The climate has worsened since the previous Forum in 2016. Today we see not only human rights violations, but the rejection of human rights protection systems as a whole. Some of those in high office are taking it upon themselves to choose which human beings are deserving of human rights and which are not. Vital components of rights-respecting societies have been attacked. Since 2017, we have witnessed within the EU the murders of brave investigative journalists. In several parts of Europe, civil society is denied the funds and legal protections needed to operate freely and independently. Politicians, even from mainstream parties, have attacked the legitimacy of the justice system and reduced the meaning of democracy to majority voting. We have each looked in the mirror and questioned how we ourselves are working.
The 2018 Forum focused on ways to address these issues, recognising that human rights are an essential inheritance relevant to all – not just those on society’s margins. This statement encapsulates some of the Forum’s calls to action, which could make tangible difference if policy and decision makers would commit to follow them.