45° Session on the Violations of the Human Rights of Migrant and Refugee Peoples

The Human Right to Health of Migrant and Refugee Peoples Berlin Hearing, 23-25 October 2020




1. Introduction

The Session of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) convened in Berlin on 23-25 October 2020, in response to a request submitted by a broad spectrum of groups and movements from Germany and various other European countries, coordinated and represented by the German branch of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear Wars (IPPNW), coincided with the concluding event of a process opened in Barcelona in July 2017 and developed through a series of public hearings and judgments held by the PPT: in Palermo (18-20 December 2017), Paris (4-5 January 2018), Barcelona (29 June-1 July 2018), London (3-4 November 2018), with preliminary conclusions presented to the European Parliament in Brussels (9 April 2019).
The detailed documentation of the proceedings is available on the PPT’s website and should be considered an essential component of the overall body of evidence that was taken into due consideration in the formulation of the decisions of the Jury of the present Session.
Over the last few years, the dramatic evolution of the situation of the migrant and refugee people has confirmed the permanence of what in the opening Indictment presented to the PPT was qualified as the necropolitics of the states involved, further aggravated by the absence of any substantive remedial measures in the face of massive violations of human and peoples’ rights, as well as the adoption of stricter security measures, both at the borders and within national legislations.
Confronted with this worsening scenario, the Session convened in Berlin adopted the following objectives as its terms of reference:
– to provide a general update on the already available evidence of the gravity of systemic violations and corresponding responsibilities;
– to integrate the broad spectrum of documentation with a specific focus on the situation of the migrant and refugee people in Germany: the fundamental human right to health (as a comprehensive indicator of the individual and collective right to a life with dignity, which is also a constitutional obligation and guarantee) was adopted as a specifically informative point of view, together with due consideration of Germany’s role and responsibilities in European policies;
– to assess whether and how very recent tragic events, which occurred after the PPT report was presented in Brussels, were addressed by the new European Parliament and Commissions comprising measures that would demand modifications to past PPT Judgments.
The present report is therefore structured as follows:
a) a synthetic overview of the current factual and juridical migration context within the European framework;
b) the presentation of evidence submitted during this Session through testimonies, delivered in different formats (in presence and remote, oral, visual and written materials), due to the logistic impositions of the current pandemic;
c) an overall qualification of the consistency, strength, anthropological, social, political and juridical significance of the evidence related, on the one hand, to the various forms of violations and, on the other, to national and European behaviours and responsibilities;
d) the forward-looking decision of the Jury, which considers the obligation of national and European authorities to abide by their role of guarantors of a democratic order, complying with human and peoples’ rights, as the only inclusive remedy to a situation where the defence of the exclusive and excluding national and European interests is the illegitimate priority. The detailed program of the public hearings of the Session which took place in Refugio Berlin (Lenaustraße 3-4, Berlin) is available in the Attachment 1 of this text. Due to the constraints imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, a mixed strategy was adopted to ensure an effective participation of the witnesses, the rapporteurs, and the members of the Jury: the physical presence was restricted to those living in Berlin, while all the others were present throughout the full program on a dedicated platform. The Jury (Attachment 2) was composed by the following members: Luciana Castellina, Italy (Chairperson), Philippe Texier, France (President of the PPT), Teresa Almeida Cravo (Portugal), Leah Bassel (UK), Marina Forti (Italy), Domenico Gallo (Italy), Kira Kosnick (Germany) and Sarah Lincoln (Germany). The Secretariat of the PPT is composed by Simona Fraudatario, coordinator, and Gianni Tognoni, Secretary General. The Indictment (Attachment 3) accepted by the PPT as the basis of the proceedings was notified, according to the PPT Statute, to the German Government through its Embassy in Rome and by certified mail, and to the competent authorities of the European Union by certified mail. The notification included the explicit invitation to nominate a defence. The elaboration of this Judgment has also included access to the written and visual materials supporting the testimonies which could not be fully presented during the public hearings.

For further information: PPT_BERLIN_2020_JUDGMENT_COMPLETO_FINALE