A human rights tribunal will take place in Berlin from October 23-25, 2020.
Inspired by solidarity between migrants, refugees and human rights organizations and other social movements towards equality and an inclusive society, more than 30 migrant and refugee organisations, endorsed by 100 movements, networks and organisations from different European countries launched the 45th Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) on the Violations with Impunity of the Human Rights of Migrant and Refugee Peoples in Barcelona in 2017.
Since then, five hearings have been held on diverse issues in several European cities – (Barcelona (July 2017), Palermo (December 2017), Paris (January 2018), Barcelona (July 2018), London (November 2018), Brussels (April 2019) . These Hearings aim to give visibility to the migrant and refugee peoples from all backgrounds as subjects of fundamental human rights; to identify and judge the chain of co-responsibility in the violation of those rights experienced throughout the whole migratory journey and to highlight the urgent need for fundamental change in respect of the human rights of migrant and refugee peoples and to promote appropriate mechanisms for access to justice.
The PPT is a Human Rights Opinion Tribunal which draws its mandate from the Charter of Algiers – the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Peoples – elaborated in 1976 in Algiers.
We have seen Europe’s migration policy of exclusion being constructed year after year – a policy that has resulted in a sweeping rollback of people’s human rights. We have also seen right-wing populist and racist ideas becoming more and more socially acceptable all over Europe. We constantly hear about the deadly consequences of these policies and appalling human rights violations – including those concerning health and physical and mental well-being of migrant and refugee peoples throughout their journeys to Europe and within different countries in Europe including Germany. While some of these violations have been made public and are well-documented, political and legal consequences are rare.
Building on this experience and the framework of the PPT, we, a growing coalition of activists, refugee and migrant self-organizations and health and human rights organizations, make this Call to hold a public Tribunal Hearing on the issue of Human Rights and Health in Germany in October 2020.
The PPT is a process that is being built from below, with the people most involved and most directly affected. We believe that it’s important to count on as many voices as possible to bring different perspectives and experiences together. In this regard, this coalition makes a strong call to address the connections between the crisis of health care and its effects on the rights of migrants, refugees and citizens alike in the context of exclusionary politics, austerity regimes and neoliberal restructuring. Although already in the planning since 2019, the Berlin Hearing with its focus on the Human Right to Health, takes on additional significance in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic – which makes very visible the role of migrant and refugees both as frontline essential workers or high risk casualties.
The PPT Berlin Hearing aims to facilitate migrant and refugee movements to develop new alliances with other social movements and with health professionals and workers as well as academia, art and other related sectors.
Why focus on Health?
Health is a basic need of human beings and social communities. We start from a holistic concept of health which goes beyond health care to emphasize the social and political conditions necessary for a heathy life. The human right to health means that everyone has the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, which includes access to all medicalservices, sanitation, adequate food, decent housing, healthy working conditions, and a clean environment.
We think that the precarious developments described above not only concern migrants and refugees but all of us and our democracy in several ways. We fear that the “necropolitics” on the borders of Europe which lets people seeking refuge in Europe die deliberately at sea or in the desert as well as the criminalization of solidarity are compromising our collective health as societies. These policies and practices lead to conditions that normalise violence, dehumanise social relations, weaken democratic and egalitarian values and punish empathy, civic engagement and solidarity. But we also believe that the issue of health can bring the struggle of refugees and migrants and other social movements together.