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Ferries not Frontex! 10 points to really end the deaths of migrants

On April 20, the Joint Foreign and Home Affairs Council of the EU released a ten-­‐point action plan
outlining their response to the recent deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. Many other
proposals have also been made over the last few days. We are activists who have been involved in
the struggles against the European border regime for several years and who have been in touch on
a daily basis with hundreds of people who have crossed the Mediterranean through Watch The Med
and the Alarm Phone project. Faced with the hypocrisy of the “solutions” that have been proposed so
far, we feel compelled to undermine their falsity and attempt to open up an alternative space for
reflection and action.

1. We are shocked and angered at the recent tragedies that have claimed at least 1200
lives in the Mediterranean Sea in the last week. We are shocked, although not surprised,
by the unprecedented number of deaths in merely a few days. We are angered because
we know that without a radical change these are just the first of many more deaths to
come in 2015.

2. We are also angered because we know that what is proposed to us as a “solution” to
this unbearable situation only amounts to more of the same: violence and death. The EU
has called for the reinforcement of Frontex’ Triton mission. Frontex is a migration
deterrence agency and Triton has been created with the clear mandate to protect
borders, not to save lives.

3. However, even if saving lives was to be its core task, as it was the case for the military-­‐
humanitarian operation Mare Nostrum in 2014, it is clear that this would not bring
dying at sea to an end. Those who suggest a European Mare Nostrum should be
reminded that even during its mission, the most grandiose rescue operation in the
Mediterranean to date, more than 3.400 people died. Is this figure acceptable to the
European public?

4. Others have called for an international military operation in Libya, a naval blockade or
the further enlisting of African countries for the policing of their own land borders. The
history of the last 20 years in the Mediterranean shows that stepping up the
militarization of migration routes is only cause to more death. Each and every time a
route into the Europe has been blocked by new surveillance technologies and increasing
policing, migrants have not stopped arriving. They have simply been forced to take
longer and more dangerous routes. The recent deaths in the Central and Eastern
Mediterranean are the result of the militarization of the Gibraltar Strait, of the Canary
Islands, of the land border between Greece and Turkey, and of several land borders in
the Sahara. The “successes” of Frontex mean death to thousands of people.

5. International organisations as well politicians from across the whole political
spectrum have denounced smugglers as the main cause of death in the Mediterranean
Sea. Several prominent politicians have compared the smuggling of migrants to the
transatlantic slave trade. There seems no limit to hypocrisy: those who uphold the slave
regime condemning the slave traders! We know very well that smugglers operating in
the context of the Libyan civil war are often ruthless criminals. But we also know that
the only reason why migrants have to resort to them is the European border regime.
Smuggling networks would be history in no time if those who now die at sea could
instead reach Europe legally. The visa regime that prevents them from doing so was
introduced only 25 years ago.

6. Those who have called, once again, for the creation of asylum processing centres in
Northern Africa should be reminded of two examples that are the most accurate examples of what these centres would actually mean. First, the Tunisian Choucha camp
managed by the UNHCR, which abandoned those who sought refuge there from the
Libyan conflict. Even those who were recognized as needing international protections
were left behind in the Tunisian desert, often without any other choice than trying to
cross the sea. Second, the creation by Australia of offshore processing centres on remote
“prison-­‐islands”, which is now hailed by many as a role model for Europe, only shows
how hideous the forceful confinement of asylum seekers can be. These “solutions” serve
only to displace the violence of the European border regime away from the eyes of
Western publics.

7. Faced with this situation, what is to be done? Comrades and friends with whom we
have shared common struggles in the past years have been calling for freedom of
movement as the only viable response to this situation. We too make this demand ours,
as it is the only one that has managed to open up a space of political imagination in an
otherwise suffocating debate. Only unconditional legal access to the EU can end the
death of migrants at sea. And yet we think that a general call for the freedom of
movement is not enough in the current context. We want to consider the freedom of
movement not as a distant utopia but as a practice – enacted by migrants on a daily
basis often at the cost of their lives -­‐ that should guide our political struggles here and
now.

8. These are the reasons why we call for the institution of a humanitarian ferry, that
should travel to Libya and evacuate as many people as possible. These people should be
brought to Europe and granted unconditional protection in Europe, without undergoing
an asylum process which has lost its original purpose to protect and has de facto
become yet another tool of exclusion.

9. Is the idea of a ferry unrealistic? In 2011, at the height of the Libyan civil war,
humanitarian ferries evacuated thousands of stranded migrants from Misrata to
Bengasi, overcoming obstacles such as shelling, constant fire and sea mines. This shows
that even in the current volatile situation of Libya, considering such an action is
possible. Moreover, ferries would certainly be immensely cheaper than the prospect of a
massive rescue mission at sea and of any military solution.

10. The only reality we know is that any solution short of this will continue to lead to
more deaths at sea. We know that no process of externalisation of asylum procedures
and border control, no amount of compliance with the legal obligations to rescue, no
increase in surveillance and militarization will stop the mass dying at sea. In the
immediate terms, all we need is legal access and ferries. Will the EU and international
agencies be ready to take these steps, or will civil society have to do it for them?

The Alarm Phone
wtm-­‐alarm-­‐phone@antira.info
http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/page/index/12


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Call for Protest: Disruption of the event with Frontex director of operations Klaus Rösler on 22.04.2015, 6pm

deutsch unten
10 years of Frontex!
10 years of trafficking with bodies!
10 years and thousands of deaths!

 

To deliver somebody to the risk of death, to augment the risk of death for specific people, or political death, or dispossession, or deportation.” (Michel Foucault)

 

The closing and total surveillance of the borders implies the control of „the bare life”.This control converges in the military, secret service and police nodal point Frontex. Control of life and death is an execution of violence. Frontex exercises psychological and physical violence: Diagnosis of pubic hair to ascertain the age, testing the DNA to detect kinship relations, psychiatric survey reports to ascertain homosexuality. To the outside Frontex pretends to act responsible, be interested in human beings and presents itself as the protecting power of the European borders. For this reason Frontex publishes fake reports of people traffickers and ghost ships. This Wednesday, Klaus Rösler, as the only guest speaker, will promote the repressive and racist work of Frontex in a public event of the Schwarzkopf foundation. – We want to prevent that and are asking for a loud protest. Come in large numbers!

 


Wednesday,
22.04.2015 – 6pm
Schwarzkopf-Stiftung (foundation)
Sophienstraße 28-29, Berlin-Mitte

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Refugee School and University Strike on April, 24th

— english below —

SCHULSTREIK | 24. APRIL | 11 UHR | ROTES RATHAUS.

MAHNWACHE  | 15 UHR | EU-VERTRETUNG, Pariser Platz

Eine einfache Frage: „Was ist der Unterschied zwischen 6m² und 8m²?“ 6m² … so viel steht einer*m Geflüchteten in Deutschland als Wohnraum zu. 8m² … so viel steht einem deutschen Schäferhund per Tierschutz-Verordnung zu. Doch das wird sich bald ändern! Ab dem Jahr 2016 stehen den Menschen, die auf ihrer Flucht vor Hunger, Krieg, Ausbeutung usw. über die Mauern Europas bis nach Deutschland kommen, 7m² zu. Im Gegenzug wird durch die Asylgesetzverschärfung die Chance auf einen gesicherten Aufenthaltsstatus in der BRD noch weiter verringert. Die Verfahren zu Abschiebung und Abschiebehaft werden so angepasst, dass sie in Zukunft noch schneller noch mehr Menschen abschieben können. Das Arbeitsverbot, mangelnder Zugang zu Bildung usw. wird dabei weiterhin aufrechterhalten.

Während die Parteien à la CDU, SPD und Grünen die rassistischen Gesetzte machen, hetzen auf der Straße neue rassistische Bewegungen wie Pegida, HoGeSa oder „Bürgerbewegungen“, wie in Marzahn, Köpenick und Buch. Und sehen ihr ach so christliches „Abendland“ in Gefahr vor sog. „Überfremdung“.

Ihnen ist es egal, dass bei der Flucht nach Europa seit 1990 weit mehr als 28.000 Menschen starben, die EU ihre Außengrenzen immer weiter abschottet und private Grenzagenturen riesige Zäune, Gefängnisse und Flotten aufbauen. Ihnen ist auch egal, dass vor allem deutsche Konzerne und Politik für die Fluchtursachen verantwortlich sind. Deutschland, als drittgrößter Waffenexporteur, verdient an jedem Krieg fleißig mit. Gleichzeitig erzwingen sie die Öffnung der Märkte in ehemaligen kolonialen Ländern, sodass Konzerne ohne Einschränkung die lokale Wirtschaft für ihre maximale Gewinnausbeutung benutzen können. Das erzeugt vor allem Armut und somit Abhängigkeit. Wo das Wichtigste der Profit ist, gibt es keinen Platz für Solidarität. Ihnen ist auch egal, dass seit der Krise des Kapitalismus der Konkurrenzkampf zwischen den wirtschaftlich starken Nationen (auch Imperialist_innen genannt) zunimmt, da jeder seine eigenen Profite sichern will. Das bedeutet mehr Krieg und mehr Ausbeutung. Weltweit sind deshalb so viele Menschen auf der Flucht wie seit dem 2. Weltkrieg nicht mehr. Allein in Syrien sind es 9 Millionen. Im Juni wollen sich genau diese Industrienationen in Bayern treffen um beim G7 Gipfel die Welt erneut unter sich aufzuteilen.

Wir haben keinen Bock auf Rassismus in der Schule, wir haben keinen Bock, dass unsere Freunde isoliert in extra Klassen gehalten werden um dann mit 18 abgeschoben zu werden. Wir finden es zum kotzen, dass die Asylgesetze weiter verschärft werden, statt Geflüchteten ein würdevolles Leben zu ermöglichen!

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Alarm Phone Press Release: The EU kills Refugees, Ferries not Frontex!

Press Release, 19.4.2015

Last night at least 650 people drowned about 73 nautical miles north of the Libyan coast when seeking to reach Italy. They were on board of a 30 meter long boat that capsized when the container vessel King Jacob approached them for assistance. There were only 28 survivors.

This is the biggest refugee boat catastrophe in the recent history of the Mediterranean Sea. With its decision from the 27th of August 2014 to scale down rescue operations at sea, the EU is responsible for this mass dying. The EU has the means and possibilities to rescue refugees in the Mediterranean Sea. But instead, they let people drown.

Over the last weeks, we, as the Watch The Med Alarm Phone, became direct witnesses of struggles over life and death on these boats and of the relatives’ worries. We also witnessed how the coastguards of Italy and Malta as well as the crews of commercial vessels made great efforts but could often not prevent the dying as they were not sufficiently equipped to conduct rescue operations. And this is due to political decisions made on the level of the European Union.

Fortress Europe has caused ten thousands of deaths in the Mediterranean Sea in the last 25 years.

Those responsible are:

Politicians and police forces that have created, through the Schengen Regime, the general visa-duty and the organised manhunt of refugees and migrants without visas;

The politicians, police and military forces that have established Frontex in the past 10 years and have turned the Mediterranean Sea between Libya and Italy since the Arab Spring into a maritime high security zone;

The EU politicians who decided on the 27th of August 2014 in Brussels to scale down the Italian rescue operation Mare Nostrum in the Mediterranean Sea and enforced a politics of deterrence through Frontex’s Triton operation along the Italian coast!

They carry responsibility for the thousands of deaths that have occurred in the last months in the maritime zone between Libya and Italy.

The dying needs to end:

We demand an immediately created direct ferry line for refugees from Tripoli and other places in Northern Africa to Europe.

We demand safe and legal corridors for refugees to reach a place of refuge without the need to risk their lives.

We call out, beyond all confessions and political sides, to take immediate direct action against these murderous EU policies and politics.

Watch the Med Alarm Phone

http://www.watchthemed.net/
This PM online: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/110
info@watchthemed.net


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Anti Frontex Days 19-22 may, 2015

antifrontexdays_poster

On May, 21st, 2015 the crème de la crème of European racism will gather in Warsaw, Poland, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the creation of one of the most influential meta-organisations that guards assets of the Fortress Europe. The organization, not widely known, until recently standing in the shadows, is a hybrid of border police and intelligence service, as well as aggressive promoter of anti-migrant policy. Frontex (from french “Frontieres exterieurs”), being discussed here, is the executive body of EU (anti)migration policy, enjoys autonomy in decision-making (for EU foreign policy), and has a yearly growing budget, which is not accounted. Budget, used to finance futuristic projects, straight from distopia, like an automatic system of land drones, known as TALOS project, carried out in cooperation that included Warsaw University of Technology, Israeli Aerospace Industries and a lot of other military corporations. The trust also allows them to conduct their own foreign policy on migration – dealing with the neighboring dictatorships (Belarus, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria), sponsoring and organizing repression against refugees in a secure buffer zone, which blurs responsibility. As a result, the border of Europe moves farther away from the ‘old continent’, helping to hide the effects of this policy in the eyes of Europeans. Sponsored camps in the countries of the global south and ruthless anti-human migration policy of the EU countries result in real victims – tens of thousands of people drown, starve, are left at sea or desert, or are directly shot – every year more than at the Berlin wall in the entire time of its existence.

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Aufruf zur Kundgebung „Push Back Frontex! Gegen eine neue Dimension des Sterbenlassens auf See
” am 25. Februar um 08:30 Uhr vorm BCC am Alexanderplatz

*English version below
Klaus Rösler, Direktor der Abteilung “Einsatzangelegenheiten -­‐ Operations Division” von Frontex, wird am 25.02.2015 auf dem internationalen Polizeikongress in Berlin über europäische Grenzkontrollen und die Herausforderung Mittelmeer sprechen. Das nehmen wir zum Anlass um gegen die aggressive und menschenverachtete Politik zu demonstrieren, die Frontex im Namen der Europäischen Union im Mittelmeer durchsetzt.
Nach Ende der italienischen Marineoperation Mare Nostrum, die mehr als 120.000  Menschen das Leben rettete, und zu Beginn der Frontex-­‐Operation Triton forderte Klaus Rösler das italienische Innenministerium, die Marine und die Küstenwache Italiens auf, die aktuelle Praxis der Seenotrettung von Bootsflüchtlingen einzustellen. Klaus Rösler hat von höchster Stelle der EU-­‐Grenzschutzagentur unmissverständlich dazu aufgerufen, Flüchtlinge und MigrantInnen in Seenot massenhaft sterben zu lassen. Bereits seit der Gründung vor 10 Jahren steht Frontex für eine aggressive Abschreckungspolitik. In der aktuellen Zuspitzung im zentralen Mittelmeer will Frontex durchsetzen, dass die 25 Schiffe und 9 Flugzeuge der Operation Triton nur innerhalb der 30-­‐Meilen-­‐Zone vor der italienischen Küste eingesetzt werden. Ausdrückliches Ziel von Triton ist, die Zahl der Ankünfte an europäischen Küsten zu reduzieren und Bootsflüchtlinge abzuschrecken.

Darüber hinaus ist es der pure Hohn, wenn ausgerechnet Frontex Anfang Januar 2015 den „Schleusern“ eine “neue Dimension der Grausamkeit” vorwirft, weil bei mehreren sogenannten „Geisterschiffen“ die Crew verschwand, um ihrer Kriminalisierung zu entgehen.
Zweifellos agieren skrupellose Geschäftemacher im lukrativen Handel mit der Flucht übers Mittelmeer, doch klar ist: das Geschäft mit der illegalisierten Einreise und der tausendfache Tod auf See sind zu allererst Konsequenzen des EU-­‐Grenzregimes. Beides könnte morgen Geschichte sein, wenn Flüchtlinge und MigrantInnen sich gewöhnliche Fähr-­‐ und Flugtickets kaufen und damit so sicher und kostengünstig wie Touristen reisen könnten. Solange diese Bewegungsfreiheit für alle nicht durchgesetzt ist, kann das Sterben auf dem Meer nur verhindert werden, wenn weiter überall, auch vor der libyschen Küste, Menschen in Seenot sofort gerettet werden.
Wir fordern die sofortige Zurücknahme der mörderischen Frontex-­‐Anordnung! Stoppen wir diese unmenschliche Politik, verteidigen wir die Rechte der Flüchtlinge und MigrantInnen!

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