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10.06.2006

the INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE DAY

On the 20 of June - the INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE DAY - UNITED for Intercultural Action (the largest pan-European network against racism, fascism, nationalism and in support of refugees and migrants) with its over 550 supporting organisations all over Europe, raises its voice against the deadly consequences of 'Fortress Europe' by co-ordinating and supporting all organisations active in the name and for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in Europe.
As in the past years, hundreds of NGOs around the continent took the International Refugee Day as the perfect occasion to speak out about the refugee issue. Aware of the urgent situation that many European countries are experiencing, NGOs are organizing a broad variety of activities, ranging from diverse forms of protest against detention conditions, deportation procedures and border militarisation, to awareness raising event to show the human side of the refugee issue, to promote refugees' rights and to speak out for the dignity of refugees and asylum seekers in Europe.
All activities are listed on our web site:
http://www.united.non-profit.nl/pages/act06rfc.htm

EXCLUSION POLICIES, DEADLY RESULTS
over 7,100 documented deaths of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers killed by the building of 'Fortress Europe'.
As the European Union official agenda is all focussed on the negotiations regarding its enlargement towards the East and its accession policies, the ongoing tragedy at its borders goes on unattended.
In the recent years, the European Union has implemented a policy of border closing that makes it almost impossible to legally enter Europe, that lacks re-settlement programs and cannot guarantee refugees a safe transfer to other countries. At the same time, migrants and asylum seekers continue their search for protection and see in Europe their hope for a safe future.
Many of them die in the attempt of reaching Europe. Those who reach the continent eventually, after having fled persecution and extreme poverty, find nothing but suffering and distress, from the moment they get deprived from their fundamental rights and put in arbitrary detention, until the moment their asylum trial is reduced to a few minutes unfair interviews,
often not attended by interpreters nor lawyers and in most cases followed by an expulsion order. The social protection of refugees and asylum seekers in Europe is left to civil society and the third sector. Official programs exist, but they are not evenly distributed, nor guaranteed any continuity.
With the enlargement of Europe's official borders, the new EU countries will soon face the evil side of their role as 'border countries' which they are obliged to take and must solve with their own resources. This will mean that countries which are already struggling in their attempt to meet the EU economical standards, will have to take the burden of a tragedy which the EU is externalising more and more effectively. At the same time, Europe has no common policy, nor sustainable international agreement towards the tragic situations experienced by those countries from which refugees come from in search for security. On the contrary, the uncontrolled economic mechanisms underlying the abuse and exploitation of those countries goes on intensified every year. Not only do those countries face exploitation, but they also lose the strongest part of their population, that is those young men who flee in search for a chance of survival.
NGOs committed to the support of refugees and asylum seekers all over Europe carry on the protest by raising awareness among public opinion as much as possible, by providing refugees with legal, social and medical assistance, and by exploring the possibilities of international fair co-operation. In the meantime, though, people keep on dying at Europe's border, in detention, during deportation, killed by the blindness of a cruel exclusionist policy.


THE FATAL REALITIES OF FORTRESS EUROPE
Since 1993 UNITED for Intercultural Action has monitored the deadly results of the policies building a "Fortress Europe". Over 7,100 cases have been collected so far. These deaths can be put down to border militarisation, asylum laws, detention policies, deportations and carrier sanctions. They are not singular incidents, but symptoms of policies that no longer see the
humanity of those fleeing their homeland.
UNITED collects data on where, when and under which circumstances the refugees died. All the cases contained in the list are documented.
It is possible to download a PDF version of the updated list of deaths and more information about the International Refugee Day Campaign at
http://www.united.non-profit.nl/pdfs/DEATHLIST_7182.pdf
A searchable EXCEL file of the list with statistical details is available upon request. If interested contact info@unitedagainstracism.org.

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