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Statement by front-line volunteers and activists: Refugees Welcome!

We, the front-line volunteers and activists, who for years now have been stepping in and picking up the slack in lieu of governments, the UN and other international organizations when it comes to the alleviation of the situation in which hundreds and thousands of people along the Balkan route find themselves in, are decisively and unequivocally raising our voices against the inhuman treatment of our fellow human beings that is taking place along the Balkan route — and beyond.

Originally published by Are You Syrious. Image above by Abdulazez Dukhan. “Sometimes you choose a way without knowing where it drives you. You choose it because it is the only way you have.”

Statement by front-line volunteers and activists: Refugees Welcome!

We, the front-line volunteers and activists, who for years now have been stepping in and picking up the slack in lieu of governments, the UN and other international organizations when it comes to the alleviation of the situation in which hundreds and thousands of people along the Balkan route find themselves in, are decisively and unequivocally raising our voices against the inhuman treatment of our fellow human beings that is taking place along the Balkan route — and beyond.

It is the obligation of the governments of our countries, the UN and other responsible organizations to ensure safe and legal passage for every person who is driven to leave their home for reasons of war, instability, environmental degradation, or economic oppression; to ensure every person’s right to legally seek asylum; and for those who today find themselves on the dangerous route, to be provided with adequate, humane and efficient aid.

We call upon our fellow citizens to join us in our efforts to demand that these obligations be respected.

Let us remind ourselves that it is the involvement of European elites in colonisation, imperialism and waging today’s wars across the world that has brought on the destruction of lives, homes, livelihoods and entire societal structures for the benefits of the few. It is by the decision of political elites today’s borders are shutting down. They build fences, put on razor wires, they bring heavy weapons and arms to our borders, they dehumanize the refugees and they co-opt us into fascism and racism. They sign shameful agreements with Turkey, Libya and Niger, putting millions of people in great danger, pushing them into slavery and robbing them of their right to life — and they claim it is on our behalf. What they are doing is stripping our societies of solidarity with our fellow human beings!

People, children, are dying — at sea, in rivers, in woods, on streets and borders, due to cold, police brutality, untreated diseases, or simply from exhaustion. Often their deaths are direct consequences of illegal and violent push-backs that are happening along our borders every day and every night — and still no one has been held responsible for them.

This is unacceptable! This is inhumane!

The countries along the route, and further, cannot use lack of resources as an excuse for this disgraceful and inhumane treatment of people in need. They cannot trade the lives of refugees entering the EU or Schengen border zone, for simply accessing more European funds. The EU is waging a war against refugees through the militarization and fortification of its borders. Countries in the Balkans, who are not yet part of the EU, are now the new frontline of this EU war against refugees, which can be clearly read in the new EU Strategy for the countries of the Balkans.

These governments together with the EU are now accomplices with and participants in police brutality, and they stand responsible for thousands of refugees’ death at sea and at land.

A significant portion of this region suffered immensely during the wars in the nineties. It continues to suffer from the consequences of those wars, and, as such, those from here know first-hand what it means to be forced to leave one’s home, to seek shelter in foreign countries, and how difficult and painful that experience is. When the political elites strip our societies of solidarity, they attempt to strip us of our own experiences of forced displacement and seeking refuge, effectively whitewashing their participation and erasing the pain of millions of us.

Along the Balkan route, activists from around the world, along with the local population, have been providing the aid that is absent from governments and the UN. It is the local population that have fed, kept warm and sheltered these people in need. They have provided them with information and acted as a referral mechanism. They have raised funds. But most importantly, they have showed the refugees going through some of the most difficult periods in their lives, warmth and solidarity!

Thus, we stand united, across borders:

Opposing the militarization and fortification of our borders — we demand safe passage and the right for every person to seek asylum and protection!

Opposing ruthlessness, brutality and inhumanity of repressive state apparatuses — we demand respect and protection of human dignity and we stand united in our belief that no human is illegal and everybody has the right to a decent life!

Opposing the dehumanizing propaganda of fear — we welcome our fellow human beings from across the world; we cherish the experiences they bring with them, and we look forward to sharing our communities with them.

Opposing the antagonism and racism shown towards people in need, we stand united in our belief that it is only through solidarity and decency that we can build societies that are free and equal.

Refugees Welcome!

(You can find translation into Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian/Montenegrin and Italian translation after the list of signatories)

Signed

  1. Are You Syrious?
  2. Center for Peace Studies (CMS)
  3. Action from Switzerland
  4. Sarajevski otvoreni centar SOC
  5. Souls of Sarajevo
  6. Souls of Sarajevo Team Kladuša
  7. Border Crossing Spielfeld Austria
  8. Studenti za izbjeglice, Zagreb
  9. Catch a Smile, Luxembourg
  10. No Name Kitchen, Serbia
  11. Hope Café, Kipseli, Athens
  12. Centar za kulturnu i medijsku dekontaminaciju Sarajevo
  13. EFM RADIO Sarajevo
  14. Centar za mlade “KVART” Prijedor
  15. Glocal Roots, Switzerland
  16. Athens Legal Support Team
  17. Khora Support Denmark
  18. Ospiti in Arrivo
  19. Refugee Info Bus
  20. Inicijativa Dobrošli
  21. YIHR
  22. Info Park Belgrade
  23. Univerza v Ljubljani, Fakulteta za socialno delo, učiteljice in učitelji Katedre za duševno zdravje v skupnosti in Katedre8 za proučevanje družbene pravičnosti in vključevanja
  24. Inicijativa “Jer me se tiče”
  25. Feministički antimilitaristički kolektiv FAK
  26. Front slobode
  27. Radnički univerzitet Tuzla
  28. Škola udruženog rada (Bihać-Kulen Vakuf — Tuzla)
  29. Documenta — Centar za suočavanje s prošlošću
  30. Delovna skupina za azil
  31. Ambasada Rog
  32. Društvo za nenasilno komunikacijo
  33. Association for promotion of women’s action — Tiiiit! Inc. Skopje
  34. HOLDS Foundation, UK
  35. Jedan grad, jedna borba
  36. Tuzlanski otvoreni centar
  37. Omladinska pokret Revolt
  38. Ženska mreža BiH
  39. NVO “Centar za ženska prava”
  40. Intersos
  41. Khora Community Center, Athens
  42. Oštra nula
  43. NoBorders Athens
  44. Društvo Humanitas
  45. Black Lives Matter, Denmark
  46. Lezbično-feministična univerza, Ljubljana
  47. Lungo la Rotta Balcanica — Along the balkan Route, Venice
  48. Udruženje Okvir
  49. Udruženje Centar za promociju mentalnog zdravlja “Smisao”, Tuzla
  50. Удружење грађана “Срце на длану” Бања Лука
  51. CET platforma Tuzla
  52. CEH-Sarajevo
  53. Međunarodni centar za djecu i omladinu “Fortis”
  54. Savez za povratak izbjeglih i raseljenih Bosanske Posavine
  55. Centar za edukaciju i istraživanje Nahla
  56. Međunarodni centar za mir
  57. Građansko udruženje žena “Duvanjke”
  58. Centar za demokratiju i tranzicionu pravdu
  59. TPO Fondacija
  60. Žene ženama
  61. Udruženje ZGRADE
  62. Udruženje za istraživanje i društvene inovacije “ADT”
  63. Udruženje “Žene sa Une”
  64. Centar za istraživanje u politici Argument
  65. Udruženje Orhideja Stolac
  66. Udruženje “Alternative” Kakanj
  67. Planinarsko društvo Glasinac
  68. Centar za sigurnosne studije
  69. Organizacija Glas žene
  70. Odisej Bratunac
  71. Društvo za pomoč in samopomoč brezdomcev Kralji ulice, Slovenija
  72. No border craft, delovna skupina za ženske, Ljubljana
  73. Afkors, anarho-kvir feministični kolektiv, Ljubljana
  74. Let’s Help Together Association (Segítsünk Együtt Egyesület)
  75. Pomozi.ba
  76. Refugee Hotel City Plaza, Athens
  77. Network for migrants and refugees, Greece
  78. Kontrapress, Beograd
  79. Udruženje GREEN ART
  80. Fondacija CURE
  81. Forum građana Zenica
  82. Enough is Enough Collective

You can find translations in Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian/Montenegrin and Italian and can sign the statement here.

(If you would like to sign as a group or organizations, please get in touch with Are You Syrious? If you want to sign this statement go to https://chn.ge/2JfiBYr and send it to your government and the EU leaders)


Next week some of the Enough is Enough team will travel to Bosnia again to report and work together with refugees. If you want to support the work of Cars of Hope and SOS Team Kladuša, you can support the crowdfunding campaign of Cars of Hope and SOS Team Kladuša or donate directly by PayPal, bank transfer, or bitcoins:

Mutual Aid: Support Refugees in Bosnia

Support the work with refugees in Bosnia.

€1,00

Bank transfer:

Bank: Volksbank im Bergischen Land

Name of account holder: Hopetal e.V.

IBAN: DE51 3406 0094 0002 9450 87

BIC: VBRSDE33XXX

Bitcoins:
18WH8NyyDH6xsXztxFkQW1m3xBK2NLQp3d

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