Appeal for the Universal Right to Know

We, women and men, responsible for legislation and government; men and women of science, literature, art; diverse for reasons of religion, history, spiritual formation; all women and men of peace,

Aware of the grave risks threatening peaceful coexistence in many parts of the world due to the increasing erosion of democracy and the Rule of Law, even in so-called “democratic” countries;

Deeply concerned with the serious and ever more frequent violations of the legal framework that shapes civil life in the regions of the Western World and those of the so-called “Arab Spring”; violations that affect genuine political democracy and increase conflicts, poverty and upset peaceful social orders;

Feel the urgency of political action capable of bringing democratic States back in line with the principles that inspired them and the norms deriving from those principles, by restoring their internal and international constitutionality.

This means we need concrete initiatives to redesign a potentially universal democratic legality.

In this sense, it is obviously useless to appeal on the old and unsuccesful calls to the use of force, which merely produce new and painful wounds.

We firmly believe in the Rule of Law, and only in the Rule of Law can we find the key to peace.

A new policy based on the Rule of Law can be constructed through a series of actions, to be designed with an open and critical mind and to be practiced in solidarity.

The first element of this political initiative, one that holds together all others, is the conviction that a State cannot be democratic if knowledge is reserved only to one, a few or even many people, but not shared by all. If democracy is the power of the people, and if one is powerless because one cannot decide properly if one does not know, it is evident that the people, that all citizens, have the right to know.

The second element is the existence of the ability to know, that is, to be able to receive information, to critically select and properly assess this information, in order to decide in the best manner possible. This means that a strong initiative to help everyone, without exception, to improve and refine their cognitive capacities is essential. The struggle for an earnest intellectual formation open to all and the reinforcement of the tools of information dissemination is a preliminary condition for the affirmation of the right to know.

The third element obliges those powers possessing information, which is essential to popular decisions, to provide that information. Hence, our initiative targets the highest international authorities, States, organisations and individuals that hold information. It is a great challenge, which needs to be supported by the patient strength of debate at all levels. It aims to defeat the old dogma of sovereign power, the so-called “Reason of State”: to reduce its claim to more reasonable limits, to suppress its use for situations within the State and to establish rules for its application. But even more than the “secrets” of the past, the campaign against the “Reason of State” must shed light on the objective reasons, those in favour and those against, behind the decisions that are to be taken. After all, what counts the most is not to condemn the irrevocable past, but to “know to deliberate” on the possible future.

Only a State that recognizes the citizens’ right to know may aspire to be considered a true State within the Rule of Law.

We the undersigned are firmly convinced that if the inhabitants of the world know the real issues and the conditions at stake, they will most likely take all reasonable steps to avert the looming threats. Therefore, in reasonable convergence with the Manifesto-Appeal of June 1981 of the 113 Nobel Laureates against extermination by hunger, thirst and wars in the world, we add the appeal against the infamous refusal to provide information and the deceit of knowledge denied.

This appeal, above all, commits us, each within our own civil responsibilities, to promote the transition towards a democratic and federalist State based on the universal right to know, through all possible initiatives, primarily within the United Nations.

Ali Alaswad, former MP, Bahrain
Khalil al-Marzooq, former First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Bahrain
Marou Amadou, Minister of Justice, Niger
Bakhtiar Amin, former Minister for Human Rights, Iraq
Abdullah An Na’im, Professor of Law, Emory University, United States
Gianluca Ansalone, Analyst of international politics and security, Italy
Mokeni Ataningamu, Senator, Dem. Rep. Congo
Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, MEP, Spain
Rita Bernardini, Secretary of Radicali Italiani, former MP, Italy
Samuele Bertinelli, Mayor of Pistoia, Italy
Marco Beltrandi, former MP, Italy
Marco Cappato, Member of the Council of the Metropolitan City of Milan, Treasurer of Associazione Luca Coscioni, former MEP, Italy
Giuseppe Cassini, Ambassador, Italy
Daniel Cohn-Bendit, former MEP and co-president of the Greens/Free European Alliance Group in the European Parliament, France/Germany
Furio Colombo, Journalist, former Senator, Italy
Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, United Kingdom
Vincenzo D’Anna, Senator, Italy
Sergio D’Elia, Secretary of Hands Off Cain, former MP, Italy
Pier Virgilio Dastoli, President of the European Movement,Italy
Vito De Filippo, State Secretary for Health, Italy
Luigi De Magistris, Mayor of Naples, former MEP, Italy
Filomena Gallo, Secretary of Associazione Luca Coscioni, Italy
André Gattolin, Senator Hauts-de-Seine, France
Sid Ahmed Ghozali, former Prime Minister, Algeria 
Charles Goerens, MEP, Luxembourg
Ramin Jahanbegloo, Philosopher, professor of political science, Iran/Canada
Birgitta Jónsdóttir MP, The Pirate Party, Iceland 
Salvatore Margiotta, Senator, Italy
Aldo Masullo, Philosopher, former Member of Parliament, Italy
Louis Michel MEP, former European Commissioner and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Belgium
Marco Pannella, Leader of the Nonviolent Radical Party, former MP and MEP, Italy
Giuliano Pisapia, Mayor of Milan, former MP, Italy
Deuzoumbe Daniel Passalet President of the association Human Rights Without Borders, Chad
Claudio Radaelli, Professor of Political Sciences at the University of Exeter, United Kingdom
Sam Rainsy, leader of the Opposition, Cambodia 
Brian Rappert, Professor of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology at the University of Exeter, United Kingdom
Ezechia Paolo Reale, Secretary General of the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences, Italy
Najima Thay Thay Rhozali, former Secretary of State Ministry of Education, Morocco
Guido Silvestri, Professor & Vice-Chair for Research Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine Chief, USA
Lord David Steel of Aikwood, former leader of the Liberal Party, United Kingdom
Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, Ambassador, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Italy
Saumura Tioulong, Opposition MP, Cambodia
Ramon Tremosa i Balcells MEP, Spain
Vo Van Ai, President of “Que Me: Action for Democracy in Vietnam”, France
Antonello Venditti, singer, Italy
Sir Graham Watson, President of the ALDE Party, former MEP, United Kingdom
Jianli Yang, President of “Initiatives for China”, Harvard Fellow, United States
Elisabetta Zamparutti, Member of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, former MP