AN Open Letter to:
Ursula von der Leyen, President European Commission,
Charles Michel, President of the European Council
David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament
Responsibles of European Members States
Open the Borders! Stop the War on Migrant and Refugee Peoples!
To Migrate and Seek Refugee is a Human Right!
These are times of massive threat on human life and human rights. We the undersigned bring to your attention the demands which concluded the Brussels Hearing of the 45th Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT) in April 2019 even as we strongly protest the continuing policy of militarised securitisation of Europe’s borders. This was the March 3 message of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission when she declared at the Greek-Turkey border “Our first priority is making sure that order is maintained at the Greek external border, which is also the European border”. Von der Leyen was accompanied by EU Council President Charles Michel and David Sassoll, President of the European Parliament who echoed her grim message to the thousands of migrant and refugee peoples – denied of their fundamental human rights. In view of the unravelling 2016 EU-Turkey deal, the combined EU leadership could only make a narrative of strengthened militarised borders, 700 million euros and uncritical support for the Greek forces (implementing EU official policy) using tear gas on land and live ammunition on sea in its efforts at push-back of unprotected migrants and refugees.
During these first days of March 2020, we are witnessing blatant violations of the human rights of migrant and refugee peoples at Europe’s borders with Turkey accompanied by militarised violence carried out by Greek forces, as well as Frontex declaring a further escalation of intervention. Meanwhile migrants and refugees are under attack from Greek guards and Nazi fascists on the island of Lesbos. This weekend, (March 7-8) the Swiss Cross Service Center was burned to the ground in what is suspected as an arson.
This situation is not new to us – but it is a new level of a failure of Europe’s politics. We have closely accompanied the massive forced displacement of children, women and men on Europe’s borders, at sea and in the dessert. In the process of the Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT) co-convened by 500 organisations across Europe from mid 2017 to April 2019, we have seen a policy of necropolitics ‘let them die’ from the EU Institutions and Member States resulting in thousands of deaths or forced detention in camps and detention centers under inhuman conditions inside and outside Europe’s borders.
Based on hundreds of testimonies, eye-witness accounts, and exhaustive research, the PPT has called the situation “crimes against humanity and system crimes”. In view of this, and the current escalation of what we call a war on migrant and refugee peoples on the Borders of Europe:
We have reiterated our solidarity and mobilisation in the Manifesto of Solidarity (undersigned below by more than 100 movements and organisations) and call for an immediate end to the:
- Systematic violations of fundamental human rights – to life, to dignity, to work, to health, to seek a future – that refugee and migrant peoples are experiencing on their journeys of forced displacement, on the borders as well as within the Fortress Europe.
- Policies of the European Commission. European Council and Member States on – zero possibilities for regular pathways to migrate; externalization and securitization of borders and Agreements such the EU-Turkey, Italy-Libya, widespread detention of migrants and refugee peoples; practice of necropolitics forbidding sea rescue.
- Criminalization of migrants, of refugees and of social actors that, individually and collectively, exercise practices and responsibilities of solidarity towards migrants and refugees.
- Racist, patriarchal and authoritarian structures entrenching discrimination, xenophobia and islamophobia which generates a hostile environment permitting violations of the human rights of migrant and refugee peoples.