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United for Intercultural Action

UNITED Tel.: 0031/20/6834778
Fax: 0031/20/6834582 e-mail: united@united.non-profit.nl
Postanschrift : Postbus 4131000 AK Amsterdam Netherlands

United for Intercultural Action

Open Letter to the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Lisbon

At the moment United for Intercultural Action is holding a conference in Lisbon with the title Resisting Violence Against Minorities (see Público July 3, 2000). 76 dedicated persons from 26 European countries have come together as representatives of 68 organisations in order to discuss ways of acting against the numerous racist and fascist assaults as well as against state discrimination. A third of the participants are refugees and migrants. One of our fellow activists and colleagues Harald Glöde was arrested on December 19, 1999, following the order of the Federal Prosecution. We have come to the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to declare that solidarity with refugees and migrants is not a crime. The anti-racist activities and actions of solidarity with refugees which Harald Glöde and other arrested people have been accused of are not a matter of court. The restrictions of freedom of migration, the drawing of new borders and the construction of Fortress Europe have led to many different protests, actions and forms of resistence. The present incriminations in the Federal Republic of Germany will neither intimidate us nor anybody else. We have brought the topic of these arrests to the UNITED network containing more than 500 associations.

One of the topics of discussion at the present conference is the Schengen policy. People from Eastern and Southern Europe who wanted to attend this conference are always confronted with huge and often absurd difficulties when trying to get a visa. It is especially the fatal consequences of Fortress Europe which form the topic of our conference in their humane and political dimensions. UNITED has documented since 1993 that 2063 people died trying to get to Western Europe, or when chased, arrested or deported by the police. The most recent tragedy we mourn is the death of 58 people on their way via Dover to Great Britain on July 19, 2000.

The government of the Federal Republic of Germany has not only along with the French government- played a prominent part in the development of the Schengen Agreement, but is today still one of the most important motors of the machinery for deporting refugees and incriminating people. UNITED has been for years, along with the Berliner Forschungsgesellschaft für Flucht und Migration (FFM), with ist activist Harald Glöde and with other NGOs raising awareness to and protested against this state policy of denying rights and to the systematic violation of human rights concerning refugees and migrants. On the initiative of the Federal Prosecution Harald Glöde (FFM) and others were arrested on December 19, 1999, and the period of time following. Since then the arrested persons have been in different prisons without accusation and under especially hard and poor conditions. The reason for arrest was the accusation uttered by a so-called witness of the State. They are accused of membership in the Revulutionary Cells as well as the Red Zora and participation in anti-racist actions showing solidarity with refugees in the years 1986/87 which have expired mostly.

For the death of much more than 2063 people who died on their flight to Europe due to the Schengen border policy, somebody have to take the responsabilities, in the future.

We are now here in the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany whose foreign minister once used to be himself in militant opposition against the repressive model of Germany . We neither expect the former militant of Frankfurt Josef Fischer to remember his past nor do we fear the hatred of this upcomer.

We will forward your answer to the participants of our conference and to the press.

We demand release of Harald Glöde and the others who have been arrested in this context. Solidarity is no a crime!

Geert Ates director of UNITED in the name of the Congress