COMMON STATEMENT: TRANSNATIONAL SOLIDARITY AGAINST RACISM AND WAR!
Hundreds of groups and organizations worldwide sign multilingual statement demanding peace, fundamental rights and freedoms of every person on the move.
Five years after the so-called “refugee crisis” and almost four years after the EU-Turkey deal, we are once again witnessing the violence caused by security-centred migration policies. Since last Thursday (27.02.2020), thousands of people have been moving towards the Turkey-Greece border following the announcement that migrants wanting to reach Europe will no longer be stopped on the Turkish side. The announcement from Turkish government officials came after the death of 33 Turkish soldiers in the Idlib area, where conflict escalation has seen the civilian death toll rapidly increase by the day, with basic infrastructure and health facilities being blatantly fired at. Turkish government keeps its borders with Syria closed while seeing no harm in pushing thousands of migrants towards the doors of Europe, into a limbo.
Migrants and asylum seekers from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and several African countries have been reaching the border-crossing areas of Edirne, Çanakkale, and İzmir; some were brought there by buses of municipalities, some arrived by private taxis, or walking. In the Edirne area, they have been allowed to proceed to the border zone by the Turkish authorities, but Greek police forces prevented them from passing with gas and sound-lighting bombs. At the same time, Turkish authorities restricted the access of journalists and reporters. Those stuck in the grey zone between the two states under heavy rain and with scant food supplies have been shouting for the opening of the borders. Some of those who reach the land border were told by the authorities to cross by sea despite hazardous weather conditions.
In Greece, the scenario is also worsening. The government has recently passed a new stricter and even more inhumane law on asylum entailing detention upon arrival to the Greek territory for all new asylum seekers. In the past days, local communities on the islands of Chios and Lesbos have been clashing with riot-police in opposition to the establishment of new detention facilities. Under the burden of the so-called “refugee crisis” since the EU-Turkey deal, they have been protesting against the deterioration of their own living conditions and of the living conditions of those seeking asylum there. However, xenophobia and racism have never stopped infesting the public discourse. In reaction to the latest events, Greek government officials have been fuelling hatred and fear by spreading the myth of an invasion by “illegals” at the behest of its neighbouring country.
Xenophobia, racism and their normalisation must be opposed everywhere they surface, be it in Turkey, Greece and anywhere else. The instrumentalization of the lives of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees reduced to a threat and a bargaining chip must end, both in domestic electoral campaigns and in the relations between the Turkish government and the EU. The security policies that push thousands of already displaced people into a limbo and the border regimes that cause the endless cycle of violence against them must cease. What we demand are peace, fundamental rights and freedoms of every person on the move.
Borders are killing, open the borders!
Stop the war on refugees & migrants!
Transnational solidarity against racism and war!
For a free world without borders, exploitation, and exile.
UPDATE: PUSH-BACKS THROUGHOUT EUROPE’S BORDERS
In June this year we have launched the Push-Back Map (pushbackmap.org), documenting and denouncing the state practice of push-back, denying the freedom of movement, protection and dignity for everyone crossing borders into and within the EU.
The map aims to archive and visualise these systematic and violent state practices since the closure of the Balkan Corridor in March 2016. The EU border regime continues to forcedly send thousands back across its internal and external borders, constantly re-writing and contradicting its own legal frameworks, Often, camps are set up to contain, deter and despair those looking for safety and a better future.
The data on the map is growing, yet it is still far from representing the actual scale of push-backs. As push-backs are happening on a daily basis, the violence of these acts are normalised, the individual cases are uncountable and EU member states are no longer afraid to acknowledge it. The Croatian president admitted in the beginning of July that border guards are using “a little bit of force” to protect the state border.
Nonetheless, individuals, groups, organisations and collectives remain committed to document and listen to each and every person’s story of struggle, violence but also determination to move on and push forward their own fights. It is their struggles and endless efforts we want to shed a light on with a short overview over the recent happenings at Europe’s various borders and the increase of reports in different areas:
Thousands of people are stuck in the snow at the doorstep of the European Union, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the horrendous Vučjak camp and other places next to the Croatian (EU) frontier. This is the direct result of EU border and visa policies and the extensive use of push-backs, as a method of deterrence and expulsion. The below screen shots of the push-back map show the increase in push-back practices from 2016 till today. The map also clearly shows how the route moved since 2017 from the EU-Serbian border to the EU-border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The European Union and non-state organisations continues to finance and support the construction of new camps and other facilities intended to contain, discriminate and harm everyone who does not have enough luck or means to move on.
More and regular information on pushback in the Balkan Region you can find here:
Central Mediterranean Sea/Libya:
Pull- and Push-Backs to Libya are happening more and more frequently. Most of the time, the European public hears nothing of these practices by the so-called Libyan coastguard. Over the course of only four days in November, the Alarm Phone reported that around 1,500 people were trying to flee Libya. 190 of them have been confirmed to be pushed-back to Libya, while many remain unaccounted for:
Western border: Morocco/Spain:
The Alarm Phone has also recently published an update on the underreported situation of people in Morocco trying to reach Spain, including reports of push-backs from the Spanish enclave Ceuta:
Turkey/Greece: Evros Region
The Spiegel has reported on the massive amount of push-backs collected by the Turkish border guards. They have counted an enormous number – more than 60.000 people – pushed-back by Greek authorities across the land border to Turkey in 2019, of which more than 6500 in October alone:
Mobile Info Team has also just published a report on the push-backs in the Evros region:
The collective Kesha Niya is publishing weekly summaries on people who are pushed-back by French authorities. The recent weeks they encountered more than ever before: 631 people were pushed-back to Italy. They also reported on increase of violence and theft:
North-Eastern border: Poland / Belarus:
This border area is among the most underreported external EU borders, but push-backs happen there regularly as well. Borderline Europe has recently published a report on this border, accounting of similar practices as in other regions of the EU: ignoring peoples claims and expelling them back across the border:
Many more border crossings are putting an obstacle and danger to people on the move. Borders such as the Austrian-German border become increasingly hard to reach; nonetheless they are policed until today, prolonging intra-Schengen border controls since 2015. The many reports of violent push-backs and deaths from the Balkan region and other areas are a direct result of externalization processes of the EU. The indignation many media reports display at the sight of the unbearable and outrage living conditions for migrants in Bosnia should therefore be directed towards EU migration policy, which continues to pump more money to “secure” borders, increasing FRONTEX budget, staff and militarised technical equipment.
PUSH-BACK MAP IS ONLINE!
June 18, 2019
After long months of discussions, preparations and meetings we have finally managed to launch this page. You can read more about our collective and aims here.
We perceive the map as a crowd-based grassroots tool to display the ongoing violence of the border regime. Let‘s work together to make it happen!
More relevant translations will be uploaded soon. Our collective doesn‘t receive big funds and nobody is employed for this project, that is why all additions and changes will need some time.
Please let us know if you have any advice, questions or suggestions!