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I am Hannah Neumann and I am a politician.
I am a member of the European Parliament
and I work on foreign policy.
In other words, I deal with countries
that are not in the European Union.

And I am a feminist. 
So I am against discrimination against women.
I believe that all people should have the same rights,
no matter their gender.

These things are important to me:

Peace and security

I want people everywhere to be able to live in peace.
We have often had wars in Europe.
But we got along again.
This is a role model for many people around the world.
They also want to live in peace.

But there are wars in many countries around the world.
I want to help with my work
that there is peace there too.
That is why I work for more people
to be able to settle disputes.
Then there will be less war.

Here in Europe, we produce weapons.
We sell these weapons to other countries.
That’s often not good, because:
When people have weapons,
then they often start wars.

I think we need strict rules in the European Union
So we sell less weapons to other countries.

For example, we need to take a close look:

  • Which country wants to buy weapons from us?
  • Does the government in the country want to
    start a war with these weapons?
  • Or does the government in the country want to 
threaten people who live there?

Sometimes we have to say:
You will not get any weapons from us.
Because: 
Our weapons should not be used to start wars.
Or to prolong wars.
Or to threaten people.

Human rights

I want all people everywhere in the world
to have the same rights.
Everyone should have enough to eat and drink.
Everyone should have a home.
Everyone should be allowed to express their opinion.
Also people who write for a newspaper
or work for the radio.

I meet with people
who are not allowed to say what they think in their country.
And with people who are fighting
for human rights.

These people are often not treated well.
Some of them have already been in prison.
Some have been beaten.
Some have been threatened.
Or their families have been threatened.

I talk to these people.
I tell others about these people.
I want everyone to know that these people exist.
I also talk to governments in countries
where these people are treated badly.
I tell them that they should treat these people better.

And I work in the European Parliament to make sure
that we support these people.
For example, I want them to be able

to enter the European Union more easily.

Feminism

In many countries around the world, 
women do not have the same rights as men.
In some countries, women are not allowed
to work in all jobs.
Or they are not allowed to travel alone.
Or they are not allowed to decide who they marry.
I think that is wrong.

Feminism is
when you fight for equal rights for women and men.
That is what I do.

When I travel to other countries,
I almost always meet with women first.
I want to hear their opinions.
I want to hear about their problems.
I want to know what the European Union can do
to support them.

Women everywhere are fighting for their rights.
In some countries they go to prison for it.
Or they are threatened.
Then I talk about this in the European Parliament.
Or on social media.

I want everyone to know how these women are doing.
I travel to many countries.
I also tell the governments in these countries
that women must have the same rights as men.

I think that women are important for peace.

Peace does not just mean that there is no war.
Peace also means not being afraid.
Women often have different experiences in life than men.
In some countries, for example, 
women fetch water from the well.
It is important for them to be safe on the way there.
Some women are beaten by their husbands.
Then they are not safe and are afraid.

So we have to make sure
that women have a say.
Also when it comes to peace.

For example: 2 groups have fought against each other in one country
and now they want to get along.
Then women from both groups should also have a say.

I am working in the European Parliament
to make sure we think more about women in foreign policy.
We need to listen to women more.
And we need to show in the European Union
that women are important to us.
For example: When we from the European Parliament
visit other countries,
then our travelling groups should have
equal numbers of women and men.

And it is also important in Europe
that women take part in politics.
Unfortunately, this is still not the case everywhere.

Near and Middle East

“Near and Middle East” is the name for a region in Asia. 

I deal with many countries in this region.
In the Middle East, for example, with these countries:
Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia,
Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
In the Middle East, for example
with Afghanistan and Iran.
I have travelled to almost all of these countries.

I chair a group in the European Parliament
that deals with countries in the Middle East.
I talk to the governments in these countries.
And I talk to people
who live in these countries.
For example, with people who campaign for human rights.

In many countries in the Near and Middle East
women do not have the same rights as men.
I want that to change.
I tell this to the governments in these countries.
And I also say this in the European Parliament.

There is also a lot of oil in many of these countries.
But oil is not good for the environment.
That’s why I want
these countries to stop selling so much oil.
They could sell solar energy instead, for example.
I also talk about this when I travel to these countries.

The European Union is working
with many countries in the Middle East.
I want us to get along well.
That’s why it is important
that we talk to each other.

The Oder river and the Haff

The Oder river crosses many countries in Europe.
Part of the Oder lies exactly on the border
between Germany and Poland.

The Haff is where the Oder joins the sea.
I like the Oder and the Haff.
Many animals and plants live there.
Many people go on holiday there.
And there are also big companies there.

But the Oder is too polluted.
That’s why a lot of fish died there once.
We humans are dumping too much waste water into the Oder.
I want the Oder to be better again.

I have often travelled to the Oder.
I have brought people together
who believe that this river is important.
These people come from Germany and Poland.

But some people want the Oder to be a street for ships.
This means less nature and more concrete.
And they want to build a large harbour
where the Oder joins the sea.

I don’t think that’s good.
The Oder and the Haff need peace and quiet.
So that lots of animals can live there again.

There are laws in the European Union
to protect nature.
The new harbour by the sea
may break one of these laws.
So I tell the European Commission
that it should not give any money for the harbour.

Former Stasi headquarters

In the past, there was not one Germany,
but 2 countries.
One of the countries was called the GDR.
The GDR was a dictatorship.
A dictatorship is a country
where there is only one ruler.
Or only one political party.
In the GDR there was only one political party.
In a dictatorship, people are not allowed to say
what they think.
Otherwise they must go to prison.
This often happened in the GDR.

There was a department in the GDR.
The department was called the “Ministry for State Security”.
The abbreviation is: Stasi.
The Stasi wanted to know what people were thinking,
for example:

  • Who is against the government?
  • Who wants to leave the GDR?

Many people in the GDR were afraid of the Stasi.
They were afraid of going to prison.
At some point, people in the GDR
no longer wanted to live like that.
They wanted to be free.

So they fought back.
They took to the streets.
They shouted loudly
that they no longer wanted a dictatorship.
They supported each other.
And they did it!
In 1989 the GDR was over.

When a dictatorship comes to an end,
there is often violence.
People often die.
Or they are injured.

This did not happen when the GDR ended.
Which is why the movement is called „Peaceful Revolution“.
That makes me happy. 

Many buildings from the GDR
still exist today.
The Stasi building is also still there.
The building is in Berlin, in the Lichtenberg district.

Today, a large part of the building is empty.
I am a board member of an association.
The association wants to make better use of the building.
For example, for a large museum.

In the museum, we want to tell the story of the people
who were against the dictatorship.
Artists should also work
in the building.
And more young people should come.
We want them to learn about democracy.

We now have a democracy in Germany.
That makes me very happy.

Europe on the ground

Most people in Europe live in towns and villages.
The European Union is important for towns and villages.
It gives them money, for example.
The towns and villages can then spend the money,
for example on a new school or an old people’s home.

But the laws of the European Union
are also important for towns and villages,
for example the laws on environmental protection.
They ensure that cars no longer
blow so many exhaust fumes into the air.
Or that there are more different plants in the cities.

I think we need to tell people in towns and villages
more about the European Union.
So people can understand:
The European Union is important for me.

Strengthening democracy

Democracy is when the people decide
who should govern.
People can vote for different political parties.
The party with the most votes can then govern.
But only until the next elections.

In a democracy, all people
have the same rights and duties.
Unfortunately, more and more people in the European Union 
are against democracy.
These people do not want
that everyone has the same rights.
And these people attack other people,
for example because they are foreigners
or because they have a different religion
or because they have a different opinion.
I think that’s terrible.

Democracy is very important to me.
I want all people 
to have the same rights and obligations.
I support people
who work for our democracy.
I meet with these people.
I bring them into contact with other people.
And I try to help them
when they are threatened because of their work.
I speak about these people in the European Parliament.
Because their work is important.

4 people with learning difficulties from capito Berlin
have checked the text for comprehensibility.

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