Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal Berlin Hearing Indictment on Migration and the Right to Health

October 23-25, 2020

part of the



In this trial, we call upon the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) to carefully examine whether the current migration and asylum policies of the Federal Republic of Germany and the EU violate the right to health and physical and psychological integrity of migrants and refugees, in particular the Arts of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples signed in Algiers in 1976; whether it seriously violates the rights of the individual as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948; and whether and to what extent these violations of rights, taken as a whole, constitute a crime against humanity as defined in Art 7 of the Rome Statute of 1998.

The present indictment is part of a series of indictments against the governments of the EU member states and institutions of the EU. They are based on a general framework document that was developed in the PPT’s opening hearing on “Human Rights of Migrant and Refugee Peoples” in Barcelona in July 2017.

These indictments together show how the governments of the ‘Global North’ and the institutions of the EU have created conditions under which millions of people in the ‘Global South’ are deprived of their livelihoods and forced to migrate; which treat those who have migrated to the ‘Global North’ as ‘non-persons’ by denying them rights that are due to all human beings on the basis of their common humanity, including the rights to life, human dignity and freedom; and which in practice have created legal vacuum in the ‘Global North’ with regard to the rule of law and human rights.

In general, illegalized migrants* and refugees represent particularly vulnerable groups of people who experience systematic violations of their right to health and physical and psychological integrity. Even before and during migration they are confronted with war or armed conflicts, human rights violations, traumatic losses, as well as climate change, expropriation or displacement caused by a system of global exploitation. This system is supported by a labour and migration policy that favours the freedom of movement of capital and citizens of the ‘global north’ while people from the ‘global south’ are denied this freedom. Migrants and refugees become a class of illegalized, exploited and deportable people and workers who are exposed to (state) violence and repressive and racist policies and practices.

Based on their common experiences of oppression and repression, it can be said that migrants and refugees form a “people” in the sense of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples (Declaration of Algiers). This declaration states that every people has a right to exist and that no one, on account of his or her national or cultural identity, may be subjected to persecution, deportation, expulsion or living conditions that may affect the identity or integrity of the people to whom he or she belongs.