About the Walk of Shame

Core Problem

As activists, NGOs, politicians and European citizens who fight for the rights of refugees, we feel powerless in the face of the inhumane treatment of people seeking asylum in Europe. After the Relocation Decisions of 2015, no European-wide attempt to solve the crisis is being made anymore.

All the help given by volunteers and NGOs is helpful but doesn’t provide any solutions, since the bureaucracy of the asylum system and the conditions of the refugee camps are damaging people incurably.

All the petitions and demonstrations held by activists and NGOs haven’t changed the utter dehumanisation of people that is going on at the European borders. And no real change is to be foreseen in the near future. Activists and helpers will continue, but who will raise the alarm about the sorrowful state of the European values? Who will counter the dehumanising effects of the European migration system?

 

Project

Small groups of 3 to 5 persons (selected by the WoS Team) will walk the Balkans between 9 April and 9 May (Europe Day).

A larger group of people will ‘Join from Home’. They will share the stories, pictures and live broadcasts from the Walking groups and organise events. The Walking groups will abstain from European privileges such as staying in hotels or eating in restaurants that are off-limits to migrants (except border crossing, then passports will be used). Instead they will join the refugees who walk the Balkans whenever possible.

Every day at 6pm CET, a Walk of Shame Live Broadcast will be streamed from the route. Conversations that happen during the day will be shared in the ‘ConversationsFromCalais’ format.

 

Organisers

The Walk of Shame was initiated by European activists connected to Let’s Bring Them Here (We Gaan Ze Halen) and Civil March for Aleppo.

They have organised several international demonstrations over the past few years and decided to join forces, together with newcomers who had to walk the Balkan route themselves. Their reach is significant and both parties are well-connected with and respected by a fair amount of NGOs, politicians, refugees and citizens in Europe. Their work is accomplished by successful crowdfunding campaigns and a lot of professional voluntary work.

 

Timeline

The Walk of Shame campaign will be launched on February 26, 2020. The campaign is aimed to raise awareness, create buzz and gather sympathizers through local events in European cities.

The actual Walk of Shame was supposed to happen for from April 9th until May 9th (Europe Day). But we worry to transmit the COVID-19 virus to people, who have nearly no access to medical support. That’s why will not be walking in April and May, but use the time to connect without walking.

 

Walk

  1. Greece – Northern Macedonia
  2. Northern Macedonia – Serbia
  3. Serbia – Bosnia
  4. Bosnia – Croatia
  5. Slovenia – Italy

 

Local Events

Local events will be announced.

 

Partnering

Joining this project can be a unique opportunity to team up with citizens from all over Europe to expose the utter failure of border politics. It also is a signal to European citizens: a signal that we can no longer expect political solutions anytime soon. The civil society therefore has to do its best to counter the dehumanising effects of our politicians’ inaction. The Walk leads up to Europe Day on 9 May, offering a unique moment to turn once again the attention of governments and the media towards:

  1. The failure of the European Union when it comes to uphold the human rights of people seeking asylum;
  2. The dehumanisation of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants by connecting civilians with the people who are victimised.

We are happy to give you a chance to:

  1. Send a representative from your organisation to join the Walk for a certain period of time;
  2. Organise a local Walk of Shame event;
  3. Share what’s happening during the Walk.

 

Why supporting the Walk of Shame?

The tone of this action is realistic. It is not about a political solution that is not to be foreseen in the near future. It is not about shoes, food and tents, although we know these are extremely important. The focus of this action is on the dehumanising effects of ‘Fortress Europe’ and points out that rehumanising is the focus that is needed at every border crossing and refugee camp. We have been protesting or helping out in refugee camps and we’ve seen how much this ‘humane connection’ focus is needed.

Together, we can:

  • Unite forces to denounce the current politics of the EU regarding asylum seekers, migrants and refugees
  • Reinforce international links between organisations and activists, for better future campaigns
  • Make sure that Europe Day will be about migration politics too
  • Create a new angle to the story that’s been unfolding over the last years
  • Create an opportunity for civilians, politicians, journalists and others to make the situations of people seeking refuge up close and personal

 

Goals

  • 12 Walking teams: 3 teams of 3-5 carefully selected people every week, with participants representing at least 10 different European countries;
  • A series of local Events enabling those who cannot walk to take part (8 countries);
  • A daily Walk of Shame Live Broadcast from 9 April to 9 May;
  • At least 1 article about the situation connected to the WOS in every EU country;
  • Several MPs and MEPs using the Walk to bring our message to Parliaments and policy-makers;
  • Twice a week, a podcast with news from the route.

 

Contact information

Rikko Voorberg, rikkovoorberg@gmail.com, +31626218187 (also WhatsApp) – Dutch, English

Irene Hollebrandse, ihollebrandse@gmail.com, +31621404922 (also WhatsApp) – Dutch, English

Anna Alboth, anna.alboth@gmail.com, +491781426627 (also WhatsApp) – Polish, English

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