Serbia | Croatia | Montenegro | Bosnia and Herzegovina

Representatives of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR), a network of non-governmental organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Kosovo and Serbia, signed the Manifesto of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement on November 2, 2010 in Paris, at the conference organized by the French organization “SOS Racism” (SOS Racisme).

In the course of the event, set to last by November 5, a plan of activities of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement in the forthcoming period will be presented, with a view to integrating antiracist and antidiscrimination activities across Europe. Besides representatives of YIHR, the Manifesto was signed by more than 30 non-governmental organizations from 25 European countries, which this movement is currently comprised of.

The text of the Manifesto is enclosed below:

For a European anti-racist civil society!

Our assessment is clear: while racism and antisemitism continue to spread in Europe, civil and political resistance has so far been limited and helpless to stop the scourge.

The recent elections in Sweden, Hungary and Bulgaria, as well as the coalition government agreement in the Netherlands, have confirmed the trend: the political racism is advancing and winning electoral victories across Europe.

Given impetus by economic crisis and social unrest, and particularly by the increasing tension over national identity that is sweeping our continent, racist parties slip their traditional ideas into the heart of public debates and onto government agendas.

Their growing electoral and ideological influence is made easier by the lightening speed, like some horrifying game of dominos, with which European public opinions appropriate these sickening arguments, following the example of recent discussions labelling the Roma as a dangerous population.

The movement of these ideas can be explained by both the transnational links existing between the racist movements and by the absence of the intellectual, political and ideological constructs necessary to oppose these racist speeches. This absence is mainly due to the difficulty that many European countries have in confronting their past: the Shoah, Italian fascism, colonialism in the cases of post-colonial countries, totalitarism in Eastern Europe – the list goes on.

Therefore, it is not surprising that popular and political reactions have been too weak to properly denounce January’s anti-black pogroms in Rosarno in southern Italy, the stigmatization of the Roma in France, their forced evictions in Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Romania and their killings in Hungary, the hateful anti-Muslim commentaries which are common in Germany, in Denmark and in Western Europe and the racial discriminations which many European citizens face daily.

In light of this disturbing realization, we firmly oppose to the political forces which use these issues to create their hatemongering discourse.
We do not accept that Muslims are presented as terrorists and as a menace to identity, that the Roma are expelled, that Jews are beaten and so feel they must hide themselves, that the lives of the blacks are threatened.

The urgency of the situation is such that we must immediately forge an antiracist European civil society in order to keep the European dream alive beyond country borders.

Our European dream is to live on a continent where an individual has the freedom to define his or her destiny, unconstrained by his or her family origins or by his or her membership in a community. Our European dream is to build welcoming and inclusive societies, where equality between citizens is written in text and lived in reality.

In order to breathe life into this dream, we want to make our voice heard, the voice of tens of thousands of activists all over Europe who work daily to combat racism and antisemitism, the voice of the victims which are too often left without the means or the influence to ensure that their rights are respected.

We will show our solidarity in action by organizing grassroots campaigns to create concrete change in our respective countries. We are particularly focused on combating racial discrimination in the workplace, in housing, in leisure time, etc.

In periods of crisis, there is a strong temptation to find and target scapegoats. However, the kind of hate mongering which is fuelled by a sense of hopelessness can only lead to a violent and destructive end for our values and our societies.
We will not allow hate to circulate freely through Europe without fighting it with determination.

The task of building a Europe where racism and antisemitism have no place is an enormous challenge, but we have Justice on our side and the strength to ensure that this ideal triumphs.

Signatories :

Last Name & First name, Position, Organization, Country

Abdoelhafiezkhan Dionne, President, King Movement Foundation / Hi5, Netherlands
Abtan Benjamin, Secretary General, European Grassroots Antiracist Movement
Bihariova Irena, Chairwoman, Ludia proti rasizmu, Slovakia
Brands kehris Ilze, Director, Latvian Center for Human Rights, Latvia
Dabić Tea, Program Coordinator, Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Croatia
Denes Balazs, Executive Director, TASZ – Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, Hungary
Gidlund Lina, Project Manager, Swedish Anti-Discrimination Bureaux, Sweden
Gjoshi Raba, Executive Director, Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Kosovo
Haruoja Merle, Board Member, Estonian Institute for Human Rights, Estonia
Jereghi Vanu, Executive Director, Moldovan Institute for Human Rights, Moldova
Kanev Krassimir, Chairman, Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, Bulgaria
Kornak Marcin, Head, Never Again!, Poland
Kouros Kristiina, Secretary General, Finnish League for Human Rights, Finland
Masic Alma, Director, Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Bosnia
Matache Margareta, Executive Director, Romani Criss, Romania
Micic Maja, Director, Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Serbia
Moawia Ahmet, Coordinator, Greek Forum of Migrants, Greece
Muhi Erika, Director, NEKI, Hungary
Nielsen Anne, Chairwoman, SOS mod Racisme, Denmark
N’Siala Kiese Patrick, Board Member, Kif kif, Belgium
Osman Sherifay Mariam, Chairwoman, Center Agains Racism, Sweden
Partapuoli Kari Helene, Director, Norwegian Center Against Racism, Norway
Philipps Bruno, President, Karawanserei ev Dresden, Germany
Kovalenko Julia, Lawyer, Legal Information Centre for Human Rights – LICHR, Estonia
Primdahl Troels, Project Manager, NoNAR – Nordic Network Against Racism, Denmark
Raonic Boris, Director, Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Montenegro
Sawicka Paula, President, Open Republic Association, Poland
Scalzo Angela, President, SOS Razzismo, Italy
Schindlauer Dieter, Chairman, ZARA, Austria
Sonderegger Philipp, Executive Director, SOS Mitmensch, Austria
Sopo Dominique, President, SOS Racisme, France
Mjaft, Albania