Open Letter to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen: The European Commission must prioritise addressing police violence and structural racism in the EU

CC to: Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, Commissioner Helena Dalli

Dear Ms. von der Leyen,

As organisations working for an equal and inclusive Europe, we would like to raise our serious concerns regarding the lack of real reaction of EU leaders regarding police brutality against people of colour in Europe as well as institutional and structural racism, following the killing of George Floyd in the United States and ensuing solidarity protests in Europe and across the world. We were appalled by the statement by EU Commissioner Schinas which delegitimises the public outcry against police brutality and institutional racism in Europe.

On 3 June 2020, Commissioner Schinas was quoted in the Financial Times as saying that events such as the killing of African-American man George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the wave of demonstrations against it, were “not likely . . . to happen in Europe at this scale”. “I do not think that we have issues now in Europe that blatantly pertain to police brutality or issues of race transcending into our systems. But we do have an issue in Europe, which is the issue of inequalities and income distribution — making the best for everyone of what we have.”

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In Solidarity with the Stateless

An urgent call to states, donors and other stakeholders to promote and protect the rights of stateless persons in their COVID-19 responses

We joined 83 other human rights NGOs to make this urgent appeal to States, donors and other stakeholders…

As governments across the world confront the COVID-19 pandemic, facing deeply challenging decisions on protecting public health while averting starvation and warding off economic disaster, it is increasingly evident that in times of crisis, states are largely embracing a “citizens first” approach.

Denied nationality and deprived basic rights and welfare, the stateless were already marginalised before the crisis. They now face even greater, life-threatening marginalisation, with potentially disastrous consequences.

We, the undersigned 84 civil society actors, work on the right to nationality, non-discrimination, and statelessness around the world. We have been tracking and responding to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and state responses to it, on those whose nationality and belonging is denied or under threat. We have observed that in democratic states, measures including border closures and movement restrictions, health assistance, emergency relief and economic stimulus packages, privilege citizens and their concerns. Migrants, refugees, populations at risk of statelessness and the stateless themselves are left behind.

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Reflections on refugees @ sea

#KeepingUpWithTheInterns

Hey all! I hope everyone is safe and taking all the precautions needed.

This week I started writing this blog post on Easter Sunday. My family and I were gathered around the kitchen table with warm food that my sisters and I had prepared. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by my family. As I had this wonderful image in front of me, I could not stop but think about the people stranded at sea. My social media was bombarded with news on how a group of asylum-seekers where stranded at sea. These articles had a profound impact on me and that’s why I decided to write this blog post.

I thought, “at the moment there are groups of men, women and children who are aboard a rubber boat, which has been stranded for more than five days now. They are facing the risk of being left to drown during those days of religious celebration for Christians, since both Malta and Italy closed their ports, having declared that they are unsafe“.

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The nation cannot quietly celebrate Easter whilst men, women and children are drowning on our doorstep.


We urgently call on the Prime Minister to ensure that all persons within Malta’s responsibility are rescued and that their safety is guaranteed. The nation cannot quietly celebrate Easter whilst men, women and children are drowning on our doorstep.

Saving lives and ensuring their disembarkation at a safe place is a fundamental legal obligation and also a moral imperative that can in no way be negotiated or renounced. 

We also reiterate our message of two days ago: Malta must revoke its decision to close its ports to persons rescued at sea, whoever they are.

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An immediate food and shelter initiative is urgently needed! – Joint NGO Press Statement

We are extremely concerned at the increased number of alerts we are receiving from persons who do not have sufficient food for themselves and their families and who are about to be evicted because they are unable to pay rent. Many were at risk of poverty before the COVID-19 outbreak, but now the number of people requiring urgent and immediate assistance is increasing exponentially.

As people lose their jobs or have their wages cut, their ability to meet the most basic needs and those of their family members is being jeopardised. For some, these risks will be mitigated by Government’s support packages or by relying on support provided by social services, the community, family, friends, NGOs or the Church. Yet there are thousands of people who will not be able to receive this life-saving aid. They might not be aware of it or they could not be eligible for it. More worrying, it is becoming increasingly clear that there simply is not enough available aid to support Malta’s most vulnerable persons. We also note last week’s statement by 20 Church entities, expressing similar concerns.

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