Tuesday, 21 April 2015
Around 400 people responded to a call from various associations for unregistered people, and assembled in front of the European Parliament in Brussels. They were calling for a change in the European immigration policy, following another shipwreck in the Mediterranean early on Sunday. More than 700 immigrants died. A thousand black ribbons were tied to a white flag in tribute to the victims. Demonstrators also wore white masks. They called on the European Foreign Affairs ministers to reinforce life-boat resources on European coastlines and put in place an immigration policy that encourages solidarity, rather than fear and repression. The Foreign Affairs ministers had an emergency meeting in Luxemburg on Monday. “Europe’s tears are crocodile tears”, says John Mbulula, Asylum and Immigration coordinator for MRAX (Movement against Racism, Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia). “There is no point in Europe shedding a single tear if it doesn’t change its immigration policy”.
Several associations and European MPs supported the demonstration. “These repeated shipwrecks are making people feel more and more indignant”, says Dimienne Martin, a member of Ciré (Coordination and Initiatives for Refugees and Foreigners). “Those who died at sea died due to an extremely restrictive entrance policy. Europe has the choice whether or not to use the money given to the Agency for Control of Member States exterior borders (Frontex) to save lives. It also needs to change Dublin – the European rule that makes the State from which an immigrant entered Europe responsible for their asylum request. It currently means that immigration mainly hits the southern European countries. These countries have suffered the most due to the economic crisis. But, above all, Europe needs to open up the legal access routes that can handle immigration”.
The demonstrators said that the right to leave your country is written into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.