Grinding down the human rights defenders

Grinding down the human rights defenders


Written by: IRR News Team

The IRR’s European Race Bulletin examines the criminalisation of solidarity and protest.

The extended feature article in the latest issue of the European Race Bulletin (No 65, Autumn 2008) documents both the increasing resistance against the inhuman treatment of asylum seekers across Europe and European governments’ further criminalisation of solidarity and protest. Building on an earlier European Race Bulletin report (‘Asylum: from deterrence to criminalisation’, No 55, Spring 2006), it takes in new measures of deterrence from Ireland (where lawyers bringing ‘frivolous or vexatious’ immigration appeals could be forced to pay the costs of the state in defending them) to Cyprus, where the authorities have harassed a highly respected solidarity organisation and prosecuted its officers.

Targets for tough action include providing humanitarian assistance or health care to ‘illegals’, criticism and protest against detention policies, and solidarity actions and protests against deportations. In Belgium and France, airline passengers protesting against the brutal manhandling of deportees have found themselves detained and sometimes prosecuted. Even the primary maritime duty of sea rescue is under attack, as seven Tunisian fishermen face prosecution in Italy for ‘aiding and abetting illegal immigration’ after rescuing forty-four Africans from an inflatable dinghy and bringing them to safety.

Yet more and more people refuse to stand by and watch as other human beings are treated inhumanely merely for not having the right papers.

Buy a copy of the full report (which also contains a report on the the Austrian general election and the death of Jörg Haider) for £5 at the link below. Alternatively the report ‘Grinding down the human rights defenders’ is available to asylum community or campaigning organisations for free. Please email:

Related links

European Race Bulletin

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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