UNITED Press Release - International Refugee Day - 20 June 2012
Amsterdam, June 20, 2012 - Will You Turn A Blind Eye? More vigilant than ever, we are still campaigning. Against Fortress Europe
- 16.264 deaths have been documented in UNITED's List of Deaths since 1993
- at least 804 people have died in the last year
- On the 50th anniversary of the Geneva Convention in 2001, the United Nations declared June 20th as International Refugee Day.
How many more years until European civil society realises what is going on?
Death, detention, mistreatment, humiliation, and harassment are just some obstacles that migrants have to face in their search for a future. These obstacles are due to serious flaws in European and national asylum and immigration policies that threaten human life and dignity.
UNITED for Intercultural Action, the pan-European network of more than 550 organisations working against racism, fascism, nationalism and in support of refugees and migrants has since 1993 waged an on-going campaign to raise awareness of the fatal realities of "Fortress Europe".
The situation that migrants face in Europe is more serious than ever. The current economic climate creates hostility towards them. Newspapers reveal an alarming increase in the attacks they endure, especially in the countries the most shaken by the crisis.
In a report on 14 June, the Guardian newspaper quoted a candidate from right-wing Greek party Golden Dawn as saying, "If Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) gets into Parliament, it will carry out raids on hospitals and kindergartens and it will throw immigrants and their children out on the street so that Greeks can take their place". The head of an association of Afghans told Kathimerini how the level of violence against migrants has risen since the elections "There are daily beatings. [...] Most incidents are not known because immigrants do not notify authorities. They are afraid for their lives or don't have legal papers or lack the funds to pay the cost of a lawsuit".
The frequency and severity of these attacks should make every European citizen question the decisions the European Union is taking in order to "control the influx of migrants" and "secure our borders".
Will you remain blind and deaf to these injustices? Will you continue to accept these policies, and the principles that underlie them? We cannot stand by as our governments totally disregard our commitment to equal rights, making policies in our name that have fatal consequences.
The European antiracist movement wholly rejects the current security narrative, and calls for a political framework based on equality, justice and human rights. Above all, we demand that migrants' right to life is respected and enforced all over Europe be it during their journey to reach our borders, at our borders themselves, or within them. We are here to make sure breaches of this fundamental right do not remain hidden.
Today the organisations fighting for migrants' rights must be supported by European civil society in its entirely. Without such unity it will be difficult to reverse current far-right trends, and turn the tide. What is happening cannot, and must not, be ignored by civil society. Our campaigning for the rights of every migrant should be stronger and more united than ever. The media is a key player in this process. Report and make visible these cases of migrants' deaths; we need to expose them for what they are: a large scale phenomenon.
The number of the death cases compiled in the UNITED List of Deaths speaks for itself.
DO NOT IGNORE IT. Face the realities of "Fortress Europe"!
Source: UNITED for Intercultural Action