nooneisillegal | 21.10.2002 16:07
The humanitarian red cross camp at Sangatte will stop admitting people on November 15th and is due to be closed between December 02 and March 03. The International Organisation of Migration (IOM) used to have staff at the red cross camp to encourage refugees to voluntarily repatriate themselves and give up all their rights in the process. It has now handed over to another organisation. According to IOM) Paris, the first transport to Afghanistan is leaving this week.
The demo coincides with the anniversary of the EU migration summit in Tampere 1999, where the border regimes around fortress Europe were tightened. The European noborder network, which emerged from the protests against this summit, has launched a campaign against the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) in this years European noborder action week from October 12th to 19th. Our plan was to visit the IOM in Sangatte.
A group of aliens arrived in a massive bus, and asked to be admitted. The police line refused to let them in, so they made their way back through the crowd, exchanging some interplanetary hugs, then tried to thumb a lift. As no car stopped, they sadly boarded their bus and left.
Neither were we allowed to enter the camp. But hundreds of refugees joined us in front of the camp, mainly young men from Irak and Afghanistan. If they leave the robo-cop-policed camp, they have to give their fingerprints, as well as on their way back. They were very interested in the IOM newsletter and our info-leaflets - in the camp is no radio, no newspapers, only two hours TV without sound and evidently no internet. They only know rumours about the closure of Sangatte and what will happen to those who are already there.
Most people were willing to tell their stories to the indymedia radio crew and the present mainstream reporters. One guy from Afghanistan has lost both parents, three little brothers and sisters are somewhere in Pakistan. He said he is here not to improve his situation, but to save his life. Another man said that he fears for his life if he has to go back to Irak.
Every day, many go towards the ferry or the Eurotunnel, trying to cross the channel clinging to trains or hiding in vans. If they don't manage, they go back the next day. "See you in London" was the greeting we got when we had to leave.
We were so busy talking to the people from Sangatte that we didn't manage to talk to the French activists - but hope to meet up again.
For Londoners interested in the IOM: The London noborder group will show a video on migration management on Tuesday, November 12th, at LARC, 7.30pm.