Friday, April 24, 2009



The Calais No Border camp is a joint venture between French and Belgian
activists and migrant support groups and the UK No Borders Network. It
aims to highlight the realities of the situation in Calais and Northern
France; to build links with the migrant communities; to help build
links between migrants support groups; and lastly, but not least, to
challenge the authorities on the ground, to protest against increased
repression of migrants and local activists alike.

This camp calls for the freedom of movement for all, an end to borders
and to all migration controls. We call for a radical movement against
the systems of control, dividing us into citizens and non-citizens,
into the documented and the undocumented.

Why Calais?

We have chosen Calais for two main reasons; it is an important location
in the history, development and practice of European migration controls
and has long been a major bottleneck for those seeking to get to
Britain. But more importantly, it is also a focus of the struggle
between those who would see an end to all migration into the EU, and
those trying to break down the barriers between peoples, the borders
that prevent the freedom of movement for all, not just the privileged

Since the mid-nineties tens of thousands have lived in destitution,
sleeping rough in Calais, waiting for their chance to cross the channel
to England. Between 1999 and 2002 the Red Cross ran a centre at
neighbouring Sangatte but this was forced to close after political
pressure from France and Britain. Since then, the massive police
presence and repression in Calais has forced thousands of men woman and
children to wander the Calais region and all along the North coast of
France, Belgium and Holland. They are routinely brutalised by the
police; tear-gassed, beaten, arrested and repeatedly interned at the
nearby Coquelles detention centre. The police regularly burn their
shelters and the few meagre possessions that they contain. The local
groups that support the migrants by providing food and other
humanitarian aid are coming under increasing attack from the police and
a number of activists have been arrested in recent months. Meanwhile
British Immigration Minister Phil Woolas has been calling for the
construction of a permanent holding/detention centre for migrants in
Calais docks.

The Bigger Picture

Calais however remains only one small part of the overall picture of
European migration controls, a major internal border within the hi-tech
EU borders regime. Since the beginning of the decade, the EU been
attempting to build 'Fortress Europe'; externalising EU borders into
Africa and Asia with EU border guards patrolling the Mediterranean, in
Libya and off the West Coast of Africa courtesy of the Frontex borders
agency; and via the European Neighbourhood Policy, where countries from
the Ukraine all the way round the Mediterranean to Morocco are now paid
by the EU to do its migration prevention work for it.

Migrants' Rights Are Workers' Rights

Through this system of border controls, authorities create two kinds of
migrants: a small number of 'skilled' migrants, who are designated as
'useful' to the state; and a massive number of undocumented workers who
have no rights and are therefore exploitable as cheap labour. Thus is
our fight for freedom of movement also a fight for the rights of all

Transnational solidarity works!

Building links and working together allows us to share information
between us on a transnational level. It also allows us to exploit the
fault-lines and cracks in Fortress Europe. Last November, transnational
solidarity helped to prevent the planned deportation of Afghans from
Calais to Kabul.

Campaigning Against Borders

This camp will continue the tradition of the No Border camps across the
world since the late 1990s and, like the camp taking place this year in
Lesvos in August, it will be a space to share information, skills,
knowledge and experiences; a place to plan and take action together
against the system of borders which divides us all. For centuries
European imperial powers have exploited the land, resources and people
of the majority world to become wealthy and powerful, leaving war,
environmental destruction and massive inequality in their wake. Those
who attempt the journey to the UK or elsewhere in Europe are
challenging this injustice by their movement. The situation in Calais
is a result of the compromise and conflict of interest between French
and UK immigration policy and we call on groups, networks and
individuals here to take action across Europe and to become part of a
global movement of solidarity that defends their right to choose where
they move .

Equal rights for all !!

*No One Is Illegal. Freedom Of Movement And The Right To Stay For All*

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