UK-based peacebuilding charity International Alert is working with partners in Greece, Italy and the Netherlands to promote a balanced debate around migration and social marginalisation in the run up to the European Parliament elections (22-25 May 2014), and to strengthen peaceful relations in Europe.
Barry Navarro, Senior Officer for the UK Programme at International Alert, said: “In times of austerity and economic crisis, the most vulnerable members of society are often scapegoated. Inflammatory and divisive rhetoric about issues such as migration is increasing, which can fuel tensions between communities.”
The #eUnify campaign aims to contribute to a more balanced debate and provide a voice for those who are targeted by such attacks, including migrants and minorities. Together with partners Symbiosis (Greece), the Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers (Netherlands) and CESIE (Italy), International Alert has identified common issues facing these communities. In response, we will counter racist and xenophobic speech to ensure different voices contribute to a healthy public debate about migration and freedom of movement.
The campaign will touch on four themes which are common to the four countries:
- freedom of movement, its actual effects on societies and communities, including the benefits it can bring;
- celebrating diversity;
- economic crisis and the way politics is made out of social problems leading to scapegoating of marginalised communities;
- the need for governments to address the underlying failure of democratic systems, states and institutions to engage some sections of society.
Call to action
International Alert urges all organisations and individuals that share our concerns to support the initiative. Anyone is welcome to join the discussion and engage with the organisation to identify democratic, peaceful and productive ways to reframe the debate around these issues and ensure that it remains free of hate speech.
#eUnify against racism and xenophobia. Help build a peaceful #Europe!