This was an extraordinary day. The jury were very moved by the presentations. This is the short version, the dry bones – the flesh is missing. We want to add descriptions of some of the cases presented during the day. A second point is that we see asylum seekers and migrants as actors and social forces, not just as victims, says Saskia Sassen, professor at Columbia University, USA.
1. We condemn European governments for violating foundational norms, such as human rights, equal moral worth of all human beings regardless of status, value of residence on the territory, the whole series of norms, which go beyond existing law.
2. We also condemn European governments for violating existing law on how governments should handle asylum seekers, detention and irregular migration.
3. We call for the removal of restrictive practises which prevent asylum seekers and refugees from reaching the territory of Europe.
4. There are alternatives to the existing asylum and refugee regime that have already been advanced by civil society organizations, human rights organisations and refugees themselves, and these alternatives should be considered by European governments.
5. There are weak components in existing practice. Many of these have to do with privatisation of functions that were once government responsibilities. These are very concrete moments in the process which can be changed by governments right now, thereby reducing abusive practices. Examples are the privatising of border control and the increasing tendency to privatize the running of detention centres.
6. Europe’s vibrant civil society, constituted in good part by immigrant struggles for justice, should be a critical Europe-wide force for addressing these abuses. What we are confronting in the realm of government handling of asylum and irregular migration is too important to leave to governments and to the private firms they hire to do some of the work.
Tribunal 12 took place on May 12th at Kulturhuset in Stockholm, and through live broadcasts on the website. Screenings and activities also took place at events around Europe. The day included a total of four sessions dealing with Border controll, Asylum process, Undocumented migrants and Detention & deportation. The tribunal ended with the jury's deliberation and verdict.
The co-organisers behind Tribunal 12 were Shahrazad – Stories for Life, Kulturhuset in Stockholm and The Swedish Forum for Human Rights. ICORN was among the partners supporting the project.
Photo: Shahrazad - stories for life