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Freedom and peace rather than surveillance and war

The following letter will be sent to European Commission - Cabinet of First Vice-President Frans Timmermans:

We want to live in a society free from threats of terrorism, mass surveillance, self-censorship, interpersonal distrust and discord

The recent terror attack in France reminds us of the world we live in and that we shouldn’t take our rights and security for granted. Like many other Europeans, we are concerned that foreign conflicts are increasingly being imported into our part of the world. As a consequence, panic and distrust are currently spreading among the population, creating grounds for future unrests. Our societies are becoming more and more polarized as people seek political refuge in the extreme movements which leads to further polarization. We have undeniably fallen into a destructive spiral from which we must escape.

European governments are trying to solve the problem with misdirected measures. Instead of protecting its citizens, they limit the rights and freedoms while the origin of the problem remains. The problem isn’t different religious, ethnic or other groups as such. The problem isn’t that the government doesn’t see or hear everything the citizens are saying or doing. Neither is the problem the freedom of movement. Directing policies towards these rights and freedoms is nothing but to exploit the situation in order to carry through reforms contrary to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These reforms do not increase our security at all. Instead they lead to a surveillance society flooded by distrust and discord among the citizens. In such a society, freedom of speech is replaced with self-censorship. Such a society has given in to the terrorists and their goals to spread fear and panic.

The reason that our societies have become unsafe is that war causes war and violence causes violence. Terrorist organizations do exist in a context – a context where millions of people worldwide are subjected to tremendous suffering due to foreign powers promoting their interests through provoked wars, economic devastation and support, in various forms, to different extremist groups. In such a context, it is easy for extremists to instrumentalize the victims, increase the influence and gain broader support for future retaliation. We cannot have a safe society as long as the context doesn’t change through responsible policies based on the following principles:

I) No distribution of weapons, ammunition and other military equipment to conflict areas.

II) No support for various groupings in their striving to illegally and/or violently take control of territories.

III) Zero tolerance for torture.

IV) Zero tolerance for interventionist policies that have led to the destruction of dozens of countries in the recent decades.

We demand that our political representatives, as soon as possible, in word and deed begin to pledge nationally and internationally for:

1) the protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms by counteracting current restrictive bills and push for amending already passed laws that restrict the individual privacy of communications and the right to protection of personal data,

2) the sanctioning of organizations, groups and countries that actively counteract the above principles (I-IV).

We conclude this letter with a quote by Mahatma Gandhi: "The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace."

This petition was delivered to:
  • Frans Timmermans


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