February 2, 2011

Petition Signatures against the wall of shame in Evros

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The recent announcement by the Ministry for the Protection of the Citizen about the planned erection of a wall at the Evros borderline, with the purpose of preventing the irregular entry of migrants and refugees into Greece from Turkey, is well known to all of us.

This radical move of political expediency comes in continuation of the inhuman European policies, which the Greek State follows upon the recommendations of powerful EU Member States like Germany. First, by agreeing to the Dublin II Regulation, the Greek Government agreed to the Community's legal structure to find a way for EU Member States to discharge their international committments through the back door. In addition, by participating in this game of shifting problems beyond and outside the “democratic territory” of the European Union, it literally took on the role of becoming the borderguard of EU policies.
We perceive the announcement about the erection of the wall as an expression of totalitarian contempt for human rights and for international law on the protection of refugees, as well as a crude expression of institutional racism, which comes in continuation of the anti-democratic policies that the Government has adopted in order to crack down on any internal opposition.

Notwithstanding the Minister's eagerness to reassure us that “real refugees” will be protected, we take it for granted that the wall will constitute a denial of protection to the refugees who reach our borders, in violation of any definition of protection of fundamental human rights. Everybody understands that it is an obstruction wall for those chased from their homes due to war and general violence in Afghanistan, Somalia and every corner of the earth, for those persecuted by the authoritarian regimes of Iran, for the desperate Palestinians from Gaza and the poverty-striken refugees from Asia and Africa.

The wall will not impede desperate people from the East and from Africa from undertaking the journey to the West. For most of them this journey is not a choice, but the only way to survive. The figures speak for themselves: over the last three years alone, more than 300 people were found dead at the land and maritime borders of our country with Turkey; likewise more than 5,000 people have died in their effort to cross the wall which “protects” the US from Mexican migrants.

The Evros wall is a choice to violate human rights.
At the same time, the wall is both morally and politically unacceptable.

As lawyers and as politically active citizens of this country, we refuse to consent to the erection of a wall between supposedly prosperous societies and the desperate people of the “Third World”.

We refuse to consent to the building of a “Europe – Fortress”. We fight for a world of liberty, of solidarity and of equality. For a world where walls of all kind have no place.


Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees