Banner drop protest organised to call for residency rights for all

A photo of a banner with the text "Shut Down Fortress Europe" written on it.

A banner drop has been organised by a collective of groups across Europe to call for residency papers to be granted to asylum seekers and migrants. Due to take place at 3pm on Sunday 19 April, the groups have argued that the governments should “immediately grant unconditional and indefinite residence rights to everyone subject to immigration control”. 

And they’ve demanded that people in refugee camps on the border of Europe be immediately allowed to reunite with family members already here.

Included in the collective are Demands from a Pandemic, Black Lives Matter Denmark, Queer Action Ireland, and Migrants and Ethnic-minorities for Reproductive Justice (MERJ). Sunday will mark the third banner drop that the groups have organised in the last few weeks.

An “urgent” situation

In a joint press release the groups said that the current situation is “urgent”. Those without residency rights are currently “locked out of” access to various basic welfare entitlements. As a result, they are “disproportionately vulnerable to violence and premature death”. And although “this has always been true”, the current pandemic has made it “starkly more visible”. 

In the case of Ireland, the groups also highlighted the dangers that people living in direct provision are currently facing. They pointed out that:

The potential risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19 is particularly high due to the state’s negligence in providing adequate protection to these communities.

“Essential” and “undervalued”

Also emphasised by the groups is the role that migrants play in the workforce who work in “essential” but “undervalued jobs”. Many of the people working in these jobs are classified as “unskilled”. And because of this, Ireland and the UK continue in “barring their entry under classist immigration regimes”. 

But it’s also argued that “people should not have to prove themselves as ‘useful’ to be deserving of dignity and rights”. 

Ending direct provision and deportations

The groups demand that all asylum seekers and migrants be given “Immediate, unconditional and indefinite leave to remain”. On top of this, they’ve called for an end to direct provision, deportation, and detention. And that people stuck at Europe’s borders be given “Safe passage to Ireland and the UK”. 

A spokesperson for the event previously told The Beacon that:

In terms of the move taken by the Portuguese government, we are in support of this and would like to see a similar move made from the UK government that extends to full residence status being given to all along with the “luxuries” of access to safe housing, health and social care services. 

Featured image via Demands from a Pandemic


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