Manifesto

Europe is witnessing the arrival of men, women and children fleeing from many kinds of tragedies.

Even though the number of people arriving seeking refuge since 2015 has increased, the actual number represents less than 1% of the population of the continent of Europe.

We are not witnessing a ‘migration crisis’ (false specter) but a tragic crisis of lack of hospitality. Unfortunately, the atrocities and suffering experienced by displaced people do not stop once on they are on the other side of Fortress Europe’s wall.1

European migration policies are impeding the process of welcome, which these people have a right to. A right they have a need of more than ever after having overcome so many difficulties and risked their lives on the migratory routes, Routes which have themselves been made even more dangerous by the progressive closure of borders.

Faced with the willful rejection by the French state of their role to welcome and respect the asylum rights of these exiles, sympathetic people across the whole country have spontaneously joined together to support them and expose this deliberate government policy of denying them their rights. Not only inhumane, this policy is also illegal, costly, and threatens social cohesion by allowing racist and xenophobic speech fueling the fears that have been cultivated for so long by the far right.

We – refugees, exiles, ‘sans-papiers’, foreigners, citizens – in solidarity with one another – affirm that France must become an open and welcoming country; a country allowing those wanting to settle here to do so with respect of their rights and following the principles of equality, dignity and humanity, as per Article 13 of the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

We must remind everyone that the reasons that drive someone to leave their home are diverse and complex, but are not inevitable. On the

contrary, they are partially the result of the political choices adopted by various countries and which have a negative impact on people everywhere.

European countries and, in particular France, play a significant role in this, notably in supporting dictatorships as a result of their military and economic policies. While the number of exiles represents a minute portion of the French population, their arrival raises significant questions, on both a symbolic and political level, about the place for them in our society. A place that ought to, and indeed must be made, by a country which represents itself as being civilized towards foreigners, the poor, to people who are ‘different’, and to all of those who are in exile.

This is what is intended by referring to the National Council of the Resistance, which, in the darkest moments of our history, laid down the foundations for a new society. The main principle, bravely developed in secret, to construct a refuge for all unfortunately finds itself being progressively dismantled by successive governments. Therefore, the issues raised by the arrival of exiled persons go far beyond simply their individual circumstances. They encourage us to explore the possible forms of a new, inclusive, and open social pact. They give us the opportunity to question, altogether, the history, memory and values of our society.

The Collective for a Nation of Refuge (CNR) is not affiliated to any political party.

We are a COLLECTIVE because we wish to restore to the heart of the movement of citizen action the shared issues that cannot be solved any way other than collectively.

This structure allows to express widely our shared wishes. Each individual, organization or collective sympathetic to the ideals of the CNR is, obviously, invited to participate.

We refer to the concept of NATION as a group of humans, conscious of unity in its diversity, animated by the shared desire to live together. It is an inclusive nation, continuously evolving with those who compose it.

It absolutely and strictly distances itself from any negative concepts of identity or patriotism, as well as from any idea of boundaries that must be protected. Indeed it is humans that must receive protection, not boundaries.

Also, we call for the construction of a REFUGE because a State in peace is obliged to provide unconditional protection to any person in exile when their existence is being threatened in their country, regardless of whether the reasons are political, climatic or economic – categories which are inseparable when we actually look at their survival journeys and not just at administrative boxes.

If exile means suffering, then welcoming is a duty and a right, and can become an opportunity for the welcoming society. We wish to join our voices together to plead for a Refuge-Nation respectful of equality and rights.

Let us protect humans, not boundaries.

Principles and demands of the Collective for a Nation of Refuge (CRN).

We, the members of the CRN, denounce and refuse the current policies of « migration deterrence» that, in particular, translate into:

  • A State that behaves illegally with regard to asylum rights 2 ;
  • Numerous and acknowledged mistreatments by institutions ;
  • Enormous psychological suffering of the exiled, expressed through depression and suicide attempts ;
  • The endangerment of many children, whether in a family (the impossibility of parenting in such conditions) or without family (the homelessness of many isolated minors) ;
  • The rise of far right ideas, treating foreigners as a danger or a problem ;
  • The work stress experienced by personnel (social services, associations…) who are directly impacted by the effects of these policies in their daily activities (overwork, tension, aggression, contradictory statements).

United, together, rejecting any paternalistic posturing, promoting the voices of the exiled, we stand for:

  • The respect of, and more generous interpretation of, asylum rights ;
  • Respecting legal deadlines for registration ;
  • Strictly refusing any Dublin transfer allowed by the systematic application of the Dublin III regulation, notably as demanded by the circular of 16th of July 2016 ;
  • Repeal of the Dublin agreements ;
  • Dropping the distinction between « economic migrants » and « refugees ;
  • Taking into account the climatic economic and other motives for fleeing ;
  • Ending the « presumption of lying » at the OFPRA (French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons).

A calm and respectful understanding of the suffering and the journey of the exiled

  • Upgrading the number of spots in CADAs (Reception Centres for Asylum Seekers) and abandoning the poor quality solutions made up of the CHU-M (Teaching Hospitals and Medical Cooperatives), CAO (Reception and Guidance Centres), Prahda (Reception and Hosting Program for Asylum Applicants) and other emergency accommodations
  • Access to material welcome for all ;
  • Upgrading the institutions that process the asylum requests ;
  • Stopping the delegation of accommodation provision to organizations without any quality control over what is offered ;
  • Taking into account the human and psychological dimensions of being an exile ;
  • Paying particular attention to the children, with or without their family.

FIRST SIGNATORIES:

Paris d’ExilPolyvalenceCollectif solidarité Migrants-WilsonWelcome Bordeaux, Le MAS Eymoutiers, Les Éveillés, Les Amigrants de Rouen, Une terre pour TousCollectif des BatignollesCollectif des P’tit Dej’ à Flandres, La plateforme d’aide aux réfugiés en France LDH 24, United Migrants, La gamelle de Jaurès, Revivre Collectif sénonais de soutien aux migrants et réfugiés

  1. In 2016 in France, we registered 1138 asylum requests per million inhabitants that is only 1 applicant per thousand. Source: Eurostat, announcement n°47 / 2017, March the 16th of 2016

  2. The Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner notes that in 2014, there was no CADA existing in territories of French overseas departments, and only 33% of asylum seekers had access to a CADA in France itself. Yet, the Reception Conditions Directive stipulates decent « material reception conditions ».