Solidarity with the crew of “Salamis”, who rescued 102 boatpeople and are blocked on open sea by Maltese maritime forces

Statement of the network “Welcome to Europe“, 6th of August 2013

Since Sunday night, 5th of August, the tanker “Salamis”, whose crew rescued 102 boatpeople is blocked on open sea by Maltese maritime forces. The refugees came in distress while fleeing via Libya in direction of Europe. Since more than 34 hours the ship is blocked and the situation on board is getting more and more precarious – especially because all the 102 passengers are in agony of being pushed back to Libya.

It is a shame, it is injustice. A few weeks before the pope during his visit in Lampedusa demanded for a break of the global indifference towards boatpeople in the Mediterranean Sea. At the same time, the inhuman policy of illegal push-backs continues: Maltese as well as Italian authorities blackmail a civil ship and its honest crew to transport back the asylum-seekers into a country, they just fled from: to the port of Tripoli.

In the Search and Rescue Convention it is not clearly defined what a “place of safety” is, but it states that it cannot be defined solely by geographical location. It is also necessary “to avoid disembarkation in territories where the lives and freedoms of those alleging a well-founded fear of persecution would be threatened is a consideration in the case of asylum-seekers and refugees recovered at sea.”

„I was 3 months in Libya. Half time I was in prison, half time I was hidden, before I could leave with the boat. Libya was a hell for us.“ this quotation from an Eritrean refugee, whom we met in Lampedusa in the mid of July 2013, is not an exceptional experience. Rather it reflects the daily conditions of most transit-refugees in Libya today. Arbitrary detention and racist attacks instead of protection is the reality of refugees in Libya still.

Italian and Maltese authorities execute the logic of externalisation of EU-politics against refugees and migrants. The war against migrants in the Mediterranean is a daily and bitter reality. The closest safe port would be Malta. It would be very easy to welcome the refugees there. It would be simple to give them a laissez-passer to find their way to another safe place in Europe – a simple way to share the responsibility. Europe should welcome them with all their skills and stories they carry, a simple and the only answer to the tragedies by wars and economical disasters often enough caused also by the economic interests of the European governments.

We express our solidarity with the crew of Salamis! We know very well from our own experience how hard it is to see people suffering senselessly. We know very well the fear of refugees to be pushed back to Libya We can imagine how it feels if you are stopped and threatened by the authorities in the attempt to rescue. We feel with you stuck in the waters close to Malta. We hope you will not forget that there is another part of the European society that wishes to welcome you and your passengers and help you to overcome the tragic experiences of these days.

We support the statement of Maltese NGOs to criticise their government to block the ship. We feel the weakness of just sending a declaration and so we want to combine it with a promise: we will join hands in the struggle against the senseless killing in the Mediterranean. We will continue until it is stopped!

We condemn the inhuman policy of denying access to the asylum system for the refugees. We will continue protesting against our own governments – also those in the heart of Europe. We want them to take responsibility and to offer those who reached Malta a possibility to settle in other European countries if they wish.

We demand immediate protection. We wish the crew and the passengers of Salamis strongly to reach a safe port – because Freedom of Movement should be everybody’s right!

contact: contact (at) w2eu.info

For background information:

About the joint statement of Aditus foundation, JRS Malta, Migrants’ Network for Equality,  SOS Malta, Malta Emigrants’ Commission, KOPIN, Integra Foundation, Foundation for Shelter and Support to Migrants, Organisation for Friendship in Diversity – different social NGOs from Malta: http://tvm.com.mt/news/2013/08/preservation-of-life-should-be-the-topmost-priority-ngos/

More news:

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20130805/local/tanker-carrying-migrants.480832

http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/en/newsdetails/news/national/Malta-Italy-bide-their-time-as-conditions-on-the-Salamis-worsen-20130805

http://maltatoday.com.mt/en/newsdetails/news/national/Government-warns-Salamis-local-agent-migrants-must-be-taken-back-to-Tripoli-20130805

 

Welcome to Europe expresses solidarity with the refugees’ protests in Budapest!

cropped-migszol.head_.logo_2Since November 2012 more than 100 Afghan refugees have been protesting against the social conditions and the lacking reception system for refugees in Hungary. Already twice they went in front of the Hungarian parliament. Another demonstration took place in in front of the EU House in Budapest. Most of the protestors have been granted protection by the Hungarian government. Nevertheless, they are threatened by homelessness and extreme poverty. Through their protests, they could at least achieve not to be thrown out of the camp in the hardest wintertime, but their problems are only postponed. In March 2013 their time in the reception centre ran out and at the moment they are only tolerated in the camp. If they are kicked out like a lot of others before, most of them will end up on the street – among them many families with little children.

The refugees’ demands are simple and understandable: they just ask for a fair chance to participate in the society that they are living in. They don’t want to end up homeless, jobless and without access to the health system. They demand to get just the same as everyone else in Hungary.

We declare our solidarity with these families in Bicske, who found the courage to protest in front of the Hungarian parliament in Budapest. We feel connected to this struggle.

Welcome to Europe is a network of activists, who have teamed up in the fight against the inhuman European refugee policy. Some of us had just stepped out of a boat on a Greek island when we first met. Others had come to these outer borders of Europe to denounce the hunting of human beings by the European Border Agency “Frontex” and to welcome those arriving. We have friends amongst us who have been facing the situation in Hungarian prisons and struggle against their deportation to Hungary.

In the last months refugees’ protests rise in several European cities: protest camps have been build up in Amsterdam and Den Haag (Netherlands), Berlin (Germany) and Vienna (Austria). Everywhere they have different backgrounds and therefore their demands are also different. Sometimes they concentrate more on abolishing the deportation system. Sometimes it is more about the lacking asylum system, sometimes about reception. All of these protests have also something in common: refugees are no longer silent. They stand up for their rights. They make clear: we are already amongst you. We will become a part of the European society.

The refugees in Budapest give us hope to continue with the struggle in other places as well.
We wish you to be successful – because every step that is taken by you will bring us closer to another, a welcoming Europe.

For a world without borders.
Social Rights for Everyone!

For more info:

Blog Migráns Solidaritás / Migrant Solidarity Budapest: http://migszol.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/migszolcsoport

Kontakt: migszoli@mailbox.hu

 

“Walls of Shame”

Accounts from the Inside: The Detention Centres of Evros
new report by Pro Asyl

Obviously, Europe’s main concern is the creation of »walls« in order to hinder or to prevent the access to its territory. Physical walls like the fence, the moat and border controls in Evros but also invisible walls that are constituted by the lack of protection to those in need, rights denials, systematic detention, detention and living conditions violating human dignity, Readmission Agreements and the Dublin II Regulation. The effects of these heightening walls have their most tragic face in the many lost and dead at border. This is why we chose to speak about walls of shame in this report.

Walls of Shame (download report in English)

video about the situation of refugees and migrants in greece today, by al jazeera 2012

LOST AT BORDER – A journey to the lost and the dead of the Greek borders

New report of Infomobile Greece, published in January 2012

LOST AT BORDER reports on the reality of loss and death at the Greek borders. As a close friend of ours said once: “If you are a refugee and you die nobody asks any questions. But for living somewhere, everybody is questioning you!” We want to break the silence and ask: What happened with all these people whose traces got lost?
Accidents and death at border belong unfortunately to the daily experiences of refugees trying to reach a safe haven. The European Border Control Agency FRONTEX in co-operation with national authorities are heightening and thickening the fences and walls around us, controlling and patrolling the borders and externalizing them to European neighbour states such as Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia a.o. They have created treaties of co-operation in deportations and huge refugee detention camps at the gates of Europe. Trying to cross a number of borders, among them the ones of Fortress Europe is a huge risk of death! The numbers are shocking: more than 2.000 people died in the Mediterranean Sea only in 2011. Each single person left behind a big gap in the life of relatives and friends.

LOST AT BORDER gives the voice mainly to refugees searching and mourning for their beloved. The report was made by a group of antiracist activists from different countries who have been already involved in the search of migrants who got lost at the border between Greece and Turkey. It can be quite difficult to find information on what has happened when somebody is missing at the border. Apart from the report we want to help and fill this information gap by a new Blog. We want to connect the relatives and friends of border victims to each other and we want to let you know and feel that you are not alone on this journey! We will never forget. We promise to overcome the murderous border regime and to continue our struggle for a welcoming Europe.
download lostatborder report
LOST AT BORDER – Blog
Report and Blog have been published by Infomobile

Greece: Dublin II deportations suspended for another year

The German Ministry of Interior informed in a letter that deportations to Greece under the Dublin II Regulation will be suspended for another year. The letter states that despite initial changes in the treatment of asylum seekers in Greece the asylum system still does not comply with European standards.
The moratorium is valid until 12th of January 2013.

Giving back names and dignity to lost migrants

Fountain to remember death and missing at the border in Tichero (Northern Greece)

John lost his wife Jane and Tahera her husband Bashir in the Evros River. They represent hundreds of other migrants who drowned in the water, were killed by landmines or are still missing. Their dead bodies were treated disrespectfully: In 2010 we discovered a mass grave in Sidero where the corpses could not be identified. We returned to give back a piece of dignity to the death and also those who survived. Continue reading ‘Giving back names and dignity to lost migrants’

John missing Jen

John is missing Jen. Jen got lost when she tried to cross the border to Greece. Maybe she drowned in Evros, the river between Turkey and Greece. We will mourn Jen and all the refugees that died during the attempt to overcome Fortress Europe on the 30th of August 2011 in Evros.  We want to give back a piece of dignity, to those whose death disappeared – right here – into the senselessness of the European borders. And we will gather for giving back a piece of dignity to those who survived. We will create a memorial space.

Interview with John, Athens, 11.05.11.

What is the colour you like the best?

Interesting! I have various colours that I do like for different purposes. More particularly I like various colours that form different forms of flowers because my wife has been a florist over the years. She likes flowers ,she plants flowers, on valentine days I was making lots o fun back at home: I would just move out on the side of the house she had the best flower and I would cut some for her and she would get very mad: oh my flower! And I would ask her: why? This is your flower; I have brought it for you. I was making a lot of fun with her, with our best flowers. So that’s why basically why I like different colours.
Continue reading ‘John missing Jen’

Dublin-Deaths between Kerkyra/Greece and Bari/Italy (15th of January 2011)

The following testimony of Amin Fedaii, a 16-year-old afghan refugee, is alarming. More than 20 refugees (mainly from Afghanistan) died while trying to flee from Greece and to reach their relatives and friends in other European countries.

The asylum system in the crisis-ridden Mediterranean country has entirely collapsed. Refugees cannot find protection neither any income and often even no accommodation. Against this background deportations to Greece according the Dublin II-regulation have been stopped in many European Countries, but the affected persons got stuck in unbearable conditions in Athens or in the harbour-cities of Patras and Igoumenitsa. While EU-citizens can travel without any problems, refugees are trapped: a regular exit is refused, although they have – particularly if they come from war-zones like Afghanistan – good chances to receive a residence permit on humanitarian grounds in many EU-countries.

Amin survived and is now living in an accomodation for minor refugees in Hessen, Germany. But he had to experience the meaningless death of 20 persons by drowning, because firstly entry and afterwards their rescue has been refused: 20 more victims of a merciless european border regime, which obviously is calculating with the death of refugees.

More than 2.000 refugees and migrants died in the Mediterranean Sea within the last 6 months, mainly when they tried to reach Malta or Italy from Libya or Tunesia. Dead bodies in the Mediterranean Sea are washed ashore daily. Besides the bodies also their faces, hopes and dreams are lost. These daily deaths, be it at the external or internal European borders, remain shocking.

The victims are warning and accusing: This Europe is not safe, human rights and refugee rights have lost all relevance! They ask the ones alive to take action against this Europe of Frontex – borders and walls. And to struggle and to invent a Europe of solidarity, overcoming the deathly migration regime as it happened in history with the dark sides of the Middle Ages.

When I tried to flee Greece

I first tried to flee Greece in January 2011. In Athens, they put us in one truck with 200 persons. Beforehand, they told us that the truck would have air conditioning. It had not and so we ran out of oxygen soon with so many people. Soon many people fell unconscious. We started knocking the boards and screaming for help, but the driver did not react. One person had decided not to enter the truck before and we had his mobile number, so we called him to come and open the door for us, because we where not far yet. He did not come quickly, so we had no other chance and we called the police. They picked us from the truck and kept us for one night in police station.

Continue reading ‘Dublin-Deaths between Kerkyra/Greece and Bari/Italy (15th of January 2011)’

No Border Camp in Bulgaria: 25th to 29th of August 2011

From 25th to 29th of August 2011 a Nobordercamp will take place in the borderregion between Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.

Protest in front of detention centre in Busmantzi (close to Sofia)

Continue reading ‘No Border Camp in Bulgaria: 25th to 29th of August 2011′

About w2eu

This is the blog of the antiracist network Welcome to Europe. It was formerly known as lesvos09.antira.info.

 

The name Welcome to Europe expresses the discontent and anger we feel when looking at the fatal realities of the European external border: the long documented deaths and suffering have continued for years, and no end is in sight. We stand for a grassroots movement that embraces migration and wants to create a Europe of hospitality.

 

We maintain our focus on the European external border in Greece, but will not limit ourselves to that geographical area. The right of freely roaming the globe has to be fought for everywhere. Join us!

 

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Voices from the Inside of Pagani (2009)

Watch the video