[NetBehaviour] noborder camp ukraine.

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Mon Jul 23 15:27:01 CEST 2007

Call out for No Border Camp in Ukraine 2007

The camp will take place from the 11th to the 20th of August 2007 in
the main region of transit and labor migration in Ukraine,
Transcarpathia. The eastward expansion of the European Union has
resulted in moving the walls of "Fortress Europe" to the Western
border of Ukraine. The Ukrainian region of Transcarpatia, of which the
biggest cities are Uzhgorod and Mukachevo, has become a new
borderline, with increasing militarization and major concentration of
detention camps for refugees from the countries of Global South and
former USSR, who try to escape war, totalitarianism or misery to the
European Union countries. It is hard to find any "open" information
about the conditions in the majority of these camps. The condition of
the refugees in Ukraine is very unstable: freedom of movement is
restricted; it is hard to get a job or medical care, and no social
security is provided. When one gets refugee status, the only support
they get from the state is a single payment of a petty 3 euros. In
recent years Ukraine has even extradited asylum seekers to places like
Uzbekistan, where they were imprisoned for years in the notorious
authoritarian regime's gulags. The increase of border controls makes a
big impact on lives of local people in the depressed region of
Transcarpathia. The region is situated on the intersection of borders
of five countries: Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Romania.
Four of them are now in the European Union, but Ukraine will not be
its member in the near future. So "Fortress Europe" strengthens its
Eastern frontiers on the borderline of Western Ukraine. Still, up to
half of the working population of Transcarpathia works abroad. Ukraine
cancelled the visa regime for EU nationals, but the EU has not made
the access of Ukrainians to the European labor market (or even
European countries' territory) any easier, although it would be hard
to imagine for example agriculture in the EU today without Ukrainian
guest workers. At the same time, Transcarpathia has been for a long
time a very special region with its unique blend of local cultures and
traditions, and now it turned out to be one of the main routes for
international migration. Therefore, local border guards, security
services and media, using xenophobic language, help to spread
prejudices towards migrants among local population, which resulted in
rising tensions in the region. We demand the right of free movement
for everyone, asylum for all the persecuted people and the right of
people to migrate from depressed areas to work in other countries, if
it can make their lives better. We demand abolishing all visa regimes.
We want to tear down "Fortress Europe" contemporary border regime,
which has lead to the state-sanctioned murder of thousands of people
in its borders during recent years. The "Global Apartheid" policy
should be stopped! We continue the tradition of No Border camps on
Eastern borders of the Fortress Europe, which were organized 1998-2000
on the border of Germany and Poland, in 2000-2003 on the Eastern
border of Poland, in 2001 in Slovenia, in 2003 in Romania, in 2003 and
2005 on the border between Greece and Bulgaria and in Finland in 2004.
The camps have also been organized on the Southern borders of Europe
(on Sicily 2000 and on Tarifa of Spain 2001), inside Europe at
airports and main sites of European surveillance and decision-making
system (such as in Strasbourg 2002), on the border between Mexico and
USA and in Australia. This year our international movement makes a
major step forward, as the camp in Ukraine will be first ever
organized on the territory of the former Soviet Union. Some of the
aims of this camp are: 1) To create a ground for communication between
activists from Eastern and Western Europe and from everywhere else:
meeting, establishing contacts, sharing skills, knowledge and
experience, etc. (workshops, discussions, practical trainings,
concerts and much more). 2) To attract the attention of the people in
Ukraine (but also in Russia and in the world) to the racist policy on
migration; to address the questions of contemporary forms of racism
and xenophobia. 3) To create contact with local people in the region
of Transcarpathia: anti-racist education, open public events, film
screenings, exhibitions, concerts and discussions, with an aim to
improve local people's attitude towards migrants, refugees and asylum
seekers. 4) To exchange information between us: how the authorities in
different countries criminalize migration, what are the situations
with deportation prisons, and to share the experiences of resistance
in different countries. One of the practical results of the camp is
going to be the publication of a brochure with the information from
different countries on all these issues to reinforce our struggle
(call-out with approximate questions is coming!). 5) To get more
people from different anti-authoritarian collectives and movements in
Ukraine, Russia and other 'post-soviet' countries involved with the
migration-related issues; mobilize people for struggle against racism,
criminalization of migration and deportation camps system. We will
discuss the possible ways and perhaps we will do some actions (but not
in the very region of camp; it has been advised by everybody who's in
touch with the region that any confrontational actions done by
activists from "outside" on such a sensitive issue could make the
situation worse, not better). So first of all it will not be an action
camp but a camp for communication, networking, planning and popular
education. Another event that is going to take place in the camp is an
International Food Not Bombs gathering. There is an explosion of Food
Not Bombs activities in Eastern Europe. In Russia alone there are
about 50 groups that are regularly doing actions. We already started
to form a program of workshops, discussions, practical trainings etc.
But we prefer the program of the camp to be formed by the people who
will come there. So if you've got something to share or contribute -
please let us know now! It can be any topic you are interested in, not
only the main topic of the camp. Please take into account that Ukraine
has cancelled the visa regime for the citizens of the European Union,
the USA and some other countries, so if you have a passport of some
Western country you probably do not need any visa to join us. Feel
free to spread this call-out through your contacts. More information
and contact: noborder2007 at riseup.net

More information about the NetBehaviour mailing list