20 June, Leiden: solidarity action as a part of World Refugee Day

As a part of World Refugee Day various action and support groups are organizing activities in a number of cities on 20 June, in solidarity with refugees and migrants. Also in the city of Leiden a solidarity action will take place, organized by Extinction Rebellion Leiden, Doorbraak and the Leids Steunloket Migranten. The national coordination of the activities is in the hands of Stop the War on Migrants and Comité 21 maart.

From the call text: “Life in ‘normal’ times is often already very difficult for migrants and refugees. Overcrowded camps and detention centers, trying to survive without a right of residence, sometimes even on the street – these all put the health of migrants and refugees at risk. The current corona pandemic only makes the situation worse: refugees and migrants are particularly vulnerable to the crisis. The pandemic has again made it clear that health is a collective responsibility. But when it comes to refugees and migrants, those in power in Europe – including the Netherlands – seem happy to ignore this fact.”

Talks by:

Braima is a refugee from Guinee Bissau. He lives in Leiden for more than 15 years. He became homeless after the closure of the bed-, bad-, brood refuge.
Rayan is a boardmember of the recently founded Leids Steunloket Migranten (LSM)
Ibttesam is active at the Doorbraak-supportgroup De Fabel van de illegaal and is herself a refugee from Sudan.
Harry is active at the Doorbraak-supportgroup De Fabel van de illegaal.

Saturday 20 June
From 14:00 to 15:30
Van der Werkpark, Leiden

“On our doorsteps, the city council in Leiden has decided to close the Bed-Bad-Brood (bed, bath, food) shelter for undocumented migrants. As of 1 May 2020, a number of undocumented migrants in Leiden have become homeless. Despite persistent protests against homelessness in the time of the global pandemic, the city council refuses to provide shelter for these people in the city. As a result, refugees and migrants are now left on the streets in Leiden, without sufficient prospects for shelter and food. They are struggling to survive and are completely dependent on what others give them. They have been made lawless under the current draconian policy and are excluded administratively and socially. Uncertainty, insecurity and vulnerability is their daily reality.

Original text in Dutch. Nederlandse originele tekst.

Demonstrations around the world against police brutality and racism – issues which also affect refugees – have made it clear that loud protest is needed and possible. Refugee lives matter! We therefore call for an end to violence against migrants and for that violence to be replaced by the solidarity needed to tackle this global crisis. We oppose racism and discrimination, and demand:

  • to close detention centers and stop deportations, and provide refugees with shelter and food;
  • to stop militarization of borders and pushbacks, and to resume rescues;
  • to bring unaccompanied children from Greek refugee camps to the Netherlands;
  • the right to health care and safe living and working conditions for all;
  • to legalise all refugees and migrants.”

Because of the corona virus all participants have to wear a face mask and have to keep at least 1.5 meters from others. At the location there is the chance to chalk slogans on the pavement, to make a placard and to listen to speeches.

Harry Westerink