Per la libertà di movimento, per i diritti di cittadinanza

Call to open the borders along the Balkan route countries now!

In these days, along all the ‘Bakan route’ borders (Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia), thousands of refugees desperately trying to reach Fortress Europe are facing new difficulties.
Whilst mainstream media are all focusing on the terrorist alarm, from the 19th of November Macedonian borders are officially sealed off for all those who cannot prove to be Syrians, Afghans or Iraqi.
This decision is evidently violating Geneva Convention’s art.3 which explicitly establishes the principle of non-discrimination (‘The Contracting States shall apply the provisions of this Convention to refugees without discrimination as to race, religion or country of origin.’)

As the media show in the Balkan countries seems to be over, the Balkan governments that have been managing the border crossing for months have simply decided to draw a line between those ‘who have right of asylum’ and those who are arbitrarily defined as ‘economic migrants’ (an increasingly popular definition among European governments).

So far, what is going on in Idomeni suggests that Palestinians, Somali, Eritrean, Iranian and many others are all to be considered as ‘economic migrants as well as those people who can’t prove that they come from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Most international organizations in Idomeni are currently very cautious in defining what is going on (‘people stranded in the borders’, ‘very tense situation’) but it is instead quite clear that we are dealing with a shameful, massive push-back based on ethnic and national discriminations. Moreover, this is coordinated by countries such as Serbia and Macedonia that the EU labels as ‘unsafe’ for asylum seekers and refugees. Stranded in front of the closed borders there are currently those who have been labelled as ‘second class refugees’: families with children, hundreds of people facing cold and rainy weather , hoping – apparently in vain – that the border will soon reopen..
Thus, we express great concern about the following statement released by UNHCR, IOM and UNICEF : “(…) to identify those who are in need of protection, those to be relocated to other European countries, and people who do not qualify for refugee protection and for whom effective and dignified return mechanisms have to be put in place” .The statement implicitly legitimizes discrimination based on ethnic and national origins just introduced by EU and non EU Balkan countries.

We demand the immediate reopening of the borders along the “Balkan route” and the immediate end of this arbitrary and criminal ‘migrants’ selection” that explicitly violates the international and European laws which guarantee the right to claim asylum regardless of the asylum seekers’ nationality.
We demand that the refugees stranded at the Greek-Macedonian border can continue their journey to other European countries and that all Balkan countries stop blocking them along the route.
We recall that the Geneva Convention prohibits the expulsion or the push-back to the borders: “No Contracting State willl expel or reject, in any way, an asylum seeker (refugee) to the borders of territories where his/her life or freedom would be threatened according to his/her race, religion, nationality, belonging to social group or for his/her political opinion” and that UNHCR itself, in a 30th January statement, reiterated the 2008 recommendation about not sending asylum seekers back to Greece.
We urge the international organizations in Idomeni to document the push-bakcs and to pursue immediate legal actions against these massive human rights violations.

Whereas freedom and human rights seem to have been ‘necessarily’ set aside in the name of the “fight against terrorism”, we underline again and again that freedom and human rights are the most effective and enduring tools against terror.

Please sign and share this call to end the massive violations of refugees and asylum seekers’ rights in Idomeni and along the Balkan route!

First signatories

ADIF- Associazione Diritti e Frontiere
Progetto Melting Pot Europa
Garibaldi 101
Ospiti in Arrivo
Campagna LasciateCIEntrare
Tenda per la Pace e Diritti
Rete Solidale Pordenone
Associazione Immigrati Pordenone
Coordinamento Welcome Refugees FVG

Per adesioni: [email protected], [email protected]