Protect human rights before it is too late

Published 2nd October 2018

We, the presidents and directors of DOTW’s 15 chapters, are extremely concerned about the increasing tendencies of isolationism, far-right populism and exclusion in many countries. It is part of DOTW’s identity to bear witness to human rights abuses. We therefore cannot remain silent as walls and fences are going up, men, women and children are forced to live in camps under deplorable conditions – not only in the global South but also in Europe, Asia and North and South America – political leaders are engaging in dehumanizing, sometimes outright racist, rhetoric, and civil society is increasingly under threat.

The hateful language and fear mongering we are observing across the globe are reminiscent of the darkest times in our history and only distract from the important challenges our world is facing today: The protracted crises in countries such as Syria, Yemen, the Central African Republic, the exodus of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, increasingly precarious living conditions for large parts of the population, even in advanced economies, as well as other obstacles preventing billions of people from accessing necessary health care.

With more people displaced than any time since the Second World War, we are facing a historical global crisis. But more than a refugee crisis, it is a crisis of solidarity, a crisis of human rights.

“No more excuses – Advocating for Human Dignity in Times of Crisis” is the motto of this year’s Humanitarian Congress, on the occasion of which the annual meeting of all 15 chapters of the DOTW International Network in Berlin is taking place. As today they are routinely undermined, we re-affirm very clearly that human rights are a binding commitment, and that human dignity is non-negotiable.

International actors must provide aid to those in need on the basis of solidarity and human rights, instead of furthering militarization and by engaging in harmful geopolitical interventions under the guise of “humanitarianism.”

We are calling on leaders to do everything in their power to allow everyone on this planet to lead a life in dignity. We need to take action now!