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Our commitment to social justice

Emergency statement agreed at ActionAid General Assembly

At the ActionAid General Assembly last week, the following text was proposed by a number of member countries, including the USA, Guatemala, Italy, Brazil, Uganda, Denmark, India and Spain. 

The statement was unanimously approved and is therefore presented here. 

ActionAid has been consolidating a collective political analysis and understanding of the major trends facing all of our countries across the world, informed by our current strategy, Action for Global Justice.  

We see a rise of authoritarianism and fascism in many of our countries and a shrinking of civil society space. There are increasing acts of state violence against vulnerable people including women, children, LGBTQI+ people, indigenous people, immigrants, migrants and others. Climate change is already having a devastating impact and young people are joining the climate justice movement and rising up to demand that global leaders take urgent action to protect the planet.  

Unbridled capitalism is fuelling these crises with land grabs that primarily affect indigenous people, corporate capture of common goods and assaults on the rights of workers. In this context we see increasing criminalisation of human rights defenders, worker movements, climate justice activists, indigenous leaders that defend their territories, those working for justice for immigrants, migrants and refugees. 

We understand that all these flow from the intersections between patriarchy, racism, capitalism and militarism. The violence against women’s bodies is connected to the violence against the earth and the violent capture of territories. Because there are systems, structures and laws that are shrinking civil society space and criminalising those that seek justice, we recognise that our efforts to uphold the principles of international conventions on human rights and other frameworks that protect people and planet could become, or be seen as, nonviolent acts of civil disobedience.  

We state as ActionAid International in this Assembly that we as a Federation: 

  • We will be aligned with our allies and partners who are facing injustice and violence in this context and seek to support them.
  • We will commit ourselves to make visible the systemic root causes of these injustices.  
  • We will commit to making the connections between the experience of these injustices across our countries as well as the global systems and structures that perpetuate these abuses and foster solidarity and common action to build a world aligned with our organisational vision.  
  • We will become more flexible, agile and creative in our responses, joining with social movements, allies and others that push back against injustice and call for a more equitable and sustainable world.  
  • We will accept that in some cases ActionAid staff, partners or people in the communities we work with might chose lawful, non‐violent peaceful civil disobedience as a tactic that makes visible unjust laws that perpetuate systemic injustice in the traditions of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Berta Caceres, Marielle Franco, Rigoberta Menchu, and others.  
  • We recognise that in some of our contexts simply continuing our work and struggle for justice will become acts of civil disobedience because this work has itself been criminalised in the context of new laws passed by repressive authoritarian or fascist states.  
  • We recognise ourselves as human rights and justice defenders that stand for multilateralism, life and true citizenship for everybody, Humanity first! and we will continue promoting values of solidarity. 
  • Any actions will need to be grounded in the context and driven by the people most affected, with our duty of care not to put them at risk.