Building Bridges Statement

Humanity has always moved all around the world since its early ages. People move for several reasons, such as study, work, holidays. But they are often also forced to move in order to flee persecution, wars, economic crisis and natural disasters. Most of them move to escape violence, but also to improve the living conditions and fulfill the personal life plan, and SCI recognizes this right to everybody who dreams about a different life path.

Migrant person: “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country”.
(Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Refugee or asylum seeker: “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”
(Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

    In that sense, SCI believes that each human being has to be the core of governmental policies before any economic or political evaluation. According to that, SCI promotes the freedom of movement and the right to citizenship at the global level, regardless of  the reasons bringing people to leave their birthplace or the means they use to travel. However, too many current approaches, on a communication or legislative level, divide migrant people between legal and illegal, according to the reasons bringing them to leave their birthplace, referring to the means they use to travel or to treatment they get at their arrival in the hosting country.

    Today one big challenge for Europe is the forced migration of people fleeing from conflict zones and looking for a safe and better life. The numbers are rapidly growing, thus intimidating the stability of local communities and economies. Societies are being polarized and the growth of right wing extremism is creating a threat for European democracies.

    In order to overthrow this narrative, for 100 years now,  the international network of SCI promotes a culture of peace by organizing international volunteering projects aimed at creating paths of social inclusion and social justice, in a constant effort to overcome cultural barriers and divisions among people and, above all, to work on the socio-political dynamics that determine them. Through our workcamps, we reject all violent narratives, including racism, xenophobia, intolerance and the distinction between legal or illegal migrants. Our organizations and our members of the SCI movement are working to bring people together, and to let them share both an experience and their life stories. The first condition to make this a reality is the possibility and the right to move.

    In this way, we support activities and projects that believe in the transformative power of exchange between people from different backgrounds. We believe this will also create more open and tolerant societies, and ultimately a more peaceful world.

    We, as participants of Exchange Platform Meeting (EPM) 2018, who come from 45 countries*, have just finished our five day meeting where we have heard dozens of stories that give testimony of restrictions on movement for people from many countries who simply strive to do voluntary service, and taking the opportunity to meet peers from other cultures in order to learn, exchange and explore. It is our shared impression that these restrictions are becoming not only more numerous but also more strict around the world. Therefore, we want to reaffirm the Freedom of Movement position paper ( as drafted in 2014 by the CCIVS general assembly, since it resonates with the core values that we stand for as a peace movement. Our organisations are working to bring people together, and to let them share both an experience and their life stories. The first condition for this is the possibility to move. We believe this will also create more open and tolerant societies in general, and ultimately a more peaceful world. As a movement we support the vision of a world without borders and facilitate the free movement of all people. Additionally we, as Service Civil International activists and volunteers present at the EPM, call on all countries to immediately:  Acknowledge and reduce visa conditions and procedures that restrict people around the world to move; Be mindful and act on discriminatory behaviour of certain authority representatives towards movement of people (based on ethnic origin, skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic situation, birth or other status, as stated in Freedom of Movement position paper); Raise awareness about this specific issue people across the world are facing today. Supporting branches: GAIA Kosovo VCV Serbia SCI Sweden
    * List of countries: Armenia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Croatia…

    Statement by Exchange Platform Meeting 2018 on the Right to Free Movement Proposal was approved unanimously by all delegates of EPM (50 votes in favour) 19th October 2018


    If you would like more information or have an activity related to the Building Bridges programme that you would like to share or any other queries, please send us a message via this contact form: