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[ 13. May 2007 ]

International Refugee Day - 20 June 2007

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Campaigning in support of refugees!
Protesting against the fatal realities of fortress Europe!


Call by :: United - European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants and refugees

In 2001 a special UN General Assembly Resolution was adopted to declare the former African Refugee Day as the International Refugee Day as an expression of solidarity with Africa, which hosts the most refugees. The General Assembly noted that 2001 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have the International Refugee Day coincide with African Refugee Day on 20 June.
UNITED coordinates an annual campaign around this date. This campaign aims to highlight the issues of refugees from a non-governmental perspective on all levels - local, national and European. We call upon all organisations to take part in the campaign.

What you will find in this article:

- International Refugee Day campaigning info
- Background information on "The fatal realities of Fortress Europe"
- refugee deaths at European borders
- Campaigning and lobbying tips, ideas...
- link to ORDER FORM to order FREE campaigning material (posters,
stickers, leaflets, postcards...) - form also below
- link to the updated version of the list of deaths

UNITED invites you to join the campaign on 20 June!

Many NGOs involved in migrants, refugees and asylum seekers' issues
will organise activities Europe-wide to both raise public awareness
and to lobby on a local and national level for the rights and the
protection of refugees across the continent. Each NGO might have a
different priority, according to their targets and their field of
action, but it is of extreme importance that all actions gather
together to form one strong European campaign on one specific day: 20

Also this year UNITED co-ordinates the International Refugee Campaign
at the European level, by keeping a on-line list of activities, by
distributing free campaigning material (posters, stickers, postcards,
info leaflets) and by functioning as a reference point.
Moreover, all year round, UNITED co-ordinates an on-going campaign
called "The Fatal realities of Fortress Europe", a campaign, which
aims at raising awareness on the tragedy going on at Europe's borders
and inside detention and deportation camps all over the continent.
By updating a list of already 8.800 documented deaths of refugees,
asylum seekers and migrants who lost their lives in the attempt of
entering Europe or because of detention/deportation companies, UNITED
has created a powerful lobby and awareness-raising tool that all organisations can use for campaigning.

If your organisation is also hosting, organising or supporting an
activity related to the International Refugee Day, please check the
link to the order form and return it to us as soon as possible,
filled with info on your activity and with the amount of material you
will need.


Please find below how your organisation can also be part of the
campaign, join the movement and take advantage of the possibilities
UNITED offers to whomever shows interest into the campaign.


Please, inform us as soon as your organisation start planning an
activity. Tell us via e-mail where and when the activity will take
place, who will be involved and what is going to happen! We will
include your activity into a comprehensive list of Europe-wide
activities. Many people will have the chance to know about your


United makes available free material for the refugee campaign, in
particular, the poster about 8,800 documented deaths by European
migration policies, with extensive information on the back. But also
postcards, stickers...they are all for you to choose on our web site!
You can order the material by filling the on-line order form


UNITED for Intercultural Action protests against the building of a
"Fortress Europe", which leads to the death of desperate people
looking for safe refuge.
UNITED collects data on where, when and under which circumstances the
refugees died. All the cases contained in the list are documented.
The list does not pretend to have a strong scientific basis.
Nevertheless, the list is extremely important for the purposes of the
Campaign to raise awareness on this issue throughout Europe. Although
the lack of a strong scientific basis prevents quantitative analysis
to be based on the list, qualitative research is possible. It is
essential to reach researchers, journalists, and artists who, by
making a creative use of the list, contribute to the
awareness-raising with their work and their projects. It is only by
making the list as public as possible, that a concrete action against
the cruel and inhuman consequences of Europe is exclusion policy is


The impact of the list of deaths is caused by the sheer numbers.
Behind them, though, there are human beings. In order to make our
point and spread the message of the campaign across Europe, it is
necessary to give the list a human dimension. As a matter of fact,
the list is a powerful tool for campaigning both as a whole, and also
as a series of single cases.
Here are some cases, but you can ask us for more!!!

Greece: traffickers toss group into the sea
A 15-year-old girl drowned and two others were reported missing
yesterday after human traffickers threw a group of illegal immigrants
into the sea close to the southern Aegean island of Leros,
authorities said.
The dead girl was among a group of Kurdish migrants found in waters
off the island of Farmakonisi, located near Leros and a short
distance from Turkey.
Two others, a one-year-old infant and a man, were said to be missing.
(Kathimerini, 28 April 2007)

Italy: CPT, Italian Guantanamo
Mohamed Aloui, a 33 years old man from Tunisia, was found dead on the
6th of August 2006, in his cell in a CPT in Bologna. Heroin was found
next to his body but autopsy revealed that he did not use it.
He was in overdose of anti epileptic medicines, albeit he did not
suffer epilepsy.
But he was classified as "dangerous" inside the Center of Temporary
Stay and he was given anti epileptic medicine as a downer, just to
keep him steady.
(Meltingpot, 13 August 2006)

Great Britain: the man who set himself on fire to stay in this country
Uddhav Bhandari had made his choice: his fate would not be decided in
the calm, quiet arena of a British courtroom.
As he waited for his last-gasp asylum hearing, Mr Bhandari's thoughts
turned to his homeland, Nepal, a place he was utterly terrified of
being sent back to. Mr Bhandari, 40, doused himself with petrol from
a container he had smuggled into the fourth floor of the Eagle
Building on Glasgow's Bothwell Street, home to the Asylum and
Immigration Tribunal, and set himself on fire.
Shocked staff attempted to put out the flames that were engulfing Mr
Bhandari's body by using their own clothes.
"It's just so shocking and sad that someone can be so desperate.
People wonder how he was able to smuggle petrol into the court but
the real question is what is it about the system that makes people
commit such desperate acts."
This latest and most horrific act by a failed asylum seeker
highlights the human cost of the system's bureaucratic delays,
complicated form-filling and legal hurdles.
(The Scotsman, 17 March 2007)

Turkey: Seven illegal immigrants freeze to death
Turkish security forces on Tuesday found the bodies of seven illegal immigrants who froze to death in the east of the country after sneaking across the border from Iran, the Anatolia news agency reported.
The bodies of the seven men were discovered in a mountainous area in
Van province, on the border with Iran, during a security sweep
targeting people smugglers, the agency said.
The nationalities of the victims were not immediately known.
Turkey is on a major human-smuggling route from Asia to Europe and
illegal immigrants are detained on an almost daily basis.
(Turkish Daily News, 28 March 2007)


You can write a letter of protest to the policy-makers of your choice, you can also use the example letter below. There is strength in numbers, so send the protest letter to all your contacts in politics (please, download the recent list of deaths at European borders at )

You can address your mail to:

The European Parliament
Committee on Human Rights and/or
Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
rue Wiertz
B-1047 Brussels, Belgium

or directly to any member of the European Parliament, at the same address

Council of the European Union,
General Secretariat / Justice and Home Affairs
rue de la Loi 175
B-1048 Brussels, Belgium


Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population
Parliamentary Assembly
Council of Europe
Avenue de l'Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex

Or to National Parliaments
Please find out the addresses of your national Parliament and the
appropriate Members and Commissions from the public relations desk,
or check your library.


To the responsible political body in the matter of immigration and asylum

Attn Mr X / Ms X


Dear Sir, Madam,

Re: Death of more than 8800 refugees at the borders of "Fortress Europe"

We would like to share with you the horror we felt at the news of over 8800 deaths of refugees. Since 1993 UNITED for Intercultural Action, the European network against racism has monitored the deadly results of the policies building a "Fortress Europe". These deaths can be put down to border militarisations, 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.

We protest, together with UNITED with its more than 560 supporting organisations, against these policies. Borders cannot be shut to those seeking refuge. We have to see people as individuals, as possible victims of global conflicts. If we do not take care that the global political and socio-economic situation gets better, we cannot realistically expect people to stay in situations that we ourselves would find unbearable.

We expect from you that you will do your utmost to make sure that policies change and more tragic deaths are prevented.

Yours sincerely,


Enclosed: Publication with the list of documented refugee deaths


Take several copies of this poster to all the meetings, conferences
and seminars that are focusing on migration issues. Try to stress the
importance of its contents as well as the brutality of its figures
(please ask for the updated list of refugee deaths from the UNITED's
It is important to bear in mind that all these deaths were due to
policies that criminalise a basic human right: the right of choosing
freely a place to live.
When possible and appropriate translate the contents of this
publication into your language. If you do so, please send a copy to
UNITED. In case you need a picture of this poster just contact us and
we will provide it.

UNITED is the pan-European network against nationalism, racism,
fascism and in support of migrants and refugees, supported by over
560 organisations in 46 European countries.
How to join the network: see
'joining the network'

UNITED for Intercultural Action
European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support
of migrants and refugees

Postbus 413 - NL 1000 AK Amsterdam - phone +31-20-6834778 - fax
+31-20-6834582 - info (at) -