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Muslim Aid Media Centre

Humanitarian values should be centre stage in this election

The general election called this week for 12 December will be extraordinarily unpredictable. And whatever the result, it will fundamentally shape the future of this country and how we respond to the challenges of our time. We encourage everyone to register to vote and have your say.

We are also encouraging everyone, regardless of party affiliation, to stand up for compassion and humanitarian values at this election. 

We are often told that the country is polarised and divided, that it has become more closed-minded, and that politicians will be made unpopular for raising issues like foreign aid or the refugee crisis. 

The experience we have of working with and bringing together people and communities across viewpoints and backgrounds says otherwise – in spite of a difficult few years in politics, there remain people everywhere who believe in humanity. 

Pollsters at Eurobarometer just last week found that two thirds of the public believed that maintaining overseas aid at its current level should be “a major priority”. The results also found that almost 90% of people thought helping people in developing countries should be a priority of the EU and national governments. 

Similar survey work on global humanitarian issues such as refugee protection and climate change issue a mixed but positive picture, with people often more willing to take action than governments. 

In this election, charities as well as political figures and others in public life should use the opportunities that a campaign period provides to make a bold argument for fairness and justice. 

The conversations had during this election cannot be confined to the minutiae of the Brexit process alone. Those aspiring to be our representatives should be held to account on the basis of their belief in creating a more decent society, their commitment to supporting vulnerable people and communities at home and around the world, and their dedication to working together across borders to solve issues that affect us all. 

Elections do not come along very often. And they are a chance to show public debate at its best. We must all do our bit to make the best of this one, and ensure whoever forms a government on December 13 knows the strength of public support for aid, humanitarianism and global justice.

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