Solidarity Appeal issued by the Diawara Committee
December 7th, 1998 [pajol]

Translation: Iain français / english

The "Sans Papiers" in France have now been fighting for more than two years to obtain legal residence papers from successive French governments. Demonstrations, occupations and hunger strikes have continued in support of their demand for recognition of their basic rights to escape from the shadows of illegality, where they have been consigned by xenophobic laws, and to live and work in dignity.

The election of a left-of-centre government last year kindled considerable hope among the Sans-Papiers. However, despite the pre-election promises, the new Prime Minister, Mr Jospin, has not abolished the previous government's sinister "Pasqua Laws" on immigration, whilst new laws of similar inspiration have now been adopted by this so-called "left-wing" government. Half of the 120,000 Sans-Papiers who came forward at the government's invitation to submit formal applications for regularisation have been given a provisional residence permit for one year, whereas the other half has been rejected and forced back into illegality, at the mercy of the police, who now know their names and addresses.

Tens of thousands of other Sans-Papiers who had not put any trust in the "case-by-case" regularisation process established by the Jospin government are also at the mercy of repression and deportation. The fate reserved to all these undocumented immigrants in France can be seen at its most sinister in the prison sentence imposed on Diawara.

Below is the Solidarity Appeal issued by the Diawara Committee:


"On November 26th, 1998, obeying the policy of firmness laid down by the Prime Minister, Lionel JOSPIN, a French court passed a sentence intended to serve as example. Sirine DIAWARA was sentenced to one year in prison and was promptly arrested on the spot, in the courthouse itself. In March 1998, he and his comrades had occupied the Churches of Notre-Dame de la Gare and Saint-Jean de Montmartre in Paris in support of their demand for legal residence papers. He was one of the undocumented immigrants arrested at random after the occupation. At the time of his deportation by plane, a number of other passengers protested and demonstrated their solidarity until they succeeded in having him taken off the plane.



Yes, Sirine DIAWARA is an example.

An example of the unrelenting repression suffered by all "paperless" foreigners in France and Europe. An example for all those who struggle for the respect of human rights in France and for equal access to these rights for all. An example, because the latest law by Interior Minister Mr Chevènement strikes at us all, whether we are "sans-papiers" or supporters fighting by their side for the regularisation of all undocumented immigrants and against deportations. An example, because the sentencing of DIAWARA is an attempt to break the chain of solidarity and to prevent unity in the struggle. For these reasons, we are launching an appeal for mobilisation in order to obtain the liberation of Sirine DIAWARA and all his "paperless" comrades."

December 7th, 1998

Name First name.........................


Against racism and the xenophobia of state,
We call for civil disobedience and solidarity in our struggle!

Please return the petition to:
Comité Diawara
C/O Librairie Le Point du Jour, 58 rue Gay Lussac, Paris 75005

Or by e-mail to: