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THE DEADLY CONSEQUENCES OF „FORTRESS EUROPE“

The UNITED Deathlist

Since 1993 UNITED has monitored the deadly results of the building of a ‘Fortress Europe’. More than 4500 deaths of refugees and migrants have been documented up to now. These deaths can be put down to border militarisation, asylum laws, detention policies, deportations and carrier sanctions. They are linked to the carrying out of decisions taken on highest political level: the Schengen Treaty, the Dublin Convention and EU border control programs.

These deaths are not isolated incidents. They are symptomatic of policies that no longer see the humanity of those fleeing their homeland, but prefer to see them as numbers, or worse, as a natural disaster, ‘a flood’. By making legal immigration and asylum nearly impossible these policies lead to the death of refugees, who fled because of war, persecution, despaired poverty or natural disasters.

Action: Wake up the policy-makers!

In this publication you will find statistics on refugee deaths that can be put down to ‘Fortress Europe’ and also ideas and suggestions for action.

UNITED for Intercultural Action protests against the building of a ‘Fortress Europe’, which leads to the death of desperate people looking for safe refuge. Europe is not capable of effectively shutting its borders, no matter how hard it tries. It is shutting its eyes to the realities of the global political and socio-economical situation.

More than 4500 deaths since 1993

If the death of over 4500 people does not wake up politicians and policy makers, what will? We have to publicise these gruesome facts.

The statistics inside this publication were created using the ‘UNITED-Deathlist’. They reveal the cruel and inhuman consequences of the European policy of exclusion.

CONTENTS

1. THE SITUATION OF REFUGEES IN EUROPE
1.1 WHAT ARE THE NUMBERS BASED ON?
1.2 DEATHS IN EUROPE
1.3 CAUSES
1.4 DEATHS DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTED TO STATE-SERVICES
2. CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE DEADLY CONSEQUENCES OF ‘FORTRESS EUROPE’!
2.1 WHY?
2.2 WHAT YOU CAN DO
2.3 HOW UNITED CAN HELP YOU
3. 20 JUNE – INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE DAY
4. RECOURCES ON REFUGEE DEATHS AND THE TREATMENT OF REFUGEES IN EUROPE:

1. THE SITUATION OF REFUGEES IN EUROPE

Every year thousands of refugees are trying to flee to Europe in their search for safety from persecution, for economic security or just ‘a better life’.

Each year hundreds of them drown on the way from Africa to Italy or Spain, suffocate in sealed containers, starve in locked trucks, are blown to pieces by landmines between Turkey and Greece or freeze on their way over the mountains. And if they finally manage to arrive in “Fortress Europe” they are not at all safe. They are fenced in, in so called refugee centres, some of which do not differ from a normal prison. Some of these refugees cannot deal with the misery and the inhuman conditions in which they are held and so they start a hunger strike or sew their eyes and mouth shut to protest against their situation. Some of them even commit suicide.

If a state decides that a refugee has no right to apply for asylum, he is deported to his home-country, even if he has been living in his new home-country for ten years. Often the children are deported too, even if they do not speak their mother-tongue.

Sometimes people die during deportation, as was the case for Marcus Omofuma, who suffocated during his deportation. His guards had taped his mouth and restrained his body. People sometimes are murdered or ‘disappear’, because the country they were deported to was not safe after all, and they were killed or imprisoned by state forces.

Although many European states celebrate the lowest numbers of refugees in years, people still cry for stricter rules and limitations for refugees. The Austrian government even demands a complete rethinking of the right on asylum. They suggest to transform it from an individual right towards an policy that mainly serves the needs of the country of destination. But it is sure, that as long as Europe does not change its attitude towards African and other “Third World” countries, refugees will keep on coming.

(Map by Philippe Rekacewicz, published in ‘Le Monde Diplomatique’ – Nr 3, March 2004)

1.1 WHAT ARE THE NUMBERS BASED ON?

The charts in this publication are based on the data collected in our archives since 1992. UNITED received this information from newspapers, journalists, organisations working in the field of refugee and migrant issues, private researchers and governmental organisations. The figures given can only be taken as an indication of the true number of deaths.

Each case published by UNITED is documented in the UNITED archives. Further information can be supplied on request. The “Documentation on Refugee Deaths” can be downloaded on the UNITED homepage (www.unitedagainstracism.org). Researchers and journalists can also order the scientific part of the documentation, to use it for their studies.

1.2 DEATHS IN EUROPE

As shown on the map (published in ‘Le Monde Diplomatique’ and largely based on UNITED re-search), most of the documented refugee deaths occur between Africa and Spain in the Strait of Gi-braltar, around Malta and on the way to Italy. Many people drown in the Mediterranean before arri-ving on European shores.
The ICMPD (International Centre for Migration Policy Development) speaks about at least 3600 deaths on the Spanish coasts and the Spanish government admits, that of every three drowned persons only one body is recovered. The number of people that really drown in this area is unknown. It is many times higher than the one documented for sure.

1.3 CAUSES

As Alain Morice puts it in ‘Le Monde Diplomatique’ (3/2004), one of the reasons for refugees to enter a country ‘illegally’ is that “the governments want to shut down all legal options of migration for people who try to escape their unbearable living conditions”.

1.4 DEATHS DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTED TO STATE-SERVICES

This chart shows the number of persons whose death can be attributed to police or border guard action. It is nearly 15% of the total number of deaths. These cases include deportation deaths or suicides in refugee centres, and cases of border guards shooting people that cross borders ‘illegally’, as well as police chasing ‘sans-papiers’ to their deaths. The number of these cases is alarming and it is to be feared, that it indicates an even higher occurrence of maltreatment of refugees in Europe.

2. CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE DEADLY CONSEQUENCES OF ‘FORTRESS EUROPE’!
2.1 WHY?

The unbelievably high – and still growing – number of refugee deaths that is documented by UNITED research is reason enough to campaign against the fatal realities of ‘Fortress Europe’. It is time to act to prevent these unnecessary deaths in the future.

2.2 WHAT YOU CAN DO

All organisations, large and small, can contribute to the fight against more deaths. The UNITED European-wide campaign aims to raise awareness in all relevant areas of society. The main targets are the media and the general public. With your help it is possible to force European politicians to rethink European immigration policies. You can organise activities such as lectures, multicultural evenings, debates or preparation of a petition. You should also consider lobbying, for example, your local Member of the European Parliament. If you want to give your event a special significance you can organise it on International Refugee Day, on 20 June.

For UNITED’s documentation of refugee deaths it is necessary that we continue to receive good information on deaths cases of refugees in Europe. So please send us newspaper articles, statistics and all other information you can gather on this issue. Please add UNITED to your mailing list.

2.3 HOW UNITED CAN HELP YOU

Since several years, UNITED has coordinated the international refugee campaign on 20 June. It consists of two complimentary parts:

  • Protesting against the restrictive asylum and migration policies, that are referred to as ‘Fortress Europe’: especially focusing attention on the deaths of already more than 4500 people who tried to find a safe haven in Europe.
  • Promoting a safe environment for refugees and asylum seekers without racism and intolerance.

    You can order campaign posters (up to 100 are for free) and/or more copies of this leaflet. If you need more for special purposes contact the UNITED secretariat. If you want to find partner organisations for your campaign or project you can use the searchable database of UNITED or call us for help.

    3. 20 JUNE – INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE DAY

    In 2001 a special UN General Assembly Resolution was adopted to pronounce the former African Refugee Day as the International Refugee Day as an expression of solidarity with Africa, which hosts the most refugees. The General Assembly noted that 2001 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have the International Refugee Day coincide with African Refugee Day on 20 June. The Assembly therefore decided that, as from 2001, 20 June would be celebrated as International Refugee Day.

    4. RECOURCES ON REFUGEE DEATHS AND THE TREATMENT OF REFUGEES IN EUROPE:

    Austria:

    Asylkoordination Österreich
    asylkoordination [at] to.or.at, www.asyl.at

    Belgium:

    European Council on Refugees & Exiles – ECRE
    euecre [at] ecre.be, www.ecre.org
    Migration News Sheet – MNS
    info [at] migpolgroup.com
    Mouvement contre Racisme Antisémitisme et Xénophobie – MRAX
    mrax [at] skynet.be, www.mrax.be

    Cyprus:

    Action for Equality Support & Antiracism – KISA
    kisa [at] cytanet.com.cy

    Czechia:

    Organisation for Aid to Refugees – OPU
    opu [at] opu.cz, www.opu.cz

    France:

    Association Nationale d’Assistance aux Frontières pour les Étrangers – ANAFE
    contact [at] anafe.org · www.anafe.org
    Coordination Nationale des Sans-Papiers
    coordnatsanspap [at] hotmail.com, http://bok.net/pajol
    Féderation des Associations de Solidarité avec Travailleurs Immigrés – FASTI
    solidarite [at] fasti.org, www.fasti.org

    Germany:

    Antirassistische Initiative – ARI
    ari [at] ipn.de, www.zag-berlin.de
    Forschungsgesellschaft Flucht und Migration – FFM
    ffm [at] ipn.de, www.ffm-berlin.de
    Karawane für die Rechte der Flüchtlinge/Migranten
    http://carava.net
    Pro Asyl – Bundesweite AG für Flüchtlinge
    proasyl [at] proasyl.de, www.proasyl.de
    The Voice Refugee Forum / Africa Forum
    voice_mail [at] emdash.org, www.thevoiceforum.org

    Great-Britain:

    Asylum Policy Information Service
    inquiries [at] exile.org.uk, www.asylumsupport.info
    Campaign Against Racism and Fascism – CARF
    info [at] carf.demon.co.uk, www.carf.demon.co.uk
    Institute of Race Relations – IRR
    info [at] irr.org.uk, www.irr.org.uk
    National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns
    ncadc [at] ncadc.org.uk, www.ncadc.org.uk
    Statewatch
    office [at] statewatch.org, www.statewatch.org

    Greece:

    Greek Helsinki Monitor / Minority Rights Group
    office [at] greekhelsinki.gr, www.greekhelsinki.gr
    SOS Racisme – Greece
    sosgr [at] use.net

    Italy:

    Associazione Ya Basta!
    yabasta [at] sherwood.it, www.yabasta.it
    ARCI Nuova Associazione Anti Racism & Immigration
    immigrazione [at] arci.it, www.arci.it
    Associazione Rieti Immigrant-Provincia – ARI
    cfi-ari [at] libero.it, www.ariweb.it

    Netherlands:

    Autonoom Centrum
    ac [at] autonoomcentrum.nl, www.autonoomcentrum.nl
    Amsterdams Solidariteits Komitee Vluchtelingen – ASKV
    askvsv [at] dds.nl, www.askv.nl
    Fabel van de Illegaal
    info [at] defabel.nl, www.defabel.nl
    Vluchtelingen Organisaties Nederland – VON
    info [at] vluchtelingenorganisaties.nl
    www.vluchtelingenorganisaties.nl

    Portugal:

    Portuguese Refugee Council – CPR
    geral [at] cpr.pt, www.cpr.pt

    Slovenia:

    GLOBALA
    revolucija [at] mail.ljudmila.org, www. ljudmila.org/globala. ljudmila.org/globala/

    Spain:

    Asociación de Trabajadores Immigrantes Marroquies en España – ATIME
    info [at] atime.es, www.atime.es
    Centro Estudios y Documentacion sobre Racismo y Xenofobia / Mugak Magazine
    hiruga01 [at] sarenet.es
    Comité de Defensa de Refugiados Asilados e Inmigrantes – COMRADE
    comrade [at] comrade.e.telefonica.net
    Movimiento Contra la Intolerancia – MCI
    secretaria [at] movimientocontralaintolerancia [dot] com
    www.movimientocontralaintolerancia.com

    Sweden:

    No Human is Illegal – Ingen Människa är Illegal
    linkoping [at] ingenillegal.org, www.ingenillegal.org

    Switzerland:

    Forum gegen Rassismus

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