UNITED for Intercultural Action, 413, Postbus NL-1000 AK Amsterdam phone +31-20-683 47 78, fax +31-20-683 45 82 email@example.com, www.unitedagainstracism.org
UNITED Since 1993, UNITED has been monitoring the deadly results of “Fortress Europe” – the policies taken directly and indirectly against immigration Europe-wide. The result of the monitoring is a List of migrants who have died in their attempt to reach Europe, that is to “enter the Fortress”. Until now, the researches carried out by UNITED have documented more than 10.000 deaths. All these deaths are ultimately linked to decisions taken at the highest political level, such as the Schengen Treaty, the Dublin Convention and EU border-control programs. The deadly consequences of Europe’s political answer to immigration, represented in numbers by the UNITED list of deaths, prove all the above mentioned decisions wrong: by making legal immigration and asylum nearly impossible, EU countries are not discouraging asylum seekers and migrants from entering Europe, they are leading them to death.
UNITED for Intercultural Action protests against the building of a Fortress Europe and its policy, which gambles with the life of desperate people. For the governments, it is not important how many people loose their lives in their attempt to improve their life conditions. Isn’t it a human right to improve one's own life condition? The same way governments are shutting down their borders, they are as well trying to shut people's eyes, manipulating their minds and creating phobia around wrong concepts: words like illegal and criminal are associated with migrants constantly. The existence of a human being on this earth cannot be a crime itself.
HOW DO WE WORK WITH THE LIST OF DEATHS? We scan several newspapers daily and we read them through. When we find a death case which falls into the criteria selected to be part of the death list, we translate it into English. Then, we check if the case is already in the database. If it is, we check if we have already listed this source (the article), otherwise we add the newspaper/magazine among the sources. If the case is not already in the date base, we add it with all possible details. We have a special entry form for that.
HOW DO WE WORK WITH THE LIST OF DEATHS? Each case published by UNITED is documented in the UNITED archives. Further information can be supplied on request. The “Documentation on Refugee Deaths” can be downloaded from the UNITED home page (www.unitedagainstracism.org). Researchers and journalists can also order the scientific part of the documentation, to be used for their own studies.
How can the List of Deaths be used? This map, published in “le Monde Diplomatique” was based on UNITED research of 2006 and it shows the concentration of death cases geographically. As we can see most of the documented refugee deaths occur between Africa and Spain in the Strait of Gibraltar, around Malta and on the way to Italy.
Many people drown before even reaching European shores. The exact number of people who drown is unknown – it is estimated to be surely much higher than the documented number
As a matter of fact, Spanish government officials reported that, only in 2006, about 6000 African migrants have died or gone missing during their sea journey to the Canary Islands. They estimated that only one corpse out of three dead migrants is found.
Causes of Death As Alain Morice writes in “Le Monde Diplomatique” (3/2004), one of the reasons for refugees to enter a country “illegally” is that «the governments want to shut down all legal options of migration for people who try to escape their unbearable living conditions».
Deaths attributed to State-services This chart shows the number of persons whose death can be attributed to police or border guard action: nearly 10% of the total number of deaths. These cases include deportation deaths or suicides in refugee centres, and cases of border guards shooting people who cross borders “illegally”,
Deaths attributed to State-services as well as police chasing “sans-papiers” to their death. The number of these cases is alarming and it is to be feared, since it indicates an even higher occurrence of maltreatment of refugees in Europe.
What we can do in order to prevent these unnecessary deaths in the future? All organisations, large and small, can contribute to the fight against more deaths. The UNITED European-wide campaign aims at raising awareness in all relevant areas of society. The main targets are the media and the general public. With their help it is possible to force European politicians to reconsider European immigration policies. They can organise activities such as lectures, multicultural evenings, debates or preparation of a petition. They should also consider lobbying, for example, their local Member of the European Parliament. If you want to give your event a special significance, you can organise it on the International Refugee Day, on 20 June.
For UNITED's documentation of refugee deaths it is necessary that we continue to receive good information on deaths cases of refugees in Europe. So please send us newspaper articles, statistics and all other information you can gather on this issue.