URGENT ACTION

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Subject: URGENT ACTION
From: GAATW (gaatw@mozart.inet.co.th)
Date: Fri Jun 23 2000 - 10:51:20 EDT


URGENT ACTION

Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) is deeply concerned with the
handling of the recent human smuggling tragedy by UK government officials.
The
following is a statement GAATW is releasing today. Please sign the statement
and fax it to the British Embassy in your respective countries.
-----------------------------------------------
Background

English customs found the bodies of 58 Chinese men and women on early morning
of 19th June (English time). They were packed in the back of a refrigerator
truck that came from Holland, on a ferry. They may have suffocated or froze to
death. They probably are victims of human smuggling racquet, dealing in
illegal immigrants.

In the UK, this incident has been used by political parties to debate on the
evils of illegal migration, and the urgent need to toughen up the immigration
laws. British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that ‘the grim discovery
demonstrated the importance of getting to grips with the evil trade in
would-be
asylum seekers.’

---------------------------------------------------

Your Excellency,

Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) is deeply concerned with the
handling of the recent case of human smuggling tragedy by the UK government
officials in which bodies of 58 Chinese men and women were found in the
back of
a refrigerator truck.

It seems that this tragedy is being used as a ploy or a political tool between
the Labour and Conservative parties to argue for the tightening of immigration
laws in the UK. There also seems to be arguments between the EU countries as
to who is actually responsible for this case accusing each other for laxity of
immigration laws. This kind of rhetoric is futile. We are worried that this
may lead to instigating ill feelings against migrants in general.

The solution is not to tighten the immigration law, but to provide protection
and human rights to migrants working in the UK. The strict UK immigration law
leads to the use of underground illegal channels to enter the country.
Migrants who enter the country illegally (whether smuggled or trafficked) are
afraid to report abuse or mistreatment to the authority because of their
illegal status. Anyone who suffer human rights violation should be
entitled to
receive protection and assistance irrespective of their legal status. Above
all, liberty and freedom of movement is a fundamental right which is ensured
under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 13.2). This ensures
that everyone has the right to leave any country, including his/ her own, and
to return to his/ her country.

Yours sincerely,

Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW)

The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women
The International Coordination Office,
P.O.Box 36 Bangkok Noi Post Office,
Bangkok 10700 THAILAND.
Tel: (66-2) 864-1427/8
Fax: (66-2) 864-1637
E-Mail: GAATW@mozart.inet.co.th
URL:http://www.inet.co.th/org/gaatw


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