Open letter to the President of France asking to respect civil liberties during COP21

Dear President

We want to express our sympathy with the French people for the terrorist attacks that took place last weekend. The barbaric attacks on civilians in Paris, Ankara and Beirut in recent weeks are the latest terrible symptoms of a world economy experiencing multiple crises.

One of those crises is climate change. As you will be aware, we have driven our planet to the verge of environmental catastrophe. The impacts are being felt everywhere to a greater or lesser degree. Indeed the conflict in Syria was partly fuelled by climatic events. And unless we start enacting very different policies, climate change will increasingly fuel war, migration, poverty and dispossession.

That’s why many of us are coming to Paris in the next fortnight – to demand world leaders begin the radical transformation to a low carbon economy, with serious financing to assist less industrialised countries to build societies without resort to fossil fuels. We understand that the challenge is huge. It isn’t possible for politicians to carry out the changes needed without massive movements and mobilisations creating political space and will.

For this reason we are deeply concerned by the decision of your government to prohibit the mobilisations in Paris during COP21. This will make it extremely difficult for ordinary citizens of the world to make their voices heard and to create the political space necessary to build a brighter future. We believe this strips the COP process of its legitimacy.

We urge you to reconsider the decision to prohibit the demonstrations in Paris. We understand the need to keep citizens safe, including those mobilising on climate change. It must be possible to find a way to do this short of banning our demonstrations. Many other mass events and gatherings continue to happen in Paris on a daily basis. We would also like to ensure that the police treat us with dignity and that you send a clear message that our civil liberties be respected.

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We must not suspend democracy and freedom while proclaiming our commitment to democracy and freedom. A peaceful world can only be built on equality, solidarity and sustainability. We must be able to say this in Paris.

Yours,

Naomi Klein, writer
Friends of the Earth International
Avi Lewis, filmmaker
Shalmali Guttal, researcher and writer
Susan George, writer
Global Justice Now, UK
Bolivian Platform on Climate Change
Focus on the Global South
Fondacion Solon, Bolivia
Friends of the Earth, Scotland
Ecologistas en Acción (Spain)
Ekoloji Kolektifi / Ecology Collective Association, Turkey
Iniciativa Construyendo Puentes – Redes de Latinoamerica frente al cambio climatico
Campaign against Climate Change, UK
Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha, India
Public & Commercial & Service Union, UK
Attac Japan
Transnational Institute
Engajamundo, Brazil
Beyond Copenhagen collective, India
End Ecocide on Earth
Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development
Our Rivers, Our Life (OROL) – Philippines
Corporate Europe Observatory
IBON International
Philippine Movement for Climate Justice
Friends of the Earth Sweden
Public Advocacy Initiatives for Rights & Values in India (PAIRVI)
Energy and Climate Policy Institute for Just Transition, Korea
UK Tar Sands Network
Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO), Phillipines
Platform, UK
Sanlakas, Philippines
Planet Defenders, Brazil
DeSmog, UK
Labor/Community Strategy Center, USA
WomanHealth, Phillipines
New Internationalist, UK
Institute for Policy Studies, Climate Policy Program, USA
York Climate Action, UK
Ecological Society of the Philippines
The Otesha Project, UK
GAIA – Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
Povod Institute, Slovenia
Abibiman Foundation, Ghana
Clubs Nations Unies, Senegal
Excellent World Foundation, Nigeria
Swedish Antinuclear Movement
GCAP, Action/2015
Ageing Nepal
Global Call to Action Against Poverty, Burundi
Burundi Child Rights Coalition (BCRC)
Union de Jeunes pour la Paix et le Développement (UJPD/asbl)
SÜDWIND, Austria
Association for Promotion Sustainable Development, India
The Network of African Youths for Development (NAYD)
Somos el Presente, Peru
Alliance Contre la Pauvreté/GCAP Mali
Youth partnership for Peace and Development, Sierra Leone
Pakistan Development Alliance
Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP)
Climate & Sustainable Development Network of Nigeria (CSDevNet)
Freshwater Action Network. FAN. Geneve
Red Centroamericana de Acción del Agua. Central America
Asociación Regional Centroamericana por el Agua y el Ambiente (ARCA)