21st January 1997
Ten months ago, three hundred African men and women began their struggle for the right to live and work in France. In August 1996 they were violently removed from a church - St Bernard - which they had occupied. In response to this, some of these men and women began hunger strikes, in one instance, the hunger strike lasted for more than fifty days. Every week the Authorities are expelling more people without regard for human rights.
Thousands of 'Sans Papiers' from 40 different countries have joined the struggle since August 1996 and have received help from a coordinating group based in Paris. The 'Sans Papiers' movement became national when local groups, throughout France, decided to unite and combine their actions. They began national campaigns and awareness raising with the aim of enabling the 'Sans Papiers' obtain residency permits for all.
The supporters of the 'Sans Papiers' movement include trade unions, left wing organisations, community groups, people committed to democratic rights and artists. This struggle is becoming a central issue in French politics and life.
The 'Sans Papiers' movement are now in need of international solidarity and contact with other groups and movements around the world. Immigrants in many European countries including those from the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany and the USA can all benefit from sharing information and support. They also need the active support of organisations, groups and individuals who are willing to show their commitment to freedom.
We urge you to send a letter of protest to the French government and to the president. A draft letter outlining our concerns follows.
We are very concerned about the way your government is treating the 'Sans Papiers' in France. Despite the actions they have taken which include life-threatening hunger strikes, numerous protests and demonstrations of solidarity, your government continues to refuse them the basic right to reside and work in France.
We admire their courage and determination. Despite their imprisonment, shameful deportations, general repression and harrassment, they continue to struggle for dignity and freedom. They are fighting for our freedom too.
We therefore demand:
Send your protest urgently to:
M. le Premier Ministre
58, rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris
fax:++ (331) 45 44 15 72
M. le President de la Republique
55, rue du fbg. St. Honore, 75008 Paris
fax: ++ (331) 47 42 24 65
Please send a copy to:
Coordination Nationale des 'Sans-Papiers'
22, rue Pajol, 75018 Paris, France
fax ++ (331) 46 07 16 19
To know more about the 'Sans-papiers' fight visit their WEB site, in French, German, English, Italian, Spanish, Wolof and Saninke: