EHF President Giulio Ercolessi took part last week in Milan in a panel debate on transnational issues within the 12th Congress of the Associazione Radicale Certi Diritti, one of the main Italian LGBTI associations. The panel was focused on the discrimination and persecution of LGBTI persons in North Africa, and on the relative asylum and integration policies in Italy and the EU. Together with Ercolessi, the participants were Mounir Baatour, the president of SHAMS (a LGBTI rights defence association in Tunisia) and a professional solicitor in Tunisian courts, and LGBTI refugees in Italy, who took part in the debate under pseudonym, in order not to put at risk their family members in their countries of origin.
In his intervention, the EHF president pleaded for the building of a wall of separation in defense of the European democratic “identity”: not one of the kind advocated by Trump or Salvini, but, on the contrary, one similar to the “wall of separation” between politics and religion “contemplated with sovereign reverence” by Thomas Jefferson in 1802. Today more than ever, our plural societies need such a clear separation as the best tool necessary for a fruitful living together and to facilitate integration and individual freedom for everybody. Not just in Europe, but also in countries with different cultural and religious traditions. Rather than building Trump-style walls, Europe should help defend non conformist thinkers and discriminated minorities both at home and within the international community.