31.januari.2004: Common Manifesto

Towards a convergence, a coming together of the struggles of sans papiers, refugees and migrants in Europe

23.Jan.04 - note: the following manifesto has not been signed by the noborder network.

Facing the development of Fortress Europe which denies the most fundamental rights of immigrant and refugee people (housing, healthcare, financial support, paid work, education, citizenship, freedom of movement and of settlement…), it has become essential to bring together the struggles of people who have no rights. Everywhere in Europe, victims of repressive European legislation are fighting for their basic rights and survival. The perspective of a network crossing national borders aims to create a collective, autonomous, mutual accountable force, led by the protagonists themselves, and capable of responding to the increased economic and political attacks in Europe that governments are promoting.

The following text is the result of a series of meetings of various European collectives of Sans-Papiers, refugees and migrant people and supporters: first at the NoBorder Camp in Strasbourg in July 2002, then in Leiden (Peoples Global Action), Berlin (Caravan tour), Brussels, Florence (ESF 2002), and London (2003). This was continued by all organisations that attended the recent ESF in Paris-Saint-Denis. This document aims, among other things, to serve as a common platform to mobilise for the European Day of Action on 31 January 2004 agreed at the Forum.

Women, men and children Sans-Papiers, refugees and migrants are only the visible tip of the pauperisation and casualisation iceberg, which then extends to all other workers, and our communities.

In industrialised countries, Sans-Papiers (immigrants with no papers) are the first victims of neo-liberal capitalism to progressively globalise pauperisation and drive down living conditions everywhere.

As a result of the political, economic and military exploitation that governments and corporate interests of industrialised countries impose on our countries of origin, with the complicity of some corrupt governments, thousands of women, men and children are forced to migrate. Those of us who leave home for Europe are then forced into the most desperate circumstances, the most exploited working conditions and wages, racist and sexist violence, homelessness.

Consequently, Sans-Papiers, migrants and refugees are at the heart of the political struggle against the capitalist globalisation and for the construction of a society that respects rights, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human’s Rights, starting with the right to life. As the primary carers whose work sustains families and communities, women are often on the forefront of the struggle.

We, women, men and children who are Sans-Papiers, immigrants and refugees as well as all those concerned with human rights, are determined to strengthen and enlarge the global long term struggle against repression, detention centres, exploitation, sexism, racism and all other discrimination, violence and slavery. The development of coordinated campaigns such as the European Day of Action, on the 31st of January 2004,constitutes a crucial step towards this aim.

At the European level, we demand:

- Freedom of movement and settlement.
- Immediate closure of all detention camps in all European countries.
- An end to all deportations.
- The right to citizenship and permanent residency for all, in all European countries, including equal access to social, economic, cultural and political rights for all.
- Implementation of a real right to asylum, including official recognition of rape and other forms of sexual violence as persecution and therefore grounds for asylum.
- An end to exploitation and neo-slavery, and the right to work based on the same entitlements as the workers in the country where we settle.
- Unconditional regularisation (right to stay) for all Sans-Papiers.
- For children; the right to live with their family in the community, receive free schooling and health care and to end deportations of unaccompanied children and young people.

The signatories: Belgium (Ambassade Universelle, Collectif anti-expulsions…) France (Droits devant!!, Confédération Paysanne, DAL, AC!, Vamos,…) Germany (Kein Mensch Ist Illegal Hanau, Kein Mensch Ist Illegal Goettingen, The Voice, The Caravan …) Italie (Confédératione Cobas, Tavolo Migranti,…) Spain (Xarxa de Mobilitzacio Global, Federacio de Col’lectius d’Immigrantes a Catalunya, Papers per Tothom, Mujeres cuenten…) Switzerland (Coordination National des Sans-Papiers, Mouvement des Sans-Papiers,…) United Kingdom (No One Is Illegal UK, Barbed Wire Britain, Kent Campaign to Defend Asylum Seekers, Crossroads Coalitions…)