Statement about the drownings in the Mediterrean sea and border closures by the Cars of Hope collective (from July 10, 2018).
Originally published by Cars of Hope. Edited Machine translation by Enough is Enough.
Note: Presence Counts is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.
Since 2015, we, the Cars of Hope initiative, have been supporting people who are seeking refuge on the so-called Balkan route. In the last three years, the political climate in the member states of the European Union has become increasingly rough. The Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini called the people on board of the rescue ship Lifeline “human flesh”. CSU politicians again and again spoke about “asylum tourism”, as if people who are seeking refuge are on a holiday trip. Rescue ships are blocked and their crews prosecuted. Meanwhile, more and more people die in the Mediterranean, others die in the Sahara or in inhumane camps in Libya.
The right to asylum was first curtailed in Germany in 1993. Today, the highest maxim of politics seems to be the de facto abolition of the right to asylum. It is not the permission (by the German government) of arms exports to war parties in the Syrian civil war, such as Turkey, the flooding of African markets with our agricultural surpluses, the emptying of African coastal waters by the European fishing fleet, or the climate change significantly caused by Europeans, that are discussed and seen as a problem. Instead the people who suffer from these policies and set off to find safety and a better future are seen as a problem.
The European Union (EU) says it wants to crack down on smuggling. However what the governments of the EU member states do not say, is that the border closures in the EU are the basis of the business model for so-called human traffickers. The initiators want to fight against the symptoms of their policy without removing the cause. Of course, that will not work. In their compartmentalization craze, the governments of the respective EU member states accept thousands of deaths in the Mediterranean and the Sahara. People who want to save lives are now being prosecuted. German federal interior minister Horst Seehofer has also pleaded for it.
The first victims of the new police law in the state of Bavaria (governed by the CSU) were 10 refugees in Schweinfurt. They were detained preventively after the introduction of this law, that is, without charge and without conviction. The state government in NRW now wants to bring a similar law through North Rhine-Westphalian state parliament. We fear that especially migrants and refugees will suffer from this law.
We were also threatened by police forces: In Serbia, one of our activists was threatened with arrest if he continued to distribute food to refugees. One of our helpers was tailed and later searched by police officers on Lesbos (Greece) . In Bosnia, people again and again came to us with injuries. Most were victims of police violence in the EU member states Croatia and Slovenia. On the Bosnian-Croatian border, many people told us that the Croatian police had deliberately hit their ankles to prevent them from trying to cross the border again. Mobile phones were also broken and money was stolen by Croatian and Slovenian police. All this did not stop us from continuing our work. And we will continue to do so in the future. But we realized that, above all, something has to change on the political level.
We support the protests of the “Seebruecke” initiative and call for safe havens and a humane asylum policy. Rescuing the lives of people is not a crime, but a necessity created by the inhumane EU border policy. We have no refugee crisis, but a crisis of human values in Europe.
Stop drowning in the Mediterranean and open the borders!
Stop the police violence against refugees!
Stops the new police law – in Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and elsewhere.
For a humane asylum policy and the fight against flight reasons, which are co-created by European states and corporations!
Cars of Hope Wuppertal, July 10, 2018.
Mutual aid: Support Enough is Enough and Cars of Hope at the Bosnian/Croatian border
On July 19 two people of the Enough is Enough team will join the Cars of Hope collective in Bosnia to work together with refugees and to produce independent border monitoring reports from the Bosnian/Croatian border. Read the reports of our last stay in Bosnia: here.
We urgently need financial support to maintain the supplies for refugees and to be able to keep on building emergency shelters.
Please donate for food, tents and other things for everyday life.
The Cars of Hope bank account details:
Bank: Volksbank in Bergisches Land
Account holder: Hopetal e.V.
Description: Cars of Hope
IBAN: DE51 3406 0094 0002 9450 87
Mutual Aid: Support Refugees in Bosnia
Support the work with refugees in Bosnia.
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This post was originally published on Presence Counts · 15o · OccupyLjubljana.