Oct 22, 2015
6:30pm - 8:30pm    |    Lipton Hall, 108 West Third street, New York, NY 10012

Dystopian Democracies. Poster

Developments of democracy in Europe and the USA have followed mutually influencing paths over the past two centuries. From the declarations of rights to the establishment of democratic institutions after WWII, these regions have built their governments on the foundation of human rights protection. These foundations have now been weakened by  the responses to a number of challenges, in particular immigration and counter-terrorism.
The influx of migrants and asylum-seekers, from Africa and the Middle East to Europe and from Central and Latin America to the USA, are being met with a combination of repressive measures: walls and fences, naval military operations, laws criminalizing undocumented immigration, racial profiling, insufficient integration policies, to mention a few. Populist and xenophobic parties have fueled racist resentment towards Muslims and immigrants in general and have encouraged hate speech and crimes.
At the same time, the USA and Europe are increasingly engaging in counter-terrorism operations in a way which is straining the democratic fabric of our society. Some of these measures have a disproportionate impact on ethnic and religious minorities, thus further polarizing societies. Governments and policy makers, claiming the incompatibility of security with human rights protection, are adopting laws and policies, which increase the powers of security services without guaranteeing the checks and balances necessary in a democracy. Ultimately, such policies contribute to the erosion of democratic core values on both sides of the Atlantic and play in the hands of populist parties and of those who promote antidemocratic causes.

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