[ 20. Jun 2000 ]

Massacre at Dover - 58 people died

Massacre at Dover - 58 "Sans Papiers" found dead Fortress Europe"s Draconian anti-immigration policy underlying cause of tragedy at Dover A lorry became a mass grave for 54 men and 4 women entering the United Kingdom "Sans Papiers".


They penetrated far into Fortress Europe - but the price they paid was their lives. Who were these unfortunate passengers? Their stories will probably never be told, even in death, they have been labelled criminals.

Applying for asylum in the UK has deteriorated to the point where asylum seekers are left without basic human rights forced into dispersal and detention, and discriminated against with vouchers. Political asylum has been so restricted by legislation that there is hardly any way of claiming political asylum in the UK.

People fleeing war are not considered to be genuine refugees - they are "just" fleeing "general violence". Those fleeing state persecution (like China with a recognised appalling human rights record, where these 58 people may have come from) have to overcome extensive pre-entry controls, and once they manage to get a visa or a false document to escape they can be detained and then refused asylum for travelling through other countries or like Roma asylum seekers, rejected because Skinheads are not considered to be "agents of persecution".

The death of 58 passengers "Sans Papiers" discovered this morning was something that could have been prevented with humane and ethical immigration policy, which is of national interest for every civilised, multicultural society.

It is essential to keep the asylum issue in perspective and to seek solutions that promote human rights of asylum seekers instead of restricting them. It is also important to recognise that migration is not a new phenomenon and accept that it is not only a fact but also desirable and essential for development of every society.

How we treat people in need is a reflection of the true state of democracy and freedom. This tragedy must not be forgotten, not only as a dire reminder of restrictive policies which forces people to leave their country of origin and in this case into the most horrific death, and 58 untold life stories, which abruptly ended.

NCADC condemns UK and European anti-immigration policy which forces those who are persecuted or experiencing any other hardship into underground routes which should lead to a better life but in this case lead to a mass grave.

It is with great sadness that NCADC noted the death of 58 people in the back of a lorry at Dover. Throughout the day the media speculated whether the 54 men and 4 women were "illegal immigrants". Their humanity was lost. They had no identity other than being "Sans Papiers" in the UK.

Our press release, mirrors the sombreness of the mood felt by NCADC staff. Yet our sadness turns to anger as we reflect: "Was it wanting to have a better life that caused these deaths, or the evil immigration laws that force people to take such desperate risks?"

We would ask supporters to write to the Home Secretary Jack Straw MP to condemn the immigration policies which caused this appalling loss of human life.

In this case NCADC feels it inappropriate to produce a standard letter we would ask you to express your own feelings to the Home Secretary.

Jack Straw MP
50 Queen Anne"s Gate
London SW1H 9AT