Amnesty International demonstrates against the dying of refugees on Europe`s doorstep: “I am also incredibly sad that we are only 70. Where are the hundreds of thousands of Europeans to demonstrate against these atrocities committed by our governments?”

People are dying on Europe’s doorstep. What are we doing about it?

In 2011, up to 1,000 migrants arrived on the small Italian island of Lampedusa every night. © UNHCR/F. Noy





By Dr. Nicolas J. Beger, Director, European Institutions Office, Amnesty International

The heat in Lampedusa, a small island at Italy’s most southern frontier, is scorching. What chance would my own 3-year-old son have had to survive in this heat if he was stranded on the shore, on a boat with no water, no food, no fuel? Would he have survived for three days? Maybe four?

Hundreds of migrants, including children, have died this way. Lampedusa’s ship cemetery is a striking reminder of their deaths. On each of these boats hundreds of people lived, hoped and died.

I cannot fathom the suffering and horror of the torture in Libyan prisons that make parents take this risk of such a horrible death for themselves and their children.

In 2011, the 6,000 inhabitants of Lampedusa saw up to 1,000 migrants arriving on their island every night.

And this on an island which lacks freshwater supplies and must import drinking water as well as all food and medication. How did they manage the influx of migrants? The Catholic priest who led the local efforts says he does not know precisely how, just that all helped however they could.

For its part the Italian government, instead of immediately helping Lampedusans, was busy convincing the EU that this was a major invasion and they wanted EU emergency funding.

But the answer from Brussels was no. And rightly so. The EU emergency fund kicks in when several hundred thousand people arrive, not when only half a football stadium comes. Yes, it was a crisis for this tiny island, but it was a blip on the screen for Italy as a whole and a non-event for Europe.

This year, Italy has been busy signing another agreement with Libya. And the EU was busy spending billions of Euros to prevent people from coming and to reform its Schengen agreement to curtail freedom of movement – one of its proudest achievements.

The message to EU citizens was clear: even if you lose the biggest benefit of the Union, which is the ability to move freely, we are doing all we can to keep those people away.

Last week, 54 people died of thirst after becoming stranded on a boat. Last year, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, some 1,500 have died despite the fact that the Mediterranean Sea was the busiest ever with the NATO intervention in Libya.

As we are gathering in the Amnesty migration camp on Lampedusa with 70 activists from 20 countries, including Tunisia, Morocco and Israel, I feel proud to work for Amnesty and proud that my team together with Amnesty International Italy made this possible.

At the same time I am also incredibly sad that we are only 70. Where are the hundreds of thousands of Europeans to demonstrate against these atrocities committed by our governments?

Why is our memory so short?  Why did we forget the recent times when Europeans had to flee war, torture and hunger? People are dying on our doorstep. Will we go and help or just continue to finance the efforts to push them back?

Read more:
Dying on Europe’s doorstep: EU should focus on saving migrants’ lives (Press release, 19 July 2012)
When you don’t exist (Special web feature)
Refugees and migrants (Thematic page)


About ottwf

The capitalistic and imperialistic system and its systematic aims: profit and power over others, still dominates our world and not the aims of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as 1948 agreed! After the world-economic-crisis after 1929 and the following World-War the world hat decided with agreeing the Universal Declaration of Human rights, to create a new world order; conflicts should be solved with peaceful means, not nations and their power, but the dignity of human beings around the world should be the aim of the policies and the economy, of every state and the community of states. But soon after the end of the war, when the victims and destruction were forgotten, all continued as before, with all risks, we had seen before. The split in rich an poor is getting bigger and bigger. We also overuse our global environment already, even if the big majority of mankind still lives in poverty! We are not victims, this world is men-made and be changed from men and women! It will be possible, if those, who do not want or serve (because of system-pressure) profits first, but want for themselves and everybody a life in human dignity unite and develop in a global base-democratic movement a common vision for our world, and learn, how to make this vision real. We need for it a big empowerment of many, many common men and women and their activities. Our chances are because of new communication technologies, of common languages, of the level of education and the mixture of people from different backgrounds better then ever. The occupy-movement is a good start for such a global movement. We support it and try to contribute to its success! We choose news and make comments and so try to unite people for an Occupy-Think-Tank: Its tasks: creating a news-network, self-education, working on global-reform programs and learning to organize projects for those, who are suffering. Join us, so that we can build teams for these aims for all subjects and countries as a base for the unification. We have Wan(n)Fried(en) in our name, because it means When peace and it is a modification of the name of the town our base is, in Wanfried, a small town in the middle of Germany, where we can use a former factory for our activities. Our telefon: 0049-5655-924981, mobil: 0171-9132149, email:
This entry was posted in occupy Africa, Occupy Asylum, occupy democracy for the 99 percent, occupy equal rights for everybody, no discrimination anymore, occupy Europe, occupy human rights for all worldwide, Occupy Middle east and North Africa. Bookmark the permalink.

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