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On the Violations with Impunity of the Human Rights of Migrant and Refugee Peoples
Migrants and refugees over decades have contributed enormously to the economic and political development of Europe as well as to their countries of origin. Some have undertaken hunger strikes for basic rights such as family reunion and led struggles against detention and deportation. Many today affirm their human rights in struggles such as undocumented migrants and their undocumented children, those working as domestic workers and the care sector, as agricultural workers on Europe’s farms, in the informal sector, as construction workers building our homes and offices, as workers in service industries such as hotel and catering and tourism, sexual work or as seafarers on Europe’s ships and as workers on Europe’s oil rigs.
It is also evident, but not sufficiently acknowledged, that many of Europe’s policies – in a colonial strategy – promote extractivism on a grand scale (agriculture, mining, fisheries and oil). Likewise, the free trade and investment agreements imposed for the benefit and profit of transnational corporations result in mass dispossession of land and sources of livelihood and the expulsion of thousands of people in our countries of origin. In addition, it is equally important to acknowledge the impact of the capitalist system of production and consumption that generates climate change as well as the ongoing wars impacting the most vulnerable of our peoples.
In Europe, those of us who are migrants and refugees from all the regions of the Global South and from Central and Eastern Europe (some of us have lived and worked here for forty years and others arrived more recently) have lived through the various stages of the building of Fortress Europe. We have seen Europe’s policy of exclusion being constructed year after year – a policy that has resulted in a sweeping rollback of people’s human rights; the encampment, forcible detention and deportation; and criminalisation at the militarised southern and eastern borders of Europe. The most visible act is the disappeared persons and the death of thousands of children, brothers and sisters during their journey to reach the borders of southern and eastern Europe: an intolerable crime against humanity. The increasing trend towards the criminalisation of migrants and refugees – particularly those in an irregular situation – means that they are more likely to face discrimination, exclusion, exploitation and violation of their rights during all stages of the migration process. Frequently there is little contextualisation of the realities that force people to leave their home country to avoid death. The constant stereotyping and simplification of these realities leads to the intensification of intolerance, racism, xenophobia, islamophobia, lgtbphobia against migrant and refugee peoples which is sometimes manifested in extreme violence towards people in transit as well as in countries of arrival.
We register our protest in this space where human rights are denied or severely violated. We also register our protest against the ongoing crime against humanity when thousands die in the Mediterranean Sea and throughout the many journays towards Europe . However, alongside our protest, we reclaim the shared and common human treasure of the Peoples’ Rights that have been forged with so much struggle in recent decades by our own peoples in our countries of origin, by ourselves as migrants and refugees and by European citizens.
The Transnational Migrant Platform Europe (TMP-E), Centro Filipino, ACATHI, Transnational Institute (TNI) began last December a process of preparation to convoke the Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT) with the aim to give clear visibility to the migrant and refugee peoples from all backgrounds as subjects of fundamental human rights; to identify and judge the chain of co-responsibility in the violation of those rights experienced throughout the whole migratory journey and to urgently identify and promote appropriate mechanisms for access to justice.
In this context, the Tribunal will:
- Receive and document rigorously the testimonies of the communities of migrants and refugees including their proposals to advance a rights-based approach and an alternative framework.
- Listen and make visible the cases of violations of the rights of migrants and refugees.
- Analyse jointly the root causes (including trade and investment agreements, global extractivism as well as the global production chain) of the forced displacement of migrants and refugees.
- Determine the responsibilities of governments, including the European Union and other official European bodies.
- Focus the role of transnational corporations in the global labour chain, as well as in the border regimes, and in detention and in deportation.
This is a process that we seek to build from below, with the people most involved and most directly affected. That is why we also undertake this process together with other migrant and refugee organisations and communities; and the networks and platforms that support the work of denouncing the violations of human and peoples’ rights that take place along the multiple borders and the daily struggles of migrant and refugees. The PPT Session will be launched in Barcelona on 7th and 8th July, 2017 and will hold its first Hearing in December 2017, with plans to hold a second Hearing in 2018. We are initiating this as a journey where many can participate from all sectors not only from Spain, but from the borders of Europe and countries of origin, transit and destination.
- Transnational Migrant Platform Europe (TMP-E)
- Platform of Filipino Migrant organisations in Europe (Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers (CFMW), Geneva Forum for Filipino Concerns, Centro Filipino-Barcelona, Kasapi-Hellas)
- MDCD (Morrocan Platform in Europe) ( Euro-Mediterraan Centrum Migratie & Ontwikkeling (EMCEMO), Al Maghreb, CODENAF, IDD, Khamsa, Migration et Developpement, Na’oura)
- Social Development Cooperative-Ghana, Africa Roots Movement, Kromantse Foundation
- RESPECT Network Europe
- ECVC – Coordinadora Europea de Vía Campesina
- Associació Catalana per la integració d’homosexuals, bisexuals i transexuals inmigrants (ACATHI)
- Carovane Migranti
- Comitato Verità e Giustizia per i Nuovi Desaparecidos
- Espacio del Inmigrante
- Institut de Drets Humans de Catalunya
- Mujeres Pa’lante
- Observatorio de Multinacionales en América Latina (OMAL)
- Sindicato Popular de vendedores ambulantes
- Stop Mare Mortum
- SOS Rosarno
- Tanquem els CIEs Barcelona
- Transnational Institute (TNI)
- Tras la Manta
- Unitat contra el feixisme i el racisme (UCFR)