Conference Report of the Mediterranean Migration Movements Conference in Tunis, 23.09.17
by Daniel Achterberg, Head of Mission #Moonbird
People from European countries gathered with speakers from Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Libya at a conference organized by Watch the Med/ Alarmphone in Tunis last weekend. Sea-Watch activists expressed their view on realities and challenges of migration across the Mediterranean, with a panel on Search and Rescue operations at sea and in the air. But we also learned a lot about realities of migration and border struggles in other parts of North Africa.
The conference combined everything: Breaking news of two Burkinabé who had died just a day before in a tunnel, trying to reach the Exclave of Melilla (Spain) from Morocco, after police used gas. Sad insights from the group “Mothers of the missing” who expressed their sorrow, because they do not know about the faith of their children after they tried to reach Europe. But also inspiring news about transnational networks like “Voix de migrants” which tries to provide information to citizens in French speaking West African countries, so the people can take an informed decision if they want to start these dreadful journeys.
Once again, through all the inputs, it got clear that the absence of safe and legal passages increases the suffering and endangers so many lives. We need to fight for a radical change in our migration policies, even more so now that nationalist parties are on the rise all over Europe.
Borders divide people – this became very clear, as a voice message by an Egyptian human rights lawyer was played to the audience. He could not get a visa to join the conference in person, despite his status. Borders divide families – the “Mothers of the missing” would not need to grieve for their children if legal escape routes existed