Political strategies

March to Brussels calls for strengthening strategies to change migration policies in favor of HRDs

The March to Brussels ended with a call for the strengthening of a strategy and a change in the balance of power allowing a different migration policy based on respect for human rights.

Several hundred people took part in a protest action in front of the European Parliament to demand respect for international human rights law at borders and the administrative regularization of people living and working in Europe, while organizing a People’s Summit on the migration.

The events, organized by 23 organizations from different European countries and supported by more than 150 organisations, began on Thursday with a meeting between a delegation from the March for Brussels and a group of MEPs from the Migration Committee. During the meeting, Jalila Taamallah, a Tunisian mother of two children who died on their journey to Europe, denounced a trade in which countries of origin charge for the return of people, while families are obliged to pay for the repatriation of their relatives. who died in transit. For his part, Hassane Boukar from Niger asked whether we wondered what the price is of putting up obstacles to reduce the transit of migrants, and Leandro Navarro, from No Name Kitchen, denounced the systematic use of violence at borders with complete impunity, which constitutes a danger for people in transit and for society as a whole. Sophie Duval of CCFD-Terre Solidaire concluded that it was time to put an end to the violence financed by pacts with the European Union.

While the rally was taking place, around 100 participants in the March to Brussels went to the Vottem Center for the internment of foreigners to organize a protest rally in support of detainees and groups who have been fighting for nearly 25 years to closing the center. A thousand people per year pass through this CIE, two-thirds of whom are expelled. There are six similar centers in the territory and the government plans to open three more.

“They are the symbol of fortress Europe and show that far-right ideology is spreading in the parties that were once at the center,” said a spokeswoman, while noting that 60% of asylum seekers are rejected, that all those who rebel or disagree are locked up in solitary confinement cells and that there are many people on the edge of the abyss, there are many suicide attempts and suicides.

“There is now a young Cameroonian who has been on hunger strike for seven days.”

The detention center resistance collective goes there every Saturday and carries a ladder to try to communicate with the detainees, providing them with a contact, cell phone recharges, etc. numerous struggles, with demonstrations and occupations of buildings, and the participation of undocumented migrants in the social and associative life of Liège, despite the difficulties of access to health cards, housing, employment or training. “We had a regularization in 2000, in 2009 and since then nothing. We want permanent regularization, not a one-time event.” Their strategy is to try to bring together as many associations as possible, such as trade unions, and to obtain the support of the public authorities.

“This is how we succeeded in having Liège considered as a host municipality and even in getting the municipality to make buildings available. Sandrine from La Voix des sans papiers denounced the condemnation to informal work, which leads to exploitation and violence. “

It’s all like a chain of slavery. Some people agree to have sex in order to have housing. That’s why we fight for our rights. There is no clear criterion for regularization here. There are criteria for asylum, but for regularization, you don’t know what the criteria are. We can’t go forward and we can’t go back. Our lives are cut short. This is why we are in this struggle. There are 150,000 undocumented migrants in Belgium who can contribute to the country’s economy if there is regularization. Now only the bosses benefit from it and there is exploitation, you work 14 or 15 hours for 30 euros a day, without knowing if you will be paid. Undocumented workers are union members without paying dues.

On Friday, a meeting was held between the groups participating in the March to Brussels, where groups of undocumented workers in Brussels reported on their struggle and the hard hunger strike, which they carried out for two months l last year, in which they denounced that the agreement reached with the government was not respected and they continue their fight for a bill, while defending the need for a European march to recognize the workers illegal immigrant.

“The government has set up an office called the neutral zone to introduce the files of comrades. People thought it would solve their papers. But we don’t like the word neutral zone, it’s not a war. It is a fight for fundamental rights. We started the occupation of a bank with two objectives: to denounce that the cause of the problem is the world economic system and to denounce the political system in Belgium which exploits us. This is called the “In My Name” campaign.

For her part, Fernanda from the Movement for the Regularization of the Spanish State reported on the campaign to collect 500,000 signatures to promote a popular legislative initiative, of which 400,000 have already been obtained, and the importance of achieving administrative regularization of the 500,000 people who live in the Spanish State, a third of them in the host town halls, and that the town halls should even make buildings available to them.

Friday afternoon, the plenary of the People’s Summit on migration began, where at least 250 people participated during the two days of the Summit, with simultaneous workshops on 6 themes: subcontracting and border companies; dynamics of welcome and local and networked solidarity; criminalization of migration and solidarity; neocolonialism, crisis and migration; the struggle for regularization and access to rights; and documentation, memory and justice in relation to border violence. The workshops shared anti-racist, anti-colonial and feminist struggles. During the weekend, the participants also had the opportunity to take part in various activities such as a meeting of the World March of Women, visits to houses occupied by undocumented migrants, a visit to the hall of the neighborhood European Union to find out about the EU’s involvement in arms trafficking, a visit to colonial memory and the fight against discrimination, and a visit to the Beguinage church where people who participated in last year’s hunger strike. The summit concluded with a call for solidarity, for the convergence of social movements and for the strengthening of a strategy against governments that encourage xenophobia in order to change the balance of power and make possible another migration policy in favor human rights. “Because what we let happen at the borders will determine what happens in the rest of the world. Borders are a space of struggle, resistance and building alliances. Without struggle and struggles that intersect and connect, there will be no rights, so we will move forward to build lives worth living, because our lives are at stake.