[ 22. Sep 2006 ]

Protest for Freedom of Movement

Examples of Resistance in some African Countries Against the EU Migration Regime


02 June 2006: Migrants sent home from the Canary Islands blocked a highway out of Dakar to protest against mistreatment of deportees and demanded to stop the deportation flights. The Senegalese government suspended such flights for some time and also rejected EU sea patrols and helicopters on her territory, but at the end of august, it accepted "common" patrols with the EU - probably in exchange for some money, called "development aid".

30 June / 1 July 2006: Migrant-, refugee- and human rights organisations organized a conference near Rabat with more than 150 participants from Europe, North Africa and Subsahara Africa (among them many migrants and refugees) which adopted a manifesto with the main demand "freedom of movement" and protested against the EU-Africa-summit on "migration and development" which took place one week later in Rabat.

24 July 2006:
Subsaharan refugees assembled in front of the UNHCR office and 27 of them entered a catholic church in Rabat. They demanded the recognition of their rights as refugees, protection and support by the UNHCR, especially for the most vulnerable persons like minors and women and, because Morocco does not allow them to integrate in her society, the right to go to third countries. The police drove them out of the church in a brutal way and two members of refugee organisations were arrested by agents of the secret police (who called as journalists), driven to the Algerian border and questioned about other activists. They came free only after the intervention of several NGOs and people from the local UNHCR.

31 August 2006: Young fishermen, accompanied by their sisters and mothers, protested against permanent controls, harrassment and confiscation of boats by the Mauretanian coast guard and threatened to stop paying licence fees and to emigrate secretly, if it goes on like that. About two weeks before, the Mauretanian government had accepted patrol boats, planes and helicopters from the EU on her territory to prevent migrants from going to the Canary Islands.

26 August 2006: On the 10th anniversary of the expulsion and deportation of sans papiers from the church Saint-Bernard in Paris, people tried to make a demonstration on the "Place of freedom" in front of the town hall in Bamako, but the police came and drove about half of the people away and two were arrested. They came free after protests in front of the police headquarters. The Mali government obviously does not want public actions concerning deportations, because in the middle of august it accepted the secret deportation of 160 migrants from the Canary Islands.

This article was written by Conni from :: Flüchtlingsrat Hamburg in September 2006, published as :: pdf.