As more European far-right parties are coming up to the political surface, concerns about where that leaves our democracy are being expressed.
Vinciane Cordemans in her private home, where she lives side-by-side with immigrants whom she’s hosting. Photo: Sofie Rønnelund
By Sofie Rønnelund
Although the upcoming far-right parties are chosen because of democracy, there’s a risk that they also threaten democratic values at the same time.
One of the risks being that these parties tend to reinforce authoritarian trends by making a ‘strong single leader the solution’, and encouraging people to support the leadership no matter what, Researcher of International Studies, Hans-Henrik Holm says:
“Some also create divisions within a society by stressing an us-them trend, for instance regarding immigrants.”
Meanwhile others may fear the far-right’s agendas regarding immigrants or LGBT+ rights, some are simply still worried about their fundamental human rights.
This is, at least, the case for Noémi Pap-Takács from Hungary. She expresses concerns about right-wing on a general and European scale – but not nationally:
“Hungary is a post communist country, and right now the main issue is our economic problems. LGBT+ rights are important, but for now our basic human rights aren’t even being met. So that worries me more.”
The effects of rights being threatened
And the concern is valid. Dorte Christiansen, PhD and assistant professor at the Department of Psychology at SDU, explains how the loss of our rights can affect us mentally:
“Having human rights is a security in our everyday lives. So losing them, or being afraid of losing them, can lead to feelings of uncertainty – and even clinical symptoms such as anxiety or depression. However, the loss of human rights doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You can only take away rights in an environment which allows it, meaning that in communities where rights such as LGBT+ rights are withdrawn – prejudices, misogyny, homophobia and so on probably already exist.”
The effects of being suppressed as a minority is something Vinciane Cordemans from Belgium has seen with her own eyes. For years, she has been welcoming immigrants in her home, to give them exactly what their lack of rights couldn’t – a sense of security.
“Our immigrants and our democracy are threatened by the far-right movements here in Europe. What claims to be a welcoming continent, isn’t anymore.”
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