MINELRES: UNITED: Three Initiatives against Fortress Europe

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Mon Nov 29 14:04:19 2004

Original sender: UNITED <donotreply@unitedagainstracism.org>

UNITED E-NEWS 23/11/04: Three Initiatives against Fortess Europe

Dear Friends,

Before the European Union summit in the Netherlands in December 2004, we
want to draw your attention to the following three messages (forwarded
below) concerning different initiatives against the policy of "Fortress 

1) The first one is a call against the creation of camps at European
borders, coming from Migreurop (a network whose aim is to make the map
of camps of migrants in Europe). It has already been signed by a lot of
organisations from many countries. It is aimed at our governments, and
it is available on http://www.no-camps.org in different languages. It is
to be signed by writing a mail at no-camps@migreurop.org.

2) The second initiative has been proposed by Cimade, a French
non-governmental organisation that would like to improve the connection
between all those NGOs in Europe that intervene in detention centers,
through the creation of a Directory. If you are interested please
Caroline Intrand by email 
caroline.intrand@cimade.org or by fax to 00331 45 55 92 36 as soon as

3) The last forwarded message comes from Germany: 
Karawanegruppe and Flüchtlingsrat, both based in Hamburg, are looking
for alliances in order to strike back against the inhumane treatment of
refugees and immigrants during EU collective deportation.
Karawanegruppe Hamburg: free2move@nadir.org
Flüchtlingsrat Hamburg: info@fluechtlingsrat-hamburg.de

Thanks in advance for joining these initiatives which show the need for
solidarity in the European-wide activities against racism and for
refugee rights!


Forwarded messages (3) below

1) Call against the creation of camps at European borders

The idea of creating asylum-processing centers outside European borders,
put on hold at the European Summit of Thessalonica in 2003, seems to
have gained support at the European Union Interior Ministers' meeting on
the 1 October 2004. Moreover, on the 5 November 2004, the 25 Heads of
European States promised to create a common asylum system by 2010 and
backed a host of initiatives including a plan for a rapid reaction force
of EU frontier guards. The five-year plan gave no commitment to press
ahead with controversial ideas, championed by Germany and Italy, to
create EU asylum camps in North Africa. Instead it ordered a study on
the possibility of 
joint processing of asylum applications outside EU territory. After
objections from the UK and other nations to the idea of an EU asylum
agency, the document was watered down to include a reference to the
possibility of a "European support office for all forms of co-operation
between member states on asylum".

Diplomatically called "assistance centers", the aim is in fact to create
camps in countries bordering the European Union. Foreigners who attempt
to reach Europe to claim asylum or for other motives, seeking protection
or a better life, would be detained or sent to these centers. A
significant amount of funding appears to have been approved in

According to European Union leaders, this procedure of off-shore
processing is in response to humanitarian concerns: in order to save the
lives of people who every week try to reach the European coasts, it is
preferable detaining them in camps on the other side of the
Mediterranean! If this proposal becomes reality, it would endorse an
unprecedented regression in the way in which Europe intends to assume
its responsibilities towards those who are fleeing conflicts, human
rights abuses and poverty. It is the extension of a cynical logic, which
far from addressing the root causes of forced migration, has sought to
protect Europe over the past ten years from these victims of world
disorder. It is taking the risk of creating refugee camps, which 
will bring back dark memories of those dating back to the 1930s, or more
recently during the war in Bosnia.

We are all affected by these decisions taken by our governments. The
Europe we want cannot abandon its responsibilities, since it has
ratified different international conventions and treaties (Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, Geneva Convention, European Convention on
Human Rights). The Europe we want must put an end to this senseless
approach in the treatment of asylum seekers and migrants.

We reject the concept of camps at European borders. We urge heads of
governments to oppose it firmly. We demand that following fundamental
principles based on international law, the European Union improves
access to protection rather than shifting the responsibility for refugee
protection on other countries.

www.no-camps.org                           no-camps@migreurop.org


2) Directory of all European non-governmental organisations that
intervene in detention centers in their country

Cimade, a French non-governmental organization concerned with the
protection of the rights of refugees and immigrants, is in the process
of compiling a Directory of all European Non-Governmental Organizations
that intervene in detention centers in their country.  The purpose of
the directory would be to provide a 
European-wide reference point for use by all European Organizations
concerned with matters of detention.

It would be extremely great if you could provide Climade with as much
information as you can about your own organization for inclusion in the
directory.  For the purposes of the directory, Climade would like to
have the name and contact details of the service/organization that
specifically deals with detention centers (if separate from your main

Climade intends to have this directory published by the end of November:
we would really appreciate if you could take the time to complete the
questionnaire attached to this email and either return it by email to
Caroline Intrand at caroline.intrand @cimade.org  or by fax to 
00331 45 55 92 36 as soon as possible.

CIMADE - Service Oecuménique d'Entraide
176 rue de Grenelle F-75007 Paris
tel 33-1-44186050  fax 33-1-45560859  http://www.cimade.org


3) Exchange of information about mass deportations

As you probably know, so-called EU-collective-deportations have been
carried out recently. The funds at disposal of the EU for such mass
deportations amount to approx. 30 millions Euro for the years 2005 and
2006. Along with the discussion and practical preparation around refugee
camps outside the EU, e.g. in North Africa or in the former Soviet
republics these European mass deportations are to be deemed as the
prelude for an Europe free of refugees and asylum-seekers. The city of
Hamburg plays an important role in organizing and implementing this
inhumane practice. We, various groups of anti-racist and human rights
activists in 
Hamburg, are directly confronted with this development and are looking
for worldwide alliances enabling us to strike back against the inhumane
treatment (violation of fundamental and human rights) of refugees and
immigrants. In May 2004 the "Auslaenderbehoerde" Hamburg organized for
Germany the mass deportations of so-called exile-oppositions, which have
been coordinated from the airport Schiphol/Amsterdam (Netherlands) to
the despotically governed Togo and Cameroon. Regardless of the ban on
night time flying, 15 people were deported by force and secretly from
Hamburg's airport Fuhlsbüttel to Amsterdam. Simultaneously and
accompanied by massive police forces refugees from Togo, Cameroon,
Belgium, France, Great Britain and the Netherlands were 
assembled and deported from there to West Africa in a collective
transport. Later on deported refugees reported about police brutality,
arrests and interrogations at the place of destination. In September
2004 the Hamburg authorities proudly took care of organizing and
implementing an EU-collective-deportation (see comment in appendix).

Regarding this topic we need an international alliance in respect of the
strengthened coordination of the European deportation politics, the more
and more faster procedure, the secrecy and the deceiving of the public
by the authorities and politicians. First contacts could be established
during the above- mentioned mass 
deportations. We need a permanent exchange of information concerning the
EU-collective deportations enabling us to react quickly on one hand and
on the other hand to plan strategically. For instance, in Germany
information about planned deportations are only obtainable from refugees
or their lawyers.

However, information are often withheld from the lawyers, the arrested
refugees can't afford a lawyer and in addition to these the authorities
have announced not to inform nobody else, not even the people concerned,
about planned deportations. We hereby ask all groups and organizations,
which are active in fighting against state racism and active in
defending the right to asylum, to forward this appeal to other groups
and circles. Anyone, who would like to participate in this exchange of
information, is kindly asked to submit a short self-portrayal and
contact address under following addresses:

Karawane für die Rechte der Flüchtlinge & Migranten
c/o Brigittenstrasse 5 D-20359 Hamburg
tel 49-40-43189037 fax 49-40-43189038
free2move@nadir.org  http://www.thecaravan.org

Flüchtlingsrat Hamburg
c/o Nernstweg 32-34 3St D-22765 Hamburg
tel 49-40-431587 fax 49-40-4304490

>Statement from 13.09.2004
>Mass deportation from Hamburg airport took place 
>on Monday 9 a.m. accompanied by massive police 
>forces. Activists protested in the airport-hall.
>The "Auslaenderbehoerde Hamburg" and the 
>ministry for interior (Hamburg) organized for 
>this morning (13.09.2004) a charter deportation 
>to Africa.
>A part of the public place of the airport was 
>closed and controlled by police. 30 activists 
>protested meanwhile inside the airport. With 
>speeches, slogans, banners and theater they 
>informed the passengers about the hidden 
>criminal act beside the main hall.
>Refugees from various African countries, hands 
>tied on their back and heads pressed in helmets 
>brutally treated and forced to enter the 
>deportation plane was the hidden scene.
>Sharp at nine o'clock the plane entered the 
>field and started 10 minutes later. The airline 
>was the German AERO FLIGHT. The other plane, 
>which brought refugees under deportation from 
>Switzerland to Hamburg, was from the Swiss 
>airline LIONS AIR.
>The days before the Hamburg authorities gave no 
>concrete information concerning date, countries 
>etc. They only revealed to the press that 40 - 
>50 persons should be deported in September to 
>Africa. Minutes after the take off the ministry 
>of the interior (Hamburg) pushed a press release 
>proudly boasting a success of "international and 
>German-wide cooperation against criminality and 
>illegal immigration". According to the press 
>release 17 persons were deported to Togo, 
>Burkina Faso and Benin. 5 federal states of 
>Germany (11 refugees) and also Belgium and 
>Switzerland (6 refugees) were involved. The 
>senator for interior Nagel stated that this 
>international mass deportation was an excellent 
>example for the future. Nobody knows who was 
>deported and with which background. But it is 
>known that the German authorities are deporting 
>people with faked and false papers, that they 
>are connected with corrupted immigration 
>officers (for example in Burkina Faso) and that 
>the refuse asylum for people who are in danger 
>of life because of their oppositional 
>engagement. Concerning Togo the exile opposition 
>as well as human rights organizations are 
>demanding a general deportation stop. The 
>brutality and arbitrariness of the Eyadema 
>regime is well known. But on the basis of false 
>country reports written by the German foreign 
>office and foreign minister Fischer the courts 
>are rejecting political refugees in masses.
>To counter the increasing Europe-wide mass 
>deportations, the hiding of information, the 
>total rightlessness of the victims and the 
>massive human rights violations plus the police 
>brutality is a serious challenge for all 
>refugees and their organizations, all human 
>right defenders, democrats, antiracists and left 
>and progressive forces on the international 
>To protest against role of the Hamburg authorities you can call:
>Behoerde fuer Inneres, Rainer Fallak: 0049 (0)40-428 39 22 66
>Auslaenderbehoerde, Norbert Smekal: 0049 (0)40-428 39 27 97

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