DEATH BY POLICY – TIME FOR CHANGE!
UNITED press release, 20.06.2015 (shortened version)
International Refugee Day – 20th June
To mark International Refugee Day, UNITED is publishing an updated edition of its List of Deaths, a new website and an interactive map. We call on civil society to protest against the fatal policies of Fortress Europe that lead to the deaths of desperate people looking for safe refuge.
In recent months, stories of the thousands of people who have drowned in the Mediterranean sea while attempting to reach Europe have shocked people all over the continent and seen the issue of refugee deaths rise towards the top of the European political and media agenda. But despite the attention generated by the situation in the Mediterranean, EU representatives seem unable to come to any consensus on sharing the burden of migratory waves between southern and northern Europe, with nationalistic interests dominating discussions. Meanwhile migration continues, with the risky conditions at sea not seeming to provide any discouragement to migrants.
Complicating the issue yet further is the fact that refugee deaths are not limited to the Mediterranean: refugees die of suffocation and exposure hiding in freight containers and the undercarriages of planes; refugees die in the dire conditions of detention centres; refugees die in police custody and at the hands of deportation officials; refugees are murdered by fascist thugs, denied both the protection of the authorities and recourse to justice. As diverse as they may seem, all of these deaths are a direct result of the fatal policies of Fortress Europe: the political agenda which puts the protection of Europe’s borders ahead of the protection of the lives of the world’s most desperate and vulnerable people. This is DEATH BY POLICY.
Since 1993, UNITED has been documenting the effects of these fatal policies by compiling a list of the thousands of people who have died in their attempt to reach Europe. Now including details of over 22,000 people, the UNITED List of Deaths has become a key tool for activists, artists and researchers dealing with the rights of asylum seekers and refugees.
Wake up the policy-makers! It is extremely important for the purposes of the campaign to raise awareness of this issue throughout Europe. The main targets are media and the general public. With their help it is possible to force European politicians to reconsider European immigration policies and to develop a human vision on migration.
The UNITED List of Deaths and other UNITED publications can be freely re-used, translated and re-distributed, provided source (www.unitedagainstracism.org) is mentioned and a copy is sent to the UNITED Secretariat.