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Solidarity with the Sans Papiers on hunger-strike at UNICEF

18.Apr.05 - 15 sans papiers of the 9th collective of Sans papiers in Paris have now been on hunger strike for 30 days !! In an occupation at the offices of the Unicef France. A decision was taken to occupy the Paris offices of UNICEF by the collective because of its silence in response in relation to the incarceration and expulsion of sans papiers children. The hunger strike was later decided upon in response to the accusation by the UNICEF that the Sans papiers were manipulating children in order to get attention focussed on their situation.

The following is a translation taken from their website from the original occupation:

"Today ultra-repressive laws are lead against sans-papiers. The children who until now haven't been spared are now even more greatly threatened. More and more frequently the police arrest children, as well as the unborn children of pregnant women, as well as children from primary and secondary schools to put them in detention with their parents and finally to be expelled . The detention of children so they can be escorted out of the country ; while these are certainly legal and political problems they are above all human. It is Against the Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by France. The conditions of life in these 'waiting zones' is also very disturbing . Foreign minors kept in waiting zones don't benefit at all from any specialised protection regime which ought to be implemented. (Interpretation problems and Inability to understand the procedures being applied. They are kept in inappopriate accomadation. Asylum claims are considered as manifestly unfounded. They are subjected to violence, abuse and moral abuse.
The presence of foreign children and their parents at UNICEF since the 4th of March is the expression of an unbearable situation. The rights of children are being ignored and we are here to denounce this . We demand that Unicef whose primary function is the defence of the rights of children take an official position so that our children will be protected from deportations and the parents given their papers.
We stay more than ever mobilise and determined in this struggle until there will be just satisfaction of demands, to be able to live in dignity."

Please take action wherever you are to condemn the silence of the UNICEF on the rights of refugee and migrant children and to show your solidarity for the bravery of the sans papiers who are in their 30th day of hungerstrike.

Contact UNICEF UK (and other national brunches of UNICEF) and make your feelings known

Africa House
64-78 Kingsway
WC2B 6NB (Map)
Tel: 020 7405 5592
Fax: 020 7405 2332

following a letter in solidarity with the sans papiers in hungerstrike (1) and a letter to UNICEF (2)

(1) The Karawane für die Rechte der Flüchtlinge und MigrantInnen-Hamburg (Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants, Hamburg group) sends its solidarity to the Sans Papiers hunger strikers. We applaud your courage to take direct action against the inhumane treatment of children and the inability of a children´s rights defense group to respond effectively and adequately.

We emphathize with your struggle. In the last decade, the situation for refugees and migrants in Germany has been getting worse, not better. Indeed, throughout Europe racism, intolerance and heartlessness creates a
Fortress Europe that cannot be penetrated. We joined your movement and others for the April 2 European-wide day of action, calling for Freedom of Movement and the Right to Stay. Within the context of debating immigration
policies and as governments are encouraged to remove all repressive and unjust legislation from the books, let not human life and dignity- especially of the children- become casualties. When even our children fall victim to the repressive system, something drastic must be said and done.
Who can close their hearts and eyes when the children are treated so?

UNICEF particularly should be ashamed of the inappropriateness of its action, and should move to make an immediate statement condemning deportation of children and inhumane treatment of imprisoned children in France.

We, too, remain determined in the struggle so that all human beings can exercise their right to live in dignity. Thank you, Sans Papiers, for everything that you do. You encourage and uplift us when we read about your actions; the Sans Papiers movement is an inspiration for all. We send our sincerest hope for the success of this campaign, for your health, and for your strength to carry on.

Africa House
64-78 Kingsway

To Whom it may concern:

We write with the sincerest hope that your minds and hearts will be opened in order that you may see the urgent plight of children in France, and to act in such a way as your conscience tells you. All human beings are responsible to uphold certain moral codes and standards. In our society, many of these are outlined in treaties and conventions, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which France has ratified. The world looks to UNICEF to uphold the rights of children, to come to their defense when in harms way.

We bring to your attention a disgraceful and unfortunate situation in need of your immediate intervention.

The Sans Papiers movement is currently on its 32nd day of a hunger strike, to call attention to unjust and repressive treatment of children by the French authorities, and to demand that UNICEF take an official position.
We request that UNICEF speak with the Sans Papiers movement and move to meet all of its demands.

Please look at the primary concern: within the context of the incarceration and eventual expulsion of sans papiers children, the conditions during detention for the children are completely inhumane. According to a statement from the Sans Papiers movement, "Foreign minors kept in waiting zones don´t benefit at all from any speacialised
protection regime which ought to be implemented." Additionally, the children are subjected to violence as well as physical and mental abuse.

It is in UNICEF´s mandate to respond to this situation, and we urge you to do so.

Without further ado as this situation requires your urgent attention,

The Karawane für die Rechte der Flüchtlinge und MigrantInnen- Hamburg
(Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants-Hamburg)