Maryam Namazie
Published in Hambastegi English
June 20, 2002

June 20 is International Refugee Day. In ‘commemoration’ of this day, EU governments are planning to further restrict the right to asylum at the Seville Summit during 21 to 22 June. In Seville, they want to further combat ‘illegal immigration’ (the new catch phrase for asylum seekers) and plan a common asylum policy. In fact, though, they already have a common asylum policy of closed borders and repressive measures that deter, refuse and deport. They only want to enhance and develop it.

June 20 is also a day that commemorates the victims of the Islamic offensive against the Iranian revolution. Beginning on this day in 1981, the Islamic regime attacked, suppressed, threw acid in the faces of unveiled women, and daily executed hundreds of people in order to secure its rule. As a result, 100,000 people were executed and more than two decades of Islamic reaction took hold in Iran. In ‘commemoration’ of this genocide, too, European Union foreign ministers have agreed to open trade and political talks with Iran. In fact, though, they already have ‘talks’ with Iran. (In 2000, bilateral trade exceeded 12 billion dollars with the EU being the Islamic regime’s main trade partner.) They only want to enhance and develop it.

These EU ‘commemorations’ are nothing more than two sides of the same coin. One denies protection to the survivors of repression, labelling them illegal, bogus, criminal and terrorist while the other offers a helping hand to an illegal, criminal and terrorist government that represses and is the root cause of the Iranian and the region’s refugee flow.

All the sanitized justifications for the Seville Summit and their ‘talks’ with Iran cannot hide the fact that they are advancing a policy that puts profits and repressive regimes first, and denies justice for the victims and people fleeing, living under and resisting Islamic rule. In fact, the EU’s ‘commemoration’ is a continued tribute to repression and a further affront to humanity.

Instead, on June 20, we socialists, asylum seekers, progressive humanity, trade unionists, labour organisers, and rights activists are holding our own commemoration of this day. We are organising our own demonstrations, festivals and summits and issuing our own declarations that remember those murdered and killed by repressive regimes and racist asylum policies and that defend humanity and the right to live lives worthy of human beings whether in Iran, Northern Iraq, Iraq, Afghanistan, or in the EU, Australia, or elsewhere. Instead of political and trade ‘talks’ with the Islamic regime, we are calling for the prosecution of the Islamic regime’s leaders, both right wing and so-called reformist, for their crimes against humanity. Instead of higher walls for fortress Europe, we are calling for equal rights for all those who seek freer, safer, better lives. This is our commemoration of June 20.

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