Paperless underclass exposes dark side of Europe
Demonstration in Sevilla. Photo: No Border Network, flickr
(Draft) "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." These noble words in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights might be true in some distant part on this planet, but certainly not in Europe.
Here, peoples' rights are dependent on their nationality. While I, with my German EU passport may travel and live nearly everywhere I want, people from countries like Egypt, Syria or Pakistan cannot. Europe has put much effort in building different kind of walls to prevent certain categories of people from entering. While wealthier peoples' migration is celebrated, poorer peoples' migration is criminalized. Anthropologist Owen Sichone calls this policy "Global apartheid".
Two weeks ago, eight Norwegian police men arrested 25 year old Maria Amelie, an award winning book author, blogger and former anthropology student, born in North Ossetia. She had just finished her lecture at the Nansen Academy – the Norwegian Humanistic Academy about being paperless, undocumented, "illegal" migrant. This happened just three months after she had published her bok "Ulovlig norsk" (Illegally Norwegian), and one month after she was named "Norwegian of the Year" by Norway's only cosmopolitan-minded magazine, Ny Tid.
Maria Amelie (her real name is Madina Salamova) is one of those 18 000 illegalized migrants in Norway who live here without any rights at all. No access to healthcare, education or work. They cannot open an bank account, they don't get an ID-number, they actually don't exist officially. Even helping them is forbidden.
Here is a video from Russia Today about Maria Amelie and a demonstration i Oslo for better rights for undocumented migrants. See related news story
Yesterday, despite lots of demonstrations and media attention, she was thrown out of Norway, where she has lived since she was 16, and deported to Russia. For Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and his red-green government, it was important to make clear that they don't tolerate people like her. The Norwegian government is responsible for the deportation of hundreds of individuals and families - usually in the middle of the night without any prior notice. Media in Norway has done a good job in highlighting the plight of these people who all have a unique story to tell.
Norway Expels Migrant Celebrity (Moscow Times, 25.1.2011)
Human rights court slams EU asylum policy as inhumane (Deutsche Wele, 21.1.2011)
‘No One Is Illegal’ Campaign aims to protect Norway’s ‘paperless’ refugees (Women News Network 8.12.2010)