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ECLN - Founding Statement

We are living at a moment in history when civil liberties and democracy are under attack as never before and the need for a collective response to counter these threats has never been greater.

We share common objectives of seeking to create a European society based on freedom and equality, of fundamental civil liberties and personal and political freedoms, of free movement and freedom of information, and equal rights for minorities. This entails defending, extending and deepening the democratic culture - a concept not limited to political parties and elections but embracing wider values of pluralism, diversity and tolerance. And we share too a common opposition to racism, fascism, sexism and homophobia.

The defence of civil liberties and democracy also requires that positive demands are placed on the agenda. For example, respect and rights for all people, cultures and their histories, for the presumption of innocence and freedom from surveillance and the freedom to protest and demonstrate.

To these ends the European Civil Liberties Network (ECLN) has been established.

There are many groups across Europe working on associated issues, such as, legal rights, human rights, refugee and migrants' rights, globalisation and peace. The ECLN seeks to work with, and complement, these groups by concentrating its efforts on civil liberties, freedom of information and democracy at the European level.

Thus the main issues the ECLN will cover are:

1. policing and public order
2. immigration and asylum
3. racism and fascism
4. surveillance and data protection
5. biometric documents and databases
6. rights and the law
7. security and intelligence
8. prisons
9. military and non-military crisis management
10. European and international fora
11. freedom of information (access to documents and information)
12. democratic standards of accountability, scrutiny and legal and non-legal recourses

Role of the ECLN network

The main roles of the ECLN, via an "Observatory on civil liberties in Europe", will be to:

1. provide information and documentation on ongoing political developments at the European, national and community levels

2. provide analyses of developments in order to further understanding

3. provide a space for groups and individuals to network on issues and projects

4. develop research and online publications

5. inform struggles and actions, intervene in public debates and counter isolation or marginalisation by providing a means of mutual support

Statement of principles

1. The ECLN is not an organisation but a network. While we share the same aims and objectives the ECLN does not have a corporate view nor does it seek to create one.

2. The ECLN will not admit or work with groups or individuals who are racist, fascist, sexist or homophobic.

Launch

The ECLN will be launched in Brussels on Wednesday 19 October 2005.

It will be accompanied by:

- the ECLN website going on-line

- the publication of a series of "Essays" on the theme civil liberties and democratic standards in Europe

- and a "Call for civil liberties and democratic standards in Europe" to which groups and individuals can sign up in support

Participating

All groups and individuals working on civil liberties issues are invited to:

Send in:
- news
- conferences, seminars, meetings
- publications and reports
- Open Letters for signature
- demonstrations, actions

Information and material (eg: Word files or pdf) in all languages will be carried - preferably with a short (1-5 lines) of introduction in English if possible.

Organisations and groups can sign up to become "Supporters" of the ECLN (there is no financial commitment involved)

Organisations and individuals can sign-up to get regular e-mail updates

Contributions from groups - big and small - and from individuals across Europe are welcomed.

ECLN, September 2005

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