It Is Not a Crime to Migrate or Seek Refugee – It is a Human Right!

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Campamento de migrantes en Lesbos, Grecia.
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The migratory and refugee journeys that end in mass graves in the Mediterranean or in abandonment or injury in the deserts of North Africa; along the US-Mexican border; in the Rohingya camps of Bangladesh or in the longstanding camps in several countries in Africa and Middle East have their passing moment of attention in the mainstream media. But there is another parallel journey seldom chronicled in the media – this is the journey of seeking a human life in the face of forced displacement from community and territory – either because of global restructuring of labour, corporate extractivism, destruction of environment and source of livelihood, or climate change and continuing wars. This is the journey to follow the dream – for another life – of dignity free of degradation and persecution.


It is this parallel journey that has been lived through in the process of the 45th Session of Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT). It is the migrant and refugee peoples who have survived the journeys of death – who have chronicled their protagonisms for human rights through this process. This PPT 45th Session, on the Violations with Impunity of the Human Rights of Migrant and Refugee Peoples, co-convened in 2017 by a network of migrant, refugee, social movement, human rights and solidarity organisations – became a collective journey that started in Barcelona in 2017, travelled for three years through Palermo, Paris, Barcelona, London, Brussels and Berlin in a series of Public Hearings.


On December 16th, the PPT Berlin Judgement on the Berlin Hearing (framed on the human right to health) was presented in a Public Hearing (on line) together with the Call for a Global Pact of Solidarity for the Rights of Migrant and Refugee Peoples presented by the network of co-convening organisations for the 45th Session of the PPT.


Based on accumulated evidences, the PPT Berlin Judgement (see link has underlined what was already initially identified in Palermo as “systemic crime” being perpetrated on the external and internal borders of the EU. These crimes with impunity, including the criminalisation of solidarity are seen as a result of the necropolitics which has come to dominate European migrant and refugee policy and practice in the past years and is named a “continuing genocide” by the PPT.


In September 2020, the European Commission issued its EU Pact on Migration and Asylum. This has been widely criticized as missing a strategic opportunity to abandon its necropolitics towards Migrant and Refugee Peoples and failing its responsibility to open a new era that would be framed on a human rights basis.


Therefore, the Call for the Global Pact of Solidarity is presented as an invitation to engage and become part of the challenge of building together a new regime that affirms that we are all migrants and refugees and that human rights belong to each and all of us.


Launched with 500 plus signatures (organisations and individuals), the Global Pact of Solidarity is open for Sign-On - from all global regions. The link to the texts - EN, ES, FR, IT - and to the Sign-On: Link for Sign-on 


December 22. 2020


- Brid Brennan, Economic Justice Programme, Transnational Institute (TNI).


For Further information:

Paloma Chen <>
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