Event: SOS Europe: European Parliament must stand up for migrants

SOS EUROPE: European Parliament must stand up for migrants

Date: 24 April, 2013
Time: 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Place: Outside European Parliament, Place du Luxembourg, Brussels
Join us to witness the triumphant arrival of our 'migrant boat' on the shores of the European Parliament!  We'll be delivering Amnesty International’s SOS Europe petition which contains over 50,000 signatures. These thousands of ordinary people are urging Members of the European Parliament to do their duty as watchdog and hold governments and institutions to account for how they treat the migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers who arrive at EU frontiers.
Over recent decades, European countries have increasingly focused their energies on preventing people from reaching Europe through policies that endanger people arriving here. There is little transparency or oversight, and human rights abuses often go unpunished along Europe’s coasts and borders.
As it sails through the streets of Brussels, our boat will represent all the migrants, refugees and activists from across Europe who are demanding greater transparency and accountability at Europe’s borders.
SOS Europe actions will take place in eight countries across Europe.
11.30   Boat leaves Place du Luxembourg, travels down rue de Trèves, up rue Montoyer, along rue de la Science and down rue du Luxembourg 
12.15   Boat arrives in front of European Parliament
12.30   Screening of Message in a bottle video
12.35   Presentation of petition to European Parliament delegation
12.40   Speeches by
·         Nicolas Beger, Director Amnesty International European Institutions Office
·         Juan Fernando Lopéz Aguilar MEP, Chair of the LIBE Committee          
·         AM, migrant from Somalia, made the journey to Europe
Irem Arf, Amnesty International’s migration researcher, recently back from a mission to the Greece – Turkey border, will be available for interview, as will those listed above.
For more information, and to arrange interviews, please contact:
Peter Clarke 
Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office, Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (0) 2 548 2773                      
Every year, thousands of people embark on dangerous journeys on unseaworthy vessels in an attempt to reach Europe. Many never make it. Last month six Syrians drowned when their boat got into difficulties in the Aegean between Turkey and Greece. Among them was a pregnant 17-year-old and a mother with her child. In December last year a boat capsized and 27 refugees, mostly Afghans, drowned close to shore at Lesbos. Only a 16-year-old boy survived.
Over the last decade European countries have increasingly focused on excluding people by resorting to policies and practices that force migrants to take dangerous routes to Europe, sometimes with fatal consequences. European countries have stepped up border control measures through interception, push-back and diversion practices in an attempt to prevent people setting foot on EU soil. These migration control measures don’t always comply with human rights obligations.
European countries and the European Union should not engage in border management practices that put migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees at risk. Agreements and operations need to be reviewed and their human rights impact assessed. If European countries commit any human rights violations, they must be held accountable.
For more info see: whenyoudontexist.eu
Image caption: People fleeing Libya by sea in 2011. Copyright: UNHCR/F. Noy