MINELRES: UNITED: 20 June International Refugee Day - Call for Action

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Mon May 24 20:20:40 2010

Original sender: UNITED <notreply@unitedagainstracism.org>

UNITED E-NEWS 07-05-2010
International Refugee Day - Call for Action

***please distribute this call for action to your contacts***



"How Much is Enough?"

Migrant Deaths: The hidden costs of climate change

- 13,621 documented migrant deaths as a result of EU Immigration policy
feature in the UNITED List of Deaths. Migrants leave their country of
origin due to social, economic, political and environmental factors
which restrict their quality of life. 

- 13,621 documented deaths have occurred as migrants come face to face
with the Fatal Realities of Fortress Europe. Fleeing their country of
origin, they seek a life in Europe that does not necessarily become the
safe place they hoped it would be; they are exposed to the
militarisation of borders, deaths in custody, detention conditions,
deportation procedures and the psychological suffering inflicted by the
asylum and immigration system. 

- 25,500,000 environmental migrants in 2010. According to the
Environmental Justice Foundation, this is estimated to increase to
150,000,000 in 40 years. Environmental conditions are the root cause of
social, political and economic factors behind forced migration and UNHCR
warns that human-driven climate change is set to become the biggest
driver of population displacement in the near future.

- At least 4,426 cases on the List of Deaths can be identified as from
the Sahel, a region of Sub-Saharan Africa spanning 10 countries, from
Senegal on the West coast to Somalia on the East coast. This region has
experienced 2 major droughts in the past 50 years, affecting land,
water, biodiversity and the industries and communities relying on these
natural resources. 

- 50% the potential rise in the risk of civil war in Africa due to the
effects of climate change over a 40 year period, according to a study
published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The
scarcity of resources leads to increased competition, which paves the
way for conflict.

- 100,000 people marched at the UN Climate Change Conference in
Copenhagen, December 2009 to apply pressure for governments to reach a
fair and effective global agreement on climate change. Displays of
common solidarity took place all over the world to coincide with the
summit, with huge demonstrations involving 20,000 in London and 50,000
in Australia. This illustrates how organisations and individuals
worldwide can unite for a shared goal. 

- Over 23,800 activists were involved in UNITED's International Refugee
Day 2009 campaign to highlight refugee issues from a non-governmental

- Thousands will take a stand for refugee rights during International
Refugee Day 2010: Join us!

The count is rising: can we continue to ignore the evidence?

At present, the idea of a climate refugee and environmental displacement
is not legally recognised and they are therefore not protected by any
convention. The Geneva convention, which defines a refugee and the
rights they are entitled to considers a fear of persecution due to only
social, political and religious factors.
This creates a loophole in international law, allowing governments to
ignore the issue and keep the protection of those most affected by
climate change at the bottom of the political agenda. In order to
support the victims of climate change, we need to formally recognise
environmental displacement within a human rights framework; a new
convention which defines environmentally displaced persons and outlines
their rights as well as a separate funding mechanism. This is the only
way to force governments to take responsibility in allocating resources
towards affected communities through proper resettlement programmes and
helping vulnerable communities to adapt and cope better with the
unavoidable impact that climate change has already started having on
their lives. 

Moreover, the legal recognition of climate refugees is an important step
forward to push policy-makers to recognise the severity of human-made
climate change and reach a fair and effective global agreement on how to
deal with it.

Apply pressure on your governments; start a petition, write letters,
inform the public about this real and urgent crisis. 

Sending a letter of protest will give your own action a stronger
You can write a letter of protest or deliver a petition to the
policy-makers of your choice. For inspiration, you can also use the
example letter you can find below and downloadable from the following

Include a copy of the poster and a print of the List of Deaths in your
protest. There is strength in numbers, so send the protest letter to all
your relevant contacts in politics and activism. If you need more
copies, let us know.



Ten years ago, UN declared 20th June as 'International Refugee Day' and
this marks a common date when organisations join forces for an important
cause: to raise awareness and take a stand for refugee rights!

Join the European-wide Campaign on 20 June 2010!

Every year UNITED coordinates a European-wide campaign around the
'International Refugee Day'. Several actions of migrant, refugee and
asylum seeker groups as well as anti-discrimination organisations raise
awareness about the situations causing them to flee their home, the
experiences of European border-crossing and lobby on local and national
levels for the rights of refugees across the continent. What makes it so
unique is not only its pan-European scale, but also the diverse kinds of
NGO's that are willing to create one European voice to claim more
reasonable and human immigration policies.

We depend on your participation to reach out to policy makers and the
general public with a strong campaign. Don't worry if you have little
time or budget. UNITED has developed campaigning and networking tools
for self-use and will support you in any type of action.

More background information about this campaign can be found under:


Please find below how your organisation can also be part of the campaign
and join the movement.

One Campaign - Hundreds of Activities all over Europe

Please, inform us as soon as your organisation starts planning an
activity. Tell us via e-mail where and when the activity will take
place, who will be involved and what is going to happen! We will include
your activity into the list of Europe-wide activities. Many people will
have the chance to know about your activity!!!

It is not needed to create a huge activity - already small actions will
give visibility to the issues addressed. A poster exhibition in your
school, university or at your working place may not cause immediate
changes, but raises awareness and will strengthen the European refugee
campaign. Please feel free to contact the UNITED secretariat if you need
support in setting up an action - we are happy to help you!!!

Free campaign material

UNITED provides free info and material for the Refugee Campaign up to 2

You can order the campaigning material (posters, postcard, stickers...)
by downloading the order form from the following link
http://www.unitedagainstracism.org/docs/orderform_RFC10.doc and
returning this by email to 20June@unitedagainstracism.org or fax


To the responsible political body in the matter of immigration and

Re: Climate change and forced migration.

Dear Sir or Madam,

We are writing this letter to share our environmental and humanitarian
concerns and draw your attention to the urgent issue of environmental

Human driven climate change is one of the most pressing issues for any
country in the world. Regardless of its political recognition or not,
human induced climate change is reality and will be unstoppable for

Beside the need for direct action to preserve an environment that allows
sustainable prosperity for our own and future generations, we must also
recognise the devastating effects inflicted on human life elsewhere in
the world.

It is estimated that there are 25.5 million environmental migrants in
the world and the Environmental Justice Foundation expect this to rise
to 150 million by 2050; they are currently unrecognised by any
convention, but the evidence of this shocking phenomena remains

The UNHCR warns us that climate change - causing droughts,
desertification, sea level rise, extreme weather, conflicts over natural
resources like drinking water etc. - will soon become the biggest driver
of population displacement and forced migration. 

The human face of climate change can be clearly seen in patterns of
migration flow; UNITED, the pan-European network of over 560
organisations, have documented 13.621 known migrant deaths as a result
of EU immigration policy. This List of Deaths clearly illustrates that
at least 4.426 of these deaths are of migrants originating from the
Sahel, a region of Sub-Saharan Africa devastated by two major droughts
over the past 40 years, causing famine and civil war.

Ultimately every single one of us will have to pay the bill of human
driven climate change, but the first and most to suffer are the ones
that didn't cause it in first place and can not protect themselves from
its implications. It is crucial to understand how the climate and
environment shape the political, economic and social factors that force
people to seek refuge in Europe.

Hence, it is not only needed that we reach a fair and effective global
agreement on climate change, but also that we take our responsibility
and show active global solidarity by legally recognising environmentally
displaced people and communities. 

Therefore, we call on you to put this issue on the European policy
agenda and to urge the set up of a proposal for an international
convention that defines and protects the rights of environmentally
displaced persons as well as a separate funding mechanism. 

Human driven climate change is a global problem, we demand a global

Kind Regards,

You can address your mail to:

The European Parliament's Human Rights Unit
Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs 
rue Wiertz , B-1047 Brussels, Belgium
(or directly to any member of the European Parliament, at the same

Council of the European Union, General Secretariat / Justice and Home
rue de la Loi 175 , B-1048 Brussels, Belgium

Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population Parliamentary Assembly
Council of Europe, Avenue de l'Europe, F-67075 Strasbourg

National Parliaments
Please find out the addresses of your national Parliament and the
appropriate Members and Commissions from the public relations desk, or
check your library.


UNITED is the pan-European network against nationalism, racism, fascism
and in support of migrants and refugees, supported by over 560
organisations in 46 European countries. How to join the network: see
www.unitedagainstracism.org 'joining the network'


This event is supported by the Council of Europe (European Youth
Foundation) and European Commission (Youth in Action Programme) 

The information contained herein does not necessarily reflect the
position nor the opinion of our sponsors. Sponsors are not to be held
responsible for any use that may be made of it.


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and contact persons active in the working fields: anti-racism, refugee
support, anti-fascism, against antisemitism, migration, minority issues,
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Regular postal mailings, containing publications such as Addressbook
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UNITED for Intercultural Action
European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of
migrants and refugees
Postbus 413 - NL 1000 AK Amsterdam
phone +31-20-6834778 - fax +31-20-6834582
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