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Beginning of DuP 2021!

#DemocracyUnderPressure

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Since 2006, JEF Europe has been organising the “Free Belarus Action” to raise awareness about the Lukashenka regime. The threat to democracy is unfortunately not only coming from dictators in post-Soviet states, but from various groups and situations all over the continent. That’s why the “Free Belarus Action” was rebranded in 2014 to the “Democracy under Pressure” campaign to include the alarming developments that put pressure on fundamental democratic values such as the freedom of speech and rule of law in several European countries, not only Belarus.

Background

When the Founding Fathers and Mothers set out to establish what would become today’s European Union, the objective was clear: “the realisation of the first concrete foundation of a European Federation, indispensable to the preservation of peace”. The EU was born out of the wars that had torn apart the communities that make up its Member States: political integration would make the possibility of war physically impossible, so that such tragic events would never repeat themselves.

And yet, for years now, a spectre has been haunting Europe. Illiberal, nationalist and authoritarian temptations have spread across national Governments and our society. In many countries human rights are steadily undermined by those who are supposed to safeguard them: freedom of press, of assembly and association; the independence of the judiciary and the Rule of Law; our very own European democratic structures are under pressure, being twisted and drained of their substance.

Therefore, the goal of the annual “Democracy under pressure” campaign is to draw attention to the systematic weakening of democratic values, to raise awareness about the situation in several European countries, as well as to show solidarity within our own JEF family.

In 2021, the relevant action week takes place between March 18-25.

Interested in joining our actions? Find out more below!

Current actions:

1. ACTION WEEK

When: 18-25 March

What: A campaign turning 15 years old is already quite special to any NGO, but it is specifically special for a youth NGO as this means that even more generations of members have been involved: JEF Europe is organising the 15th anniversary of its annual action “Democracy under Pressure” (18-25 March 2021). During the pan-European action JEFers raise awareness about the systemic weakening of democracy and rule of law in Belarus and other European countries, by organising multiple activities and most visibly, gagging statues. This year, JEFers will additionally reach out to their city administrations to request the lighting of buildings in white-red-white -the colours associated with a democratic Belarus – on 25 March. 

This 15th anniversary, special attention will be dedicated to Belarus, to condemn the same regime – among the many other distortions of our time – with which it all began. JEF already joined the Solidarity Day on 7 February, with JEFers across Europe sending letters to political prisoners in Belarus and most notably a joint press release with Europe’s political youth, as reported by EurActiv

2. SUPPORT PROTESTERS IN RUSSIA

When: Entire Month of February.

Why: Demonstrations in support of the jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny swept the nation, beginning in the Far East and reaching the capital. Arrests climbed into the thousands. Hundreds are detained as protests in his support sweep across Russia.

What : Write to the vice-chancellor of your university to invite them to make a statement in defence of young Russians exercising their rights, and  condemning Russian universities betraying the ideal of a university as the ultimate place for freedom of thought and expression. You can find a draft email here.

JOIN OUR ACTION! 👇

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WANT TO DO MORE? 

Consider supporting the initiative #BY_help which collects money for the victims of political repressions in Belarus, covering the costs of their fines, lawyer fees as well as medical treatment and rehabilitation.You can transfer the money via PayPal or Facebook Donations.

 

COUNTRY TALKS

Since mid-January, weekly online events with specific focus on countries allow JEFers to report about the country they are based in.

Upcoming weekly talks:

Malta (25/02): https://www.facebook.com/events/692846148082882/ 

Poland (04/03): https://www.facebook.com/events/770573440202614/ 

Turkey (11/03): https://www.facebook.com/events/708056223201691/

👇 Watch our previous country talks of 2021! 👇