Human rights and fundamental freedoms are not up for voting upon

Tuesday - 6 June 2017
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We are all equal citizens: RESPECT for all!

Human rights and fundamental freedoms are not up for voting upon.

Romania is at a crossroads and risks taking the path to authoritarianism, if we do not act to support and respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all our citizens.

The risk stems mainly from the initiative to change the Constitution through a referendum in order to restrict the definition of the family. The proposed constitutional amendment limits citizens’ rights and freedoms, worsens the discrimination and stigmatization of those who do not correspond to the definition set by its initiators. The populist campaign will erode the foundation of a healthy democracy: respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms.

Unfortunately, two democratic instruments – the citizens’ legal initiative and the referendum – have been perverted to serve the agenda of interest groups. The Romanian Parliament is reaching a decision without having organized any real debates, with no in-depth analysis, with no regard for European norms and values or for the real needs of the Romanian society.

The major public interest themes – reducing poverty and inequality, economic growth, education, health, justice, consolidating our democracy, and others that have a direct impact on the lives of citizens and families in Romania are not the subject of such debate or mobilization. Instead of cooperating in order to solve the real problems Romanian citizens are faced with, the referendum will divide the Romanian society, creating a, deep, dangerous and artificial rift in our country. We are already caught in a spiral of aggressiveness as a result of the campaign to modify the Constitution. The step from hate speech to violence is a very small one!

The risk facing Romania today is increased by the fact that there is a larger, consistently anti-democratic agenda, assumed explicitly or implicitly by the promoters of the referendum: pushing women to assume a largely domestic role, banning abortion, limiting health and reproductive health education and use of contraceptives. At the same time, trust in the public school system, science and medicine is eroded to the advantage of religious dogmatism. Therefore, the referendum will compromise social cohesion, as well as the modern and secular character of the state.

Therefore:

We appeal to civic movements, organizations and Romanian citizens to take a stand and mobilize around an essential democratic principle:

“We are all equal citizens: RESPECT for all!

Human rights and fundamental freedoms are not up for voting upon!” 

The largest threats to families are: poverty and corruption; the destruction of rule of law; inequality; the lack of unity, solidarity, respect and mutual trust; domestic violence; limited access to housing and adequate medical services; high rates of maternal and infant mortality; the absence of equal access to quality education, including an insufficient nursery and kindergarten infrastructure; the lack of jobs.

We appeal to the political class, political decision-makers and to the responsible institutions to stop the referendum, and thus protect the Romanian democracy!

We call for civic solidarity in order to support the democratic values, the universality of human rights and the European destiny of Romania against the onslaught of hatred, discrimination and aggressiveness.

We support the family and believe that it can be best protected if it is not dogmatically defined and when citizens’ rights and freedoms are wholly upheld.

We support religious freedom and freedom of conscience and firmly believe that they can fully manifest only when human rights are completely upheld and respected.

Together, we act to support:

  •           Equal rights and freedoms for all citizens, without discrimination;
  •           Respect for the freedom and dignity of the human being;
  •          The right every person has to a private and family life;
  •          Solidarity amongst all citizens, a fundamental value of our society;
  •          Women’s right to freely decide over their own bodies and to fulfill themselves through education, careers and their own choices regarding family life;
  •           Women and men’s access to sexual and reproductive rights;
  •           Children and youths’ rights to a rational, humanist education that is accessible to all;
  •           Children and youths’ rights to health;
  •         Romania’s membership in the European Union, with all the rights and freedoms deriving from it as well as standing for all the values that form the foundation of the EU.

In order to support the aforementioned principles and values, we have formed RESPECT. The Platform for Rights and Freedoms, a non-governmental civic platform, that reunites citizens and organizations that respect and promote the fundamental rights and freedoms.

The first and most important challenge is to come together and to voice our revolt in order to convince Parliament, the President as well as the other Romanian institutions to stop this referendum that is a new mineriad against the Romanian democracy.

Politicians, stop the destruction of the Romanian democracy and show us respect: the Constitution is for everyone!

The funders:

Asociația Pro Democrația

APADOR-CH

Asociația ACCEPT

Asociația ActiveWatch

Centrul de Resurse pentru Participare Publică

Centrul Euroregional pentru Inițiative Publice

Centrul FILIA

Centrul pentru Inovare Publică

Centrul pentru Jurnalism Independent

Fundația pentru Dezvoltarea Societății Civile

Inițiativa România

Platforma Demos

Oana Marinescu