Declaration of Bilbao for the International Democracy

We want a world where human rights, equality, and dignity in all forms—political, social, economic, and especially gender-based-—become the building blocks to improve people’s lives.

19 June, 2016

We want a world where human rights, equality, and dignity in all forms—political, social, economic, and especially gender-based-—become the building blocks to improve people’s lives. Where the economy is at the service of the general interest and people’s needs, and people aren’t put at the service of a speculative, deregulated, and opaque economy. Where the sustainability of life in our planet and the lifestyle of its inhabitants are compatible. Where people have the right to move freely, but also the right to stay in their own countries and live with dignity.

Sadly, our world moves further and further away from this vision. Under the dogmatic paradigm of austerity, and for the sake of protecting the profits of a select few, the economic system has sacrificed all aspirations of human development, social rights, and gender equality. Inequality keeps rising in our societies; our economic model becomes increasingly unsustainable for our communities, peoples, and for the planet itself. In a world with increasing wars and conflicts, current security policies have proved to be not only unfair but also profoundly inefficient. While the powerful slash rights that were gained through the struggle of our parents and grandparents, and constitute the best legacy from older generations; the power of international finance, transnational corporations, unregulated capital flows, and tax havens keeps growing. Without the capacity to control these capital flows, redistribute wealth, and guarantee social rights, our societies’ democratic capacity is under threat.

At this critical juncture, we believe it is time to support an international, democratic project that tackles and solves these challenges. For this reason, we:

  • Embrace human rights, the new Sustainable Development Goals, and gender equality as a binding roadmap to transform the existing production and consumption models, making them compatible with social and environmental sustainability.
  • Seek to recover the idea of a democratic Europe, a space for human rights, freedom, peace, and cooperation; rather than the Europe of austerity, which currently marches towards an abyss of xenophobia, social exclusion, and inequality. Austerity poses a threat to our societies: we want an economic model that places the interests of social majorities above those of the privileged, the banks, and the corporations.
  • Will stop processes, treaties, and negotiations such as TTIP, which seek to destabilize the world even further by granting unaccountable power to economic lobbies and multinational corporations. The secretive negotiation of such treaties is at odds with the basic principles of democratic societies. We demand transparency in these negotiations and will support the creation of global, binding human rights obligations for transnational companies.
  • Demand the creation of an intergovernmental fiscal agency under the UN’s mandate in order to face collectively and internationally the indecency of tax evasion, tax havens, and illicit capital flows. Corporations must abide by the law and pay taxes in the countries where they generate their profits.
  • Support the reform of the UN system and the incorporation of more women to leadership positions—a vital step to promote truly democratic multilateralism and transform global economic governance. International economic structures must adopt a perspective of social rights and gender equality, including a framework for the restructuring of sovereign debt.
  • Ensure that human rights are for everyone. We must guarantee economic, political, cultural, and social rights; but also non-discrimination on the basis of gender, race, or sexual identity. Recognizing and guaranteeing women’s rights, as well as fighting against structural forms of discrimination and violence against them, must be an absolute priority. It is also essential to support the adoption of an International Convention on LGBT rights.
  • Respecting the rights of refugees and migrants. This requires us to respond with dignity to the refugee crisis and strengthen international protection against prosecution—one of the greatest achievements of international law.
  • Develop a foreign policy that lays out an international framework of human security, which reduces the number of conflicts worldwide through the active promotion of a culture of peace and the broadening and enforcement of the Arms Trade Treaty.

Bilbao, June 19th