“The List” Artwork of dead refugees and migrants disappeared or destroyed

02/08/2018
the-list-posted-in-amsterdam

Earlier versions of The List have been posted in other locations including Amsterdam. pic from the Guardian

An artwork featuring a list of the 34,361 refugees and migrants who have lost their lives trying to reach Europe has disappeared or been destroyed in Liverpool.

The List was created for World Refugee Day.  Compiled and updated each year by United for Intercultural Action – an anti-discrimination network of more than 560 organisations across Europe – The List traces information relating to the deaths of 34,361 refugees and migrants who have lost their lives within or on the borders of Europe since 1993.

Since 2007, in collaboration with art workers and institutions, Istanbul-based artist Banu Cennetoğlu has produced up-to-date and translated versions of The List using public spaces such as billboards, transport networks and newspapers.

The List was posted on hoardings outside a building site in Liverpool’s Chinatown as part of Liverpool Biennial art festival.  But now it has disappeared!  On Wednesday the festival tweeted this message:

liverpool-biennial-missing-list-tweet

The List was posted on hoardings on Great George Street with the permission of the site owners.  The city council has stated that it was not removed by its workers, whether deliberately or by accident – it had been suggested that council workers might have taken it down, misidentified as illegally fly-posted.  The council and the developers who own the site have been examining CCTV for clues as to who removed it on Sunday.

What is the List?

Since 1993, activists at the network United for Intercultural Action have made a record of every reported instance in which someone has died trying to migrate into Europe. In all, 61 deaths were recorded in 1993; 3,915 were recorded in 2017.

What sources did they use?

The small team, based in the Netherlands, drew on reports in the local, national and international press, as well as NGO records. Though the vast majority of people died during en route for Europe – most of them at sea – the List also points out that hundreds died in custody, and hundreds more took their own lives. Most deaths recorded on the List are anonymous.

How many deaths have been recorded?

As of 5 May 2018, the figure stood at 34,361. But activists acknowledge that the List is neither definitive nor comprehensive. The real number is likely to be far higher, as many thousands of people will have died without trace during sea and land journeys over the years.

[from the Guardian]

United for Intercultural Action, faced with a lack of official data, gathered newspaper articles, NGO records and coastguard reports to collect details of the deaths of migrants travelling to Europe since the early 1990s.  While most of the deaths happened at sea, more than 1000 happened in detention blocks, asylum units and town centres.  400 died at their own hand, over 600 violently killed by someone else. Cause of death is described quite graphically: such as “tortured by Turkish border guards near Iskenderun (TR) while trying to cross Syrian-Turkish border” and “drowned, bodies found in advanced state of decomposition 20 miles north of Zurawa LY)”.

In a statement the Liverpool Biennial said: “It is timely and important to make The List public during a global refugee crisis. We were dismayed to see it had been removed on Saturday night and would like to know why. The List has been met with critical acclaim and we are doing everything we can to reinstate it.”

To help assimilate The List across the internet, I have uploaded a pdf format copy of The list here. (The Guardian are also hosting a copy here – they’ve got a lot more available bandwidth than me, so it’d only be fair to try them first, but I’m here as a back-up if required!  Happy to help!)  Feel free to reproduce this link as widely as possible.  Please mention ihatehate.wordpress.com and www.unitedagainstracism.org.

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Ecuador grants Assange political asylum – but how will he get from London to Quito?

17/08/2012

News about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and his bid to avoid extradition to Sweden and the possibility of being sent to the USA to face spurious but all too serious espionage charges. In June he sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embasshy in London, requesting political asylum. Well, the Ecuador government has made its decision: as things stand, Assange is a potential political prisoner, and if he’s extradited to Sweden there is a very definite possibility that he will be forwarded to America, where faces charges relating to “top secret” communiques that were leaked by Wikileaks and published by the New York Times and the Guardian. Hmm, that’s a thought: how come the New York Times editor hasn’t been charged with espionage? Why isn’t the USA calling for the extradition of Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian? Rhetorical questions of course. Newspapers have been around a long time, as has been the notion of a free press. But many governments say that online reporting isn’t really journalism at all – and of course Wikileaks is a pain in the ass that the US/UK would like to stomp to death pour encourager les autres.

Countries usually respect the embassies of other nations, regarding diplomatic posts as the legal territory of that foreign nation. But William Hague, British foreign secretary and effectively the prime minister as the real prime minister (David Cameron) and the deputy PM (Nick Clegg) has made some ominous threats. He’s already said in public that Assange would be arrested if he leaves the embassy in London where he has lived for nearly two months, and Ecuador claim that British authorities are threatening to storm the embassy to arrest him.

Hague responded to the asylum decision saying it was “a matter of regret” that Assange had been granted asylum, and that Assange would be arrested when he left the embassy regardless.

The British government sent a letter to Ecuadorean officials in Quito outlining the powers of the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, which allows revocation of a building’s diplomatic status if the foreign power occupying it “ceases to use land for the purposes of its mission or exclusively for the purposes of a consular post”. Hague said this was not a threat, simply an explanation of British law, allegedly in line with international law.

If government agents (ie. the police) invade the embassy to arrest Assange, it will be setting a precedent with possibly explosive outcomes. In recent history foreign embassies have been sacrosanct. Earlier this year, the lawyer and dissident Chen Guangcheng took refuge in the US embassy in China; and the People’s Revolutionary Army didn’t storm the building – when Chen left the embassy it was completely freely. And many other people have gained sanctuary in another countries’ embassies – check out the list here. If the British government think the Ecuadorean embassy is fair game, what will happen to the British Embassy in Ecuador… or anywhere else?

Think, Hague, think. If Dave comes back from holiday to a diplomatic crisis, heads will roll. Even yours. :p

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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange seeks asylum in Ecuadorian embassy in London

19/06/2012

Another dramatic twist in the Julian Assange case: Assange has gone to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, seeking asylum.  For those unaware of this story: Julian Assange is a founder of the Wikileaks website, which allows whistle-blowers to upload files to the internet anonymously; files concerning US military activity were sent to Wikileaks, who decided to share them with the New York Times and the Guardian; the USA didn’t like that, and some influential US political figures think Assange should be put on trial for treason (even though Assange is Australian and therefore cannot commit treason against the USA); Assange is in the UK, and there is no way the UK will extradite him to the USA; so now an old Swedish rape allegation against Assange has popped back up, and Sweden wants Assange extradited for it (even though the Swedish prosecutors dismissed the allegations as false a long time ago); a lot of people think that once Sweden has Assange, they will send him on to the USA, where he will probably be electrocuted or stoned to death or something…

Assange is running out of appeal options in the UK (the Supreme Court has twice rejected his call for appeal), so obviously he wants to get the hell away from the country.  I’m not sure why he chose Ecuador (I would have thought Venezuela or Cuba would be better options), but that’s where he is seeking asylum.  It’s pretty obvious the US/Sweden action makes him a political prisoner, therefore he is entitled to political asylum.  But what will Ecuador decide?  Dare they defy the USA?  We’ll see…

 

 
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