A delegation of GUE/NGL MEPs will attend the World Social Forum in Montreal, Quebec, which provides a discussion forum for tens of thousands of people from civil society organisations and social movements who want to build a sustainable and inclusive world. 

As part of the four-day event, GUE/NGL along with Québec Solidaire and Alternatives will hold the World Parliamentary Forum on Wednesday. Bringing together representatives from local, regional and national parliaments around the world, the forum will discuss:         

  • Common struggles for peace, democracy and migrants' rights;
  • Resisting austerity policies to put an end to the lies of the one per cent;
  • Free trade agreements – popular resistance and alternatives;
  • Environmental, climate and social justice.

German MEP, Helmut Scholz, comments: “It is high time to work on concrete alternatives for a more social and democratic world which fulfils the hopes and expectations of millions of people around the globe.”

“The United Nations' sustainable development goals will only be reached if we break away from neoliberal, anti-democratic, autocratic and populist policies carried out by governing elites at both political and economic level.

“Words are not enough, we need actions. We want to use this broad exchange of views and experiences among determined activists from all continents here in Montreal as a further step in this direction towards actions and changes in the world. The participation of citizens and communities is a precondition for reaching these goals.”

Dutch MEP, Anne-Marie Mineur, adds: “This is a great opportunity for us to meet with people from Canada and elsewhere in the world to talk about more fair and sustainable methods of trade and investment than TTIP and CETA would create. I have already met with labour unions, social movements, political parties and entrepreneurs and it is striking that they have the same concerns and reservations as we do.”

GUE/NGL MEPs have also expressed serious concern over the rights of many participants who have been denied visas to enter Canada.        

A significant number of delegates from countries in the Global South will not attend due to unjustified delays and mass denials in visa processing at Canadian Embassies in Mali, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Brazil, Ecuador, Palestine and other countries.

Among the delegates who were denied visas, are key speakers at GUE/NGL's World Parliamentary Forum event, Colombian MP, Alirio Uribe and Malaysian MP, Charles Santiago, as well as Mustafa Barghouti, General Secretary of the Palestine National Initiative.

In a letter sent this week, nine MEPs have called on Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to approve all pending visa applications, conduct immediate inquiries into those that were rejected and arrange visas on arrival for those affected.

GUE/NGL President, Gabi Zimmer, commented: “The denial of visas to attend an international event for social justice is an unacceptable violation of the right to movement and travel. I would have expected greater respect for these rights from Canada, a country that enjoys the reputation of being an open and free society.”

“The denial of visas discriminates against people from the Global South and completely undermines the aim of the World Social Forum, which is to bring people together from around the world to coordinate efforts to create a better world and ensure that the voices of those from the Global South are heard in this process,” Zimmer concluded.

GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Nikki Sullings  +32 22 83 27 60 / +32 483 03 55 75

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

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