Collège des médiateurs
14, rue d'Assas
F-75006 Paris, France
Tel/fax +33/1 42 031956
November 18th, 1996

français  / english

The following is our translation from French of an appeal 
published by the French Collège des médiateurs in spring 1996, 
in support of the sans-papiers, immigrants without residence 
papers in France. 
English translation by Nicholas Busch

For 20 years, the problem of immigration has been a major political issue in various Western European countries and a challenge for the rule of democracy.

Short-sighted policy objectives have for too long delayed a solution to the immigration problem. Yet, faced with a confused public opinion, easily manipulated by extremist rhetoric, a just solution is now a civic priority.

All citizens of Europe - above all those with public responsibilities or moral authority - must unite their efforts to lead the way to a new forward-looking policy.

First of all, people must be made aware of the impasse into which the ever more widespread use of restrictive and repressive policies has led. Such policies are both unjust and ineffective. They have no lasting effect and, in the long run, worsen the difficulties they pretend to deal with.

Europe is not a beleaguered fortress. It is not obliged to pull up the drawbridge behind its illusory frontiers.

On the contrary, such a policy of self-confinement is compatible neither with universality, the best of European traditions, nor with the interests of Europe as a leading power in the field of world exports.

Both dignity and realism demand a completely different approach.

Three urgent actions are essential:

Citizens of Europe!

In the age of globalisation, the temptation to withdraw into oneself can only lead to isolation and decline.

By setting an example, both with respect to the protection and promotion of human rights for all people living on its soil and in the search for a genuine co-development between the various continents Europe will best ensure its future.

It falls to all those who believe in mankind to meet the challenge with clearheadedness and generosity!

This appeal was written upon the initiative of the 26 members of the Collège des médiateurs . This body was created in April 1996 in support of the of the sans-papiers (immigrants without residence papers) in France (see CL No.46, p.4).

The appeal was published on 18 November 1996 on the occasion The Convention for a new migration policy in Paris.

All persons who wish to support the appeal are invited to send their signature to:
Collège des médiateurs - 14, rue d Assas, F-75006 Paris, Tel/Fax: +33/1 42 031956,
or by e-mail to:
Christiane Lejaut,
with the following Subject: APPEL_CITOYENS