Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’Homme (FIDH)
Réseau Euro-Méditerranéen des droits de l’Homme (REMDH)
Cairo Institute For Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
On 13 July 2008, many heads of State s of Europe and the South -East Mediterranean bank should meet in Paris for the official launch of the now called “Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean (UfM)” initiative.
The presence of heads of States – notably from South and East Mediterranean countries – who are universally renowned for their dismal record of grave human rights violations and the exclusiveness they give to economic projects to the detriment of any political ambition at the summit endangers the interrelatedness between economic development and democratisation that has been so many times reaffirmed by human rights organisations and more generally by all democrats. The emphasis given to economic projects alone seriously misunderstands the aspirations of the people of the region who yearn for development as much as they yearn for the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms they are denied in practice.
The will to reinforce a shared ownership of the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation is another key objective of the UfM. The terms of this shared ownership are notably the co-presidency and the setting-up of a Secretariat in one of the partner countries of the Union for the Mediterranean. The appointment of the State in charge of the co-presidency for a two-year term and that of the country hosting the Secretariat might be done in total disregard of the political situation prevailing in the concerned country, thereby supporting dictatorial leaders and contributing to the reinforcement of the marginalisation of independent civil society representatives who fight for the fundamental rights of populations who have them flouted by their governments.
The signing organisations consider that by fitting this new initiative into the Barcelona Process and the Good Neighbourhood Policy, blocks and ambiguities as observed in the Euro-Mediterranean partnership should be overcome notably to reach a just and sustainable peace in the Middle-East enabling the creation of a Palestinian State, to promote a democratic reform process and to respect human rights .
They consider that the reaffirmation of the respect for the universal values of human rights and democratic principles as essential foundations in the final declaration of heads of States meeting at the UfM summit draft should result into concrete acts.
The signing organisations call on the European Union to:
make respect for human rights and democracy a priority both of its internal and foreign policy.
actively contribute to seeking the peace in the region notably in the Middle East by implementing the relevant resolutions for a just and sustainable peace and the recognition of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people of the international community.
respect the rights of migrants and refugees who are victims of an unprecedented repressive and securitarian policy.
recognize the actors of civil society notably human rights NGOs as fully-fledged partners in the partnership and cooperation both at the institutional and at the project level.
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