Per la libertà di movimento, per i diritti di cittadinanza

«Papers and freedom of movement»: the struggle arrives in front of the European Parliament

In Brussels on the streets for rights and social justice


Traduzione: Giovanni Marenda

A multitudinous chorus of voices by language and origin took over the microphone at the sit-in at Place de Luxembourg in Brussels, in the square in front of the European Parliament, to denounce the incessant border deaths, systemic racism, and violence that migrant people suffer from European Union policies.

Solidarité avec les sans-papiers,” “No están muertos, están asesinados,” and “Ninguna persona es illegal” the slogans that, along with beating drums, punctuated the collective action promoted by the organizations that worked together on the path and appeal of “Rights! No Deaths!“, which was joined by numerous organizations from Belgium, Spain, France and Italy.

At the meetings held over the two days representatives of associations from different African countries such as Niger, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, and Cameroon were present.

An articulate sequence of speeches illustrated what and how many death policies the European Union is pursuing, not forgetting to denounce the neo-colonial appetites of Europe and its member states, and the complexity of the underlying causes of migration.

More than 28,000 people have lost their lives since 2014 while trying to reach or cross Europe, 49,000 since 1993. These disappearances at sea or in the mountains, in the desert and on the roads, are unbearable. For those who manage to cross these borders, more barriers are erected every day: because they do not have the right documents, they are discriminated against and prevented from accessing a dignified life. How many tragedies, how many shipwrecks in the English Channel, the Mediterranean or cemeteries on icy paths in the Alps or the Pyrenees will it take for this inhumane and absurd policy to cease?

But alongside the anger at what is happening on a daily basis, at the carnage of deaths, at the exploitation and oppression of this system, there is also a great desire to continue to fight for the right to legal residence, to radically change policies that invest billions in a repressive and lethal agency like Frontex, in the construction of expulsion detention centers and to finance agreements with African governments (the one between Italy and Libya was cited as exemplary) for the purpose of imprisoning and blocking the free movement of people.

A sign of hope in a present where the far right is advancing and reformist parties are a part of the problem, clearly indicating how transnational solidarity movements and networks must work with common goals – listening to the plurality of racialized subjects and those realities that share the need and urgency of a transformative process of policies and society.

We are not here to ask for charity and we will not stop, we want rights and social justice, we want generalized regularization,” repeat the sans-papiers, the men and women who know what it means to fight every day for their recognition without ever losing their dignity.

Saturday ended in the evening with the plenary assembly of the “Summit of the Peoples” and the report of the 6 workshops (Externalization of Borders; Reception and Local Solidarity; Criminalization of Migration and Solidarity; Neocolonialism, Crisis and Migration; Struggle for Regularization and Access to Social Rights; Documentation, Memory and Justice around Border Violence) that took place in the morning at the Maison des Associations Internationales.

We will publish translations of the reports in the coming days.