We are undocumented migrant and refugees who have gathered together to forge the strongest unity and cooperation to uphold and defend our rights, welfare and interests;
We live and work in The Netherlands as domestic workers, agricultural workers, constructions workers, horeca workers, and others.
We are also undocumented refugees. We have families and children . We, our families and children are not criminals.
There is restiveness and fear in our communities because of a series of arrests and deportations among the undocumented. Such police actions have caused heightened concerns and anxieties amongst us;
Whereas our daily lives are already blighted by deprivations like, we cannot visit a doctor when we are sick because we do not have a medical insurance since we are deprived of the right to acquire one, we transfer from room to room because we lack the right to housing, we are always anxious on the streets, in trams and buses and other public places because we are afraid of police control, now our lives are further threatened by the criminalization of the undocumented under the “European Union Return Directive”. This legislation provides for the arrest and deportation of an undocumented, detention up to 18 months and the imposition of a re-entry ban of up to five years after deportation;
We are specifically concerned about the following proposals in the Dutch Parliament, namely:
a) A proposal from former Minister Hirsch-Ballin that migrants/refugees who are staying without valid papers will not be able to avail of any kind of legalization procedure in the future. The proposition in short is : “ once illegal, forever an illegal”.
b) Another proposal is the imposition of a re-entry ban to an undocumented. But this proposal wants to include all the undocumented who are still inside The Netherlands. This will make someone who is staying in The Netherlands without valid papers and issued a re-entry ban, a criminal. And as a criminal, he/she loses the right to apply for legal stay.
Because of the worsening situation of undocumented migrants and refugees, we agreed to campaign against the criminalization of the undocumented;
We have the right to be treated as human beings, we are born free and equal and we have the right to be treated with dignity. We agreed to set up an alliance of migrant organizations and refugees for purposes of the campaign, which we have called the Alliance for Human Rights of the Undocumented (AHRU);
We have laid down the following as basis of our unity:
to give a voice to undocumented migrants and refugees.
to campaign against criminalization of the undocumented because criminalization is immoral, unjust and unconscionable.
to foster unity and cooperation among migrant and refugee organizations and to reach the broadest possible support for the campaign
that the alliance is a platform – a loose network for the campaign
that the activities of the platform shall be: to issue the manifesto of the alliance against criminalization, to launch the campaign, to generate support for our cause from fellow migrants/ refugees and the general Dutch public; and carry-out research, information and education.
In conclusion, we call on all migrants and refugees to close ranks and stand up against the criminalization of undocumented migrants and refugees; we call on them to unite and organize; and we call on the Dutch general public and all peoples of conscience, to support the defense of human rights, and join us in stopping the criminalization of the undocumented.