Wednesday

22nd Mar 2017

Opinion

Mobilise vulnerable communities to vote: anti-racism NGO

  • The EP needs more MEPs who will fight the corner of vulnerable and minority communities (Photo: Austcare - World Humanitarian Aid)

On 25 May EU citizens will go to the polls to elect our European Parliament representatives. Many decisions taken by the EP have a direct impact on our daily lives. However, the biggest challenge is making sure that people understand their voting power to shape this institution and what is at stake.

The political landscape has dramatically shifted to the right in many member states, having a severe and disproportionate impact on the socio-economic reality for ethnic minorities, migrants, women and LGBTQ groups. This has in part been exacerbated by austerity measures and the economic downturn within the EU.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

In Sweden, there has been unprecedented support for an openly racist party, enabling it to enter the national parliament as the country's third biggest party. The Sweden Democrats is a party whose political convictions are entirely against the basic principles of human rights.

Its political discourse blames migrants and other minorities for everything that can possibly go wrong. It is, like other extreme right wing parties, very critical of national immigration policies and it wants a 90 percent decrease in immigration. We have also seen how its members presence in the political establishment has dramatically changed the dynamics of our basic social relations.

It has become more acceptable to be openly racist, in particular against visible minorities such as people of African descent and the Roma. These groups are increasingly victims of violent hate crimes, unequal access to justice and lack of socio-economic opportunities.

This is why it is extremely important to mobilise migrants and vulnerable communities such as the Roma and Black Europeans, in particular, to use their voting powers to influence, shape and change the current political landscape.

Not only are our own living conditions at stake, but those of a new generation too, if we do not use our voting powers to counter the emerging extreme right parties heading for the corridors of power in the European Parliament.

We need to vote for representatives who will fight to maintain basic democratic principles and advocate for the socio-economic inclusion of the most vulnerable.

In the past two decades, over 20,000 people died in the Mediterranean Sea trying to flee war and misery, as a result of EU migration and asylum policies.

We need representatives who will pursue policies that would create legal avenues to seek asylum in the EU and a vision for a humane immigration and asylum policy. Our way of dealing with asylum seekers is an important measure of how we respect basic human rights.

To achieve this goal, it is absolutely essential to mobilise each and every individual who has the legal right to vote, in particular amongst so-called immigrant communities, and to make sure we cast our votes for candidates with whom we share values based on human rights, our vision of social justice and our strong aspiration for better socio-economic conditions for the generations to come.

The writer is Chair of the Pan-African Movement for Justice and Vice-Chair of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR)

How to stop the collapse of the Dutch left

Despite the sighs of relief that Geert Wilders did not win the Dutch election, there has been a worrying fragmentation and defeat of the left in the Netherlands.

Analysis

EU and India must converge in Kabul

As the US threatens to withdraw, the EU and India will have to step up and take on a leading role in support of Afghanistan.

Big changes in EU migration governance

Despite public debate sometimes being on the wrong side of the fence, there have been a number of developments in tackling asylum and migration in Europe.

News in Brief

  1. Russia invites EU diplomats to occupied Crimea
  2. UK parliament in lockdown after reported attack
  3. Brussels attacks remembered with minute of silence and noise
  4. Magnitsky's lawyer injured near Moscow
  5. Trump to travel to Brussels on 25 May for Nato summit
  6. Polish defence minister accuses Tusk of treason
  7. Fillon slips in polls as new allegations emerge
  8. Brexit summit for EU-27 will be on 29 April

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Advertisements
  2. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  3. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  4. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  6. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  7. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  8. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  9. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change
  10. Malta EU 2017Consumer Protection Laws to Be Strengthened by EU-Wide Cooperation
  11. European Free AllianceSupporting Artur Mas: Democracy and Freedom Cannot Be Convicted
  12. UNICEFSyria Conflict 6 Years On: Children's Suffering at Its Worst

Latest News

  1. EU declaration to voice unity in troubled times
  2. Terror attack shuts down UK parliament
  3. Catalonia and Scotland at core of Europe's geopolitical conundrum
  4. La présidentielle française sous cyber-alerte maximale
  5. EU doing well in global energy ranking
  6. Child migrants endure 'abysmal conditions'
  7. French socialist woos Europe with new vision
  8. EU to Macedonia: 'Stop playing with fire'