Adopted in UEF Congress 10-12 October
Europe, more than any other political entity in the world, embodies a certain set of civil rights and basic liberties that have been achieved through a hard struggle over several centuries.
Many of these rights and liberties have found their way into other parts of the world, unambiguously increasing the voice of those who form the weaker parts in the respective societies.
The United Nations, in its charter, has taken up many of those European values and has declared them to be of a universal nature.
However, more recently, there has been more than anecdotal evidence that such universal rights are not secure from political mingling and constant efforts to reinterpret some of those rights in a way that is incompatible with a European understanding of such rights.
Especially the right to exercise freely one’s religion has started to be used more and more often as a pretext to water down or even put into question some of the most basic rights and liberties, such as equality before the (state) law and freedom of expression and thought.
The Charter of Fundamental Rights, which would become legally binding with the entering into force of the Lisbon Treaty, unfortunately is not a very clear document.
Some fundamental rights and basic liberties in this text could be seen to be at equal footing with the aim to secure certain social achievements. The language on freedom of religious practice is very soft and malleable as well and may not be clear enough to safeguard against the derives of a similar type as the ones we have seen in recent debates and votes at the UN.
The Congress of the UEF therefore,
Asks the European policy makers, the European Parliament and the parliaments in all the EU’s member states to reaffirm that Europe will not compromise on the issue of
- equality before the law
Nor on the issue of
- freedom of expression and thought
The Congress asks further European policy makers to launch an initiative to provide the International Criminal Court with a mandate to inquire into violent oppression of freedom of expression and thought such as in the case of murdered or physically intimidated journalists, writers, and artists.
The Congress asks that cooperation with the ICC working under this mandate should be made a requirement for all forms of cooperation between the EU and third countries.