Public Figures & City Municipalities Joined the International Day!

UNITED called on governmental representatives, city municipalities and public figures to take part in the campaign. We asked them to take a simple, no cost, step to help change Europe for the better – a vision for the future of an intercultural Europe is essential.

In previous campaigns, mayors of major cities including Amsterdam, Berlin, Dublin, Lisbon and Sarajevo have joined UNITED in sending a powerful message against hate and intolerance.

For the 2016 cities campaign, we asked mayors and other city representatives to join the campaign by telling us who heir Human Rights Superhero was.


Torino, Italy

“My Human Rights Superhero is Harvey Milk. The reason is in the photo”

Marco Alessandro Giusta, Councillor of the City of Turin for Equal Opportunities, Coordination of Policies for Multiculturalism (pictured)


 Palermo, Italy

“In continuity with what has been done in the past during the week against racism promoted by UNAR, having named a square in his name, for his pragmatic political capabilities to the liberation struggle of his people by putting democracy to the armed struggle, the Superhero chosen by ‘Councillor for Participation and rights of the Municipality of Palermo Citizen is Nelson Mandela. Man symbol of equality and antiracism, Nobel Prize, Lenin and Sakharov to peace and freedom of thought.”

Palermo City Council




Liege, Belgium

“My Human Rights Superhero, Guy Melen, started making a difference when he was very young. He played a very active role in the “resistance” during the war : intercepting funds transfers, attacking stations, structuring an information network, …

When he is arrested, he keeps silent and denies any belonging to the resistance network. He is deported and spends 10 months in concentration camps, he is taken in the terrible death marches and very narrowly escapes drowning when the prison-ship he is held prisoner in is sabotaged.

Very active in  the association of political prisoners, with his old-time companion, Pol Brusson, he is also very much implicated within Amnesty International. He shares his stories, visits schools, accompanies pedagogical trips and is at the origin of the Foundation “Territories of Memory” fighting ideas of extreme right. He always located his fight within a political context, he was an integre and determined socialist.

Guy Melen died in 2012. He was my friend and life teacher. I miss him enormously”

Jean Pierre Hupkens, Deputy Mayor of Liege (pictured)


Ghent, Belgium

“Our Ghent human rights superhero is Maurice Maréchal (pictured). Exactly 40 years ago, in 1976, Maurice Maréchal planted the first seeds of what was later to become a strong local integration policy. Maurice made it his calling as a civil servant to support and assist migrant workers and their families struggling to find their way in Ghent. For 36 years he was in the forefront, helping out newcomers from all over the world. Both professionally and as a volunteer, he stood by their side, guiding them through the maze of rules and regulations at the heart of so many social services: health care, housing, public administration and so on. Although he is now retired, Maurice still remains an inspiration for so many of us who take a stand against racism and make a case for social inclusion.”

Resul Tapmaz, Deputy Mayor of Ghent


Cluj-Napoca, Romania

“We do not have peace and tolerance in our DNA, so we have to fight for tolerance and peace in our future to let it not happen ever again. Never again.”

Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca (pictured)


Amsterdam, the Netherlands

“Coming from a city Amsterdam, where more than 180 nationalities live together, I believe tolerance and respecting differences is essential for the success of the city.”

Wouter van der Heijde, senior adviser on European affairs for the City of Amsterdam (pictured)