MINELRES: UNITED E-NEWS: Weekly deaths at European borders

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.delfi.lv
Thu Jun 26 13:19:51 2003


Original sender: UNITED <info@unitedagainstracism.org>
               

E-NEWS 19/06/2003: Weekly deaths at European borders 
UNITED E-NEWS 19/06/2003

20 June International Refugee Day
"Weekly deaths at European borders - fatal realities of Fortress Europe"

On Monday this week, many would-be-immigrants from Africa drowned near
Sicily in a Sea tragedy. On Tuesday, in the Strait of Gibraltar Spanish
marines rescued about 160 refugees, who got into distress. While the
leader of Italy's far-right Lega Nord suggests to shoot "illegal"
immigrants with cannons out of the water, thousands of refugees in
desperate situations die at the borders of Fortress Europe.

UNITED, the European network against racism, monitors refugee deaths
since 1993. The network of 560 anti-racist and refugee organisations has
documented over 3800 deaths
(http://www.united.non-profit.nl/pdfs/listofdeaths), who for instance
drowned in the Mediterranean See, the Strait of Gibraltar, suffocated in
trucks or committed suicide in Europe's detention centers.

On 18 June this year, BBC reported about a would-be-immigrant, who died
after jumping into the English Channel. It seems that the 25-year-old
man from the Ivory Coast decided to jump overboard when the crew found
him hidden on the upper deck of a container ship. Earlier this year, a
22-year old Nigerian died of a lack of medical care in the refugee
transit center in Thurhof (CH), followed just a few days later by a
18-year-old Iraqi, who crushed to death while trying to climb on a lorry
in Calais (F) on its way to England.

UNITED spokesperson Leon Wansleben says: "All these deaths tell us a
simple truth: Refugees will keep on coming to Europe even if we try our
best to lock up Europe's doors. On the EU summit in Thessaloniki on 20
and 21 June, the European leaders will discuss on how to protect the
external borders from clandestine immigration. It is frightening that
the push factor behind this policy of external border control is the
desired decrease of asylum applications. Europe's commitment to the 1951
Geneva Convention, whose 52 anniversary is ironically celebrated on 20
June, is ignored at the moment." UNITED also criticizes UK's proposal
for EU 'Transit Processing Centers', which will be discussed in
Thessaloniki. Human Rights organisations like Amnesty International and
Human Rights Watch call such centers "unlawful and unworkable" driving
even more refugees underground. UNITED is convinced that instead Europe
should turn to policies that address the causes for flight. Global
social injustice and world-wide armed conflicts make people leave
everything behind and risk their lives. "If we do not take care that the
global political and socio-economic situation gets better, we cannot
realistically expect people to stay in situations that we ourselves
would find unbearable. Our commitment to human rights demands us to see
refugees as human beings with individuals rights and needs."

20 JUNE INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE DAY
Many non-governmental organisations co-operate in support of refugees
around 20 June, the International Refugee Day 2003. In nearly all
European countries activities take place, for example:
- In Great-Britain, several human rights and refugee organisations
organise a Refugee Week with more than 160 activities all over the
country. Please check www.refugeeweek.org.uk/
- The African Refugee Network in Ireland organises the "World Refugee
Day Awards"
- In Romania, the Youth Forum for European Integration undertakes
different activities around 20 June.

REFUGEE PROJECT AT PRAGUE BIENALE
At the Prague Bienale Art Exhibition (27.6 - 31.8) the Italian artist
Mario Rizzi will present an installation based on the UNITED Refugee
Death List.

LINKS
http://www.unitedagainstracism.org more information about the refugee
campaign
http://www.united.non-profit.nl/pdfs/listofdeaths the list of refugee
death cases
http://www.united.non-profit.nl/pdfs/deathlist2003.pdf the campaign
poster documenting the refugee deaths can be ordered for free from the
UNITED secretariat (max 100)

http://www.go-no-go.nl photo exhibition about the refugee situation at
European Borders:
http://border-rescue.social-impact.at/ Internet project on refugee
deaths and Czech-Austrian border


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