This past month has been yet another difficult month for Europe. A string of terrorist attacks in Turkey, followed by similarly horrific events in Brussels, have left the whole continent on high alert. As with similar attacks in the past, we have seen a depressing pattern emerge: public expressions of grief and solidarity with the victims are soon followed by an increase in islamophobic hate speech and xenophobic rhetoric – and justification for harsh measures to tighten border controls. Just a few days after the Brussels attacks, we already see political effects, with Poland responding by refusing to accept refugees, and Belgium’s own far-right party Vlaams Belang surging in support on social media and calling for “a waterproof border policy” in response.
Meanwhile, refugees continue to die in extremely high numbers at Europe’s borders: since the beginning of 2016, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), has already recorded 488 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean alone, a huge increase on the same period in 2015. The plight of refugees is not being helped by EU leaders, who have negotiated a deal with Turkey that could see all asylum-seekers that make the crossing to Europe sent back against the will of many humanitarian organisations and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which has distanced itself from the deal and announced it will play no part in return procedures. Earlier in the month, Slovakia’s general election was won by Robert Fico’s Smer party on a strongly anti-immigration platform, while local elections in Germany saw major gains for the right-wing populist Alternativ für Deutschland party, in results that many commentators have labelled as a rejection of the Merkel government’s welcoming policy towards refugees.
All this goes to show that the work of the European antiracist movement is more important than ever. This month has been an active one for the UNITED network – as every year, the week around 21 March saw our European Action Week Against Racism campaign, where organisations from all over Europe campaigned together with the message Strength In Diversity (see below for more details). If you organised an activity for the Week Against Racism, don’t forget to report it to the UNITED Secretariat.
At the secretariat we are also undertaking many changes and exciting developments – including this monthly E-News, which we are hoping to make a regular monthly feature, with news from the UNITED secretariat, news from our network organisations, and highlights from our website. If you would like to find out more, give feedback or contribute to the next edition, don’t hesitate to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Best greetings and stay UNITED!
News from UNITED
|European Action Week Against Racism: Strength In DiversityEvery year, UNITED coordinates the European Action Week Against Racism around 21 March. For ten days, activists, NGOs, universities, schools, municipalities and a wide variety of different organisations carry out hundreds of activities all around Europe in order to challenge racism, discrimination and intolerance, and promote an inclusive, diverse vision of Europe. Read more …|
|Strength In Diversity Poster Competition As part of this year’s European Action Week Against Racism campaign, UNITED organised a special poster competition with the theme “Strength in Diversity”. The winners were announced on 21 March, and the winning entries were presented at a special event in Budapest. Read more …|
|Cities of Europe join the Week Against Racism campaign Representatives of cities all over Europe have shown their opposition to racism by joining UNITED’s campaign for the European Action Week Against Racism. Cities that joined this year’s campaign include major metropolises such as Berlin, Lisbon, Dublin and Geneva. Read more …|
|UNITED campaigns surveyAs part of an ongoing effort to improve UNITED campaigns, UNITED is conducting a survey to ask network organistions for their feedback. Take the survey …UNITED now on LinkedInAs well as Twitter and Facebook, you can now follow UNITED on LinkedIn. Read more …|
News from the Network
|ZARA releases report on racism in Austria To mark 21 March, Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus Arbeit (ZARA) released its annual report on racism in Austria. The report found increasing levels of racist incidents, especially online and among politicians and the media. Read more …|
|ADC Memorial runs campaign in solidarity with Roma of DonbassBetween International Women’s Day (8 March) and International Roma Day (8 April), UNITED network organisation Anti Discrimination Centre “Memorial” is conducting a special campaign in solidarity with the Roma of Donbass. Read more …|
|ECRI publishes country reports and general policy recommendations on combating hate speechThe European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) marked 21 March with the publication of its general policy recommendations on combating hate speech. ECRI also recently published country reports on France, Georgia and Monaco. Read more …|
|ENAR launches shadow report on Afrophobia in EuropeBlack people experience widespread racism and discrimination across the EU and in all areas of life, including employment, education, policing and the criminal justice system. This is the conclusion of the European Network Against Racism’s Shadow Report on Afrophobia in Europe. Read more …|
Does your organisation have news for UNITED to publish on the website/ announce in the monthly UNITED E-News? Let us know by writing to email@example.com (note: we will only announce news from partners or registered supporters of the UNITED network – click here to find out how to become a supporter).
Any events or activities focusing on topics relevant to the UNITED network can be announced via the online form for publication in UNITED’s online Calendar of Internationalism.
Highlights from the UNITED Website
|Greece, Aegean Sea: Notes from a refugee camp on the threshold of EuropeMarco Notarbartolo di Sciara reports on the situation faced by refugees and migrants on the Greek island of Leros in the Aegean Sea. Read more …|
|“Deepening the discussion is the only way out of radicalisation.” Interview with EUROCLIO’s Jonathan Even-Zohar Ahead of the upcoming UNITED conference in Torino, UNITED caught up with EUROCLIO director Jonathan Even-Zohar to ask his opinion on the refugee crisis, and the role of historians and history teachers in challenging the prevalent narrative on migration. Read more …|
|Fenced Off: A case study on Hungary’s “transit zone procedure”Menedék’s Attila Szabó looks at the recent development of Hungarian border policy, and the effect that the “transit zone” system is having on the Hungarian asylum system. Read more …|
Do you have an article you would like to contribute to the UNITED website? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
|Next month will see the UNITED conference in Torino; entitled “Moving Stories: Narratives of Migration Crossing Europe”, the conference will focus on the situation of migrants and refugees coming to Europe, and explore how to challenge the prevailing media narrative around migration. Participants at the conference, representing UNITED network organistions all over Europe, will help to plan UNITED’s upcoming refugee campaign, which will be launched to mark International Refugee Day on 20 June.|