- 15.551 deaths have been documented in UNITED's List of Deaths since 1993
- 1.478 have died so far in 2011
- 1.387 have drowned this year trying to reach Europe from Libya and Tunisia
- 20 June is the 10th International Refugee Day, marking 60 years of refugee protection under the Geneva Convention.
How many more years until reality catches up?
In disregard for pain and suffering, has civil society given way to a mass of individuals who are numb to the pain of others, to the horror of our times and to death itself?
UNITED for Intercultural Action, the pan-European network of 550 organisations working against racism, fascism, nationalism and in support of refugees and migrants marks this day by coordinating the International Refugee Day campaign. Organisations from all across the continent promote refugee rights, draw inconvenient attention to our responsibilities to protect the victims of war, persecution and poverty and highlight the serious flaws in our asylum and immigration policies that systematically threaten human dignity.
While the war in Libya wages on, there is little mention of in the media and even less attention given to the epic drama happening in the waters between North Africa and Italy. To date, months after the outbreak of war and the intensification of migration flows towards Europe, no community plan in support of refugees has been made by the EU and absolutely no common agreement on the handling of war refugees has been reached by those responsible for shaping EU policies. NATO's failure to respond to a migrant boat that called for help, in spite of instructions from UNCHR to consider all overcrowded boats leaving Libya as in distress led to 63 fatalities in April 2011.
This is of course only one example; when the EU externalises the handling of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers to a non-democratic nation and receives its dictator in full honour, then it has to accept the flipside of the coin. The direct consequence is bodies drowning in the Mediterranean at the most rapidly growing rate ever, incidents of shipwrecks killing numbers as horrific as 321, 241 and 308 migrants on their treacherous journeys from Libya to Europe make a startling addition to the UNITED List of Deaths in 2011.
These tragedies are not only occurring at our borders. Once inside Europe, migrants are wronged by a system that excludes them and ignores their pleas at every opportunity. Visa restrictions, inconsistent regulations and a dark cloud of deportation murder them using weapons of policy.
Seydina Mouhamed Mbaye, a Senegalese boy of 5 years required emergency medical treatment for a brain tumour in March. In trying to join his father in France, the consulate changed his visa requirements so many times, his journey - and treatment- had to be delayed. On the flight to Paris, he suffered from a sever blood clot and died.
Shambu Lama, a Nepalese man who had lived in Germany for 16 years threw himself under a train in Gifhorn in March after hearing he would be deported and have to leave his son.
Kambiz Roustayi, an Iranian fearing deportation set himself on fire in central Amsterdam in April.
Aminullah Mohamadi, a 17-year-old boy was found hanging from a tree in a Paris park. He was told once he turned 18 he would be sent back to Afghanistan.
When did we get so used to death? 60 years on, we have more human rights legislation than ever, but the reality could not reflect this any less. Will we act one day as if we were never told? NO EXCUSES.
UNITED is here to remind you that people are still drowning in our seas, still arriving at our shores with no future, still being turned away.
On the 10th International Refugee Day, UNITED sends a message to Europe that apathy is unacceptable, action is our only option.
NO EXCUSES. We are still campaigning, why can't you?
The UNITED List of Deaths includes all 15.551 cases and is a powerful tool to lobby and raise awareness of the issues that refugees face all across Europe. The document is used for campaign activities, creative projects, political action and as a source for research.
On 20 June, hundreds of organisations and individuals across Europe will be taking a stand for refugee rights on a local, national and international scale. See UNITED's full European list of activities for the International Refugee Day campaign
UNITED List of Deaths
International Refugee Day
Fatal Realities of Fortress Europe
For more information please contact:
UNITED for Intercultural Action
UNITED is the pan-European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants and refugees, supported from more than 550 organisations from 48 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 of the Council of Europe) 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.