We see with great concern that an unjustified mass refusal of visas to participants from the Global South is taking place in the preparation of the World Social Forum (9-14 August 2016).
To the International Council of the WSF,
To the WSF Montreal local Organizing Committee,
To all organizers, media-makers and activist who are invested in the integrity of the WSF.
We see with great concern that an unjustified mass refusal of visas to participants from the Global South is taking place in the preparation of the World Social Forum (9-14 August 2016). The preparation of the Forum has included a political and collective process, as well as the purchase of travel tickets and a lot of important costs that the organisations and social movements have shouldered in order to participate at the WSF. But activists from Latin America, Africa and Asia, have been refused visas based on unacceptable, exclusionary and discriminatory argumentation and within the framework of an outsourced visa application process that privatizes the rights of the people to freedom of movement and assembly.
As members of a large number of international, regional and national movements, networks and organisations, some of which have been part of the WSF process since its inception, we call on the WSF Montreal local Organizing Committee and the International Council of the WSF to respond to this situation without delay by contacting immediately the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other pertinent authorities so that the delegates that are invited to participate in the various activities of the WSF will receive their visas.
We ask as well for a letter of protest to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and for an emergency meeting with the Ministry to be scheduled in order to request a ministerial directive that will revert the visa denial.
We further suggest the IC to prepare immediately a list of people that are denied visas to Canada as documentation for the meetings and letters of protest.
We believe that the denial of visas is of extreme gravity and constitutes an unacceptable violation of the right to movement and to travel. It consolidates a colonial and racist dynamic that separates between those than can and those that cannot travel and participate in the debates. With this it completely undermines the raison d'être of the World Social Forum.
We also call to all organizers, media-makers and activist who are invested in the integrity of the WSF to take initiatives of protest to raise pressure on the Canadian government in order to allow speakers and delegates from the Global South to join the WSF in Montreal.
We have to stand together to achieve a real "World" Social Forum, not an exclusive space for people that could get the visa!
Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity
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