Rotterdam BIJ1 attended the monthly gathering that is held in front of the immigrant detention center in Rotterdam. We wrote down and recited the following words:
What can you possibly say while standing here? The people standing here, surrounding us, all think the same things when it comes to how we should treat refugees and asylum-seekers. The people these words are meant for are inside, locked up.
These people came to Europe in search of a better future. But thanks to our 'rules', they now find themselves in inhumane and hopeless situations. Locked up as if they are criminals, even though they did nothing wrong.
It's unacceptable that refugees drown on a daily basis while 'Fortress Europe' keeps its' gates firmly shut. A large part of European citizens, the Dutch being no exception, believe we have no obligation towards these people.
The fact we're born in a rich country such as this one comes with a lot of rights and privileges. We believe that having such privileges should come with an obligation to help those who don't. Standing here, we honestly can't even believe a facility such as this one exists.
The fact that we have a prison where people running for their lives are locked up, people who left everything behind to run from war, violence, oppression, poverty, racism, and discrimination, people from countries where they simply aren't safe, is something we can never understand nor accept.
BIJ1 stands for radical equality and economic justice.
We wholeheartedly believe in these values and that comes with empathy towards those running from war and poverty. We want refugees to be treated humanely.
Our manifesto says the following on these issues:
- Refugees without a criminal record should never be in prison.
- The parents of children born in the Netherlands belong here.
- People fleeing a country because of their gender identity or sexual orientation should always be allowed to stay.
- We must actively save refugees on the Mediterranean Sea and provide new places to stay for the refugees currently stuck in Greece and Italy.
It's hard to stand here, as these facilities stand for everything we don't believe in. Refugees deserve our support compassion, not stress and a jail cell. If it were up to us, this facility would close its' doors today.
Refugees are welcome here. Still, we see refugees from the lgbtqi+ community not being safe, we see children being moved from one facility to the next, we see children born here being thrown out of the country to a place they've never been and a language they do not speak.
We will never believe in the ideas that refugees and asylum seekers are 'strangers' whom we should hate and keep at a distance. They are people that have seen and lived through things we, people privileged enough to be born in this country, can't even imagine. Everybody is from this world and this world should belong to everybody.