News/Europe: Analysis: Fortress Europe: Keeping refugees out

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Subject: News/Europe: Analysis: Fortress Europe: Keeping refugees out
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Nov 03 1999 - 09:55:38 EST


> Here is a good report from An Phoblact on the Trafficking Bill and
> Deportations.
> Mags
>
> *****************************************************************
> Analysis: Fortress Europe: Keeping refugees out By
> Roisin de Rosa
>
> The Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking) Bill, 1999, is
> queuing for time before the Dublin parliament. It is
> the other prong of what many fear to be the Department
> of Justice's approach to the whole question of refugees
> - stop them coming here in the first place.
>
> If the Immigration Bill is to get rid of refugees, the
> Trafficking Bill is to stop them ever being admitted
> here.
>
> The stated purpose of the Bill is, of course, to
> protect asylum-seekers from unscrupulous traffickers,
> who often can hold refugees and their families to
> ransom and impose terrible conditions during
> transportation.
>
> As Vanya Harte of the National Federation of Campaigns
> Against Racism points out though: The experience in
> other European Union states has shown that, far from
> decreasing the extent of trafficking, such laws result
> in traffickers putting immigrants at great risk, even
> to the point of sacrificing lives in an attempt to
> avoid stiffer penalties.
>
> The Bill criminalises the transporters of asylum
> seekers to Ireland, imposing an unlimited fine, jail
> terms of up to 10 years, and/or forfeiture of vehicle
> (ship, truck, aircraft or other vehicle) with its
> equipment.
>
> The offence applies to acts done or omissions made
> outside, as well as inside the 26-County state. The
> Bill applies to illegal immigrant who are defined in
> the Bill as a non-national who seeks to enter, or
> enters the state unlawfully. Even if the immigrant is
> granted refugee status in the final outcome, the person
> who facilitated their entry has still committed an
> offence.
>
> And how can any refugee go about getting travel
> documentation and visas to enter this country legally?
> And how can anyone apply for asylum unless they were
> first to arrive in Ireland?
>
> The Bill, when passed, will certainly ensure that few,
> if any, refugees end up applying for asylum here. No
> airline or ship is likely to allow amongst their
> passengers, people who, once arrived in Ireland, will
> be illegal immigrants, and therefore cause of a
> substantial fine or confiscation of the vehicle and or
> its equipment. The airlines will pursue the practice
> already well established for entry to other countries,
> of checking visa documentation prior to embarkation.
>
> The recent experience of Polish backpackers who were
> detained at Dublin Airport and not allowed to holiday
> in this country is an indication of how far immigration
> authorities at Dublin Airport have gone.
>
> Non-nationals, who are without visas at the point of
> entry - irrespective of whether or not they wish to
> apply for asylum - are already illegal immigrants and
> will not be allowed to 'land' at all. That is the
> design.To stop them ever coming here in the first
> place.
>
> For example, Ekundoyo is a 29-year-old refugee from
> Nigeria who escaped from jail and fled to Ireland. Last
> week, he was given a permit of residence, to the
> delight of all who have met him.
>
> But this only happened as a result of the prompt action
> of the National Federation of Campaigns Against Racism
> and the Nigerian Asylum Association (NAA), who stopped
> his illegal deportation by Irish authorities at the
> eleventh hour by obtaining a court injunction.
> Ekundoyo's appeal was still pending when gardai
> illegally removed him to the airport to put him on a
> plane.
>
> Ekundoyo's first application for asylum was rejected.
> He appealed the decision and was waiting for
> determination. He went to the Department of Justice to
> get his identification card renewed. At the department
> he was taken to a room where two gardai told him that
> his deportation papers had been processed and that he
> was being returned to Belgium. They took him to
> Mountjoy Prison, where he was detained. He contacted
> the NAA.
>
> A report of what happened appeared in several papers.
> One description reads: The police arrived a day before
> his deportation was scheduled and he was brought
> directly to the airport, without even being allowed to
> call by to where he stayed to collect his belongings.
> In protest, Ekundoyo took of his shirt. He was
> handcuffed. When he started to scream, his shirt was
> stuffed in his mouth.He says he was pushed to the
> ground. He was thumped and called a black bastard. He
> was struggling on his way across the tarmac to the
> plane when one of the crew took the initiative, telling
> the police that he would not be allowed onto the plane.
> In response, the four officers involved picked him up
> bodily, carried him forcibly through the airport and
> took him back to Mountjoy.
>
> Many people who work in the airlines might be very
> reluctant to aid or abet deportation of refugees, but
> they may feel unable to act for fear of being in breach
> of contract with their employer. No contract, however,
> requires an employee to perpetrate or aid to
> perpetration of an illegal act.
>
> There is no question that here was an attempted and
> flagrant abuse of the rights of a refugee. Had it not
> been for the swift action of the refugee groups in
> seeking an injunction and the stand of the crew member,
> an entirely illegal deportation would have taken place.
> No one would have known anything about it. Ekundoyo
> himself just another statistic on a shameful list of
> human degradation and abuse. All in aid of maintaining
> a racially pure and white 'Fortress Europe'.
>
> Is this what we want?
>
>
>


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