

Understanding Europe

Volonteurope

WeMove Europe

Women Engage for a Common Future

Women’s Coalition – Turkey (Kadın Koalisyonu)

 

[1] We take note of the fact that the Executive Board already foresees to send a questionnaire to participants at both the start and at the end of the process (https://assets.futureu.europa.eu/uploads/decidim/attachment/file/28447/en.pdf, page 5). This questionnaire can be developed and integrated in (the spirit of) the diversity assessment as described above.

[2] During the European Youth Event there was a far-right attack targeted at Muslim youth and other young people from racialised communities (see https://femyso.org/a-response-to-far-right-attacks-targeting-muslim-youth-at-the-european-parliament/

and https://www.diasporavote.eu/2021/05/19/press-release/). It is of crucial importance that we all, and the EU institutions first and foremost, speak out against this. Active measures need to be taken to ensure a safe space for everyone, especially in the framework of the Conference.

Call on the European Parliament to uphold fundamental rights in AI and criminal law report

EDRi and 41 human rights organisations call on the European Parliament to uphold fundamental rights in AI and criminal law report

Artificial intelligence (AI) is, perhaps, the most important breakthrough technology of this century. Its applications are not only changing our daily life or the way we work or interact in society, but also our perception of the world. Some applications of AI are an acute threat to fundamental rights, as they allow, for example, for predictive policing and mass surveillance, which can easily enforce antigypsyism and other forms of racism in policing.

ERGO Network has therefore signed an open letter of European Digital Rights (EDRi), calling on Members of the European Parliament to uphold the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms in the LIBE Committee report on Artificial intelligence in criminal law and its use by the police and judicial authorities in criminal matters, which was voted on at the EP Plenary session on 5th October.

In ERDI’s open letter, we urged MEPs to support the LIBE Committee’s original report, which we strongly believe took the most balanced and proportional stance on artificial intelligence (AI) in law enforcement from a fundamental rights perspective. AI in the field of law enforcement offers particular challenges for fundamental rights, in particular rights to liberty, security, privacy, a fair trial and non-discrimination, and as such, require particular fundamental rights scrutiny and democratic oversight.

The pressure of civil society worked: the amendments that would have put fundamental rights at risk were not accepted.

The open letter can be found here.

 

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