Activists to target Danish Ministry of Defense to highlight fate of climate refugees

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

As part of the range of actions during the UN COP15 Climate Summit in Copenhagen, activists have designated December 14 the “No Borders! No Climate Refugees!” Day of Action. As such, the international network, “No Borders”, is organizing an action targeting the Danish Ministry of Defense as a symbol of the military role in creating refugees and enforcing repressive border regimes.

At 11am on the 14th of December activists will gather in Israel Plads, Vesterbrogade, before marching to the Danish Ministry of Defense at Holmenskanal 42.

There will be speakers from different campaigns, bands from across the world, two sound systems, and a no borders performance piece. We will open their offices to the weather they are changing and to the people they lock out, so that the voices of all those dis-empowered by the COP15 process and border regime can be heard!

The organization “No Borders” supports the call of the CJA to promote and strengthen the rights and voices of Indigenous and affected peoples (including workers) in confronting the climate crisis, and to build a global movement for climate justice that encourages urgent action to avoid catastrophic climate change.

This protest comes at a time when global economic policies and war are causing mass global displacement, while the effects of climate change will be a major cause of further mass migration from the poorest regions of the earth, on a scale we have never seen.

At the Kilma Forum at the launch of the ‘International Campaign on Climate Refugees’ Rights’ indigenous people from across the globe called for an opening of the borders in the face of increasing climate chaos, a demand for climate justice, and most importantly, the rights of freedom of movement, and the right to stay in their homes without the threat of climate change, or the impacts of globalization and neo-liberal policies.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and return to his country.”

And while this statement is very nice it does not always work out that way. There are, for instance, Gypsy People in Britain and elsewhere who do not have a birth certificate and hence cannot get a passport, thereby being denied the “ right to leave any country, including his own, and return to his country”. Even within the European Union those people cannot move freely from country to country as to leave and return to Britain they would have to have a passport and, well, there is the vicious circle.

Lars says: “Rather than dealing with the problem, governments around the world are instead employing increasing levels of division through heightened border control, whilst failing to confront the root cause – capitalism – and then further militarizing the globe by selling arms to anyone with the money to buy them.”

Mette Hagolani says: “We will take action in solidarity with those who are already displaced by the immediate effects of climate change, wars for resources and the false market led ´solutions´ proposed by those with the loudest voices in the COP15 process. We demand social change and reject increased repression and racist border controls.”

In 2007, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that an increase in sea levels of just 18 to 59 centimeters (seven to 24 inches) would make the Maldives virtually uninhabitable by 2100, and other Small Island States face a similar fate.

The finance minister for Bangladesh, Abdul Muhith has called for the UN to give Climate Refugees the same status as migrants fleeing political persecution. "Twenty million people could be displaced [in Bangladesh] by the middle of the century. We are asking all our development partners to honor the natural right of persons to migrate. We can't accommodate all these people – this is already the densest [populated] country in the world," he said.

Increased legislation such as the “The Stockholm Program”, which was recently passed in Brussels, will foster more surveillance of the internet, common access to European police databases and more cross-border police collaboration to fight "illegal migration".

It will force countries outside the EU to take back their citizens who enter the EU without a visa and it will push the use of biometrics and radio-frequency identification (RfiD) and enlargement of the police agency Europol and the EU border watchdog Frontex (which conducts migrant hunting operations, trains border guards and special units to hunt down people crossing borders, and helps to coordinate and standardize EU immigration surveillance and control policies) and its military wing RABIT (Rapid Border Intervention Teams).

The Program also promotes the increasing use of hi-tech military equipment such as airborne early warning planes, 'unmanned autonomous drones' in the UK, and naval ships off the west Coast of Africa as well as the payment of millions of Euros to African countries to build and house internment camps to help manage migration to the EU. The recent Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen is now the leader of NATO. He has been pushing for 'security crackdowns' and reinforcement of fortress Europe to prevent migration from places more immediately effected by elite-caused climate change. On the Franco-English border in Calais repression escalates against migrants everyday with both countries attempting to create a 'migrant free zone' by the end of 2009.

Many years ago we saw movies that showed people radar at the borders between Austria and Hungary (before the latter become a member of the EU) and those, no doubt, will now be exported to the further reaches of the EU borders.

And we must, I believe, also remember the movie “Black Easter” where is was dealing – before EUROPOL became known – with a European Union police force then called EUPOL. I am sure we are not far from that as reality.

The countries of the European Union are trying the damnedest to create a “Fortress Europe” and with the right-wing and Neo-Nazi parties on the rise everywhere who are even acting against resident Gypsy populations Europe of 2009 begins to look more like Europe 1939 every day.

© 2009