Esteemed Rector, Esteemed vice-rector, Dear members of the Academic Senate, Dear Director and Vice-Directors of the DIST Department,
We are volunteers and activists who have been aware and committed to defending the lives and human rights of migrants for a long time. We are writing to you about the recent news of Turin Polytechnic being associated with Frontex.
We save women, men and children from shipwrecks in the Mediterranean on a daily basis. We support the victims of European xenophobic policies along all of the EU’s internal and external borders with various forms of solidarity. These policies force people into chronic marginalisation where they have to wait for months or years for the possible redemption from a system in which racism is systemic and institutional violence is structural. We have been forced to deal with shortsighted and unjust policies for years, with a model of management of the migration phenomenon that in the European landscape takes shape through the Frontex machine. A para-military agency, called to protect the borders from an external threat artfully built. A threat that is founded and nourished by the colonial logic of the “other than oneself”: of the foreign body to be expelled at any cost and by any means.
The policies of Fortress Europe have killed 44,764 people since 1993: drowned in the Mediterranean; shot at borders; killed after being tortured and abused, and following deportations. Anti-migration policies reproduce themselves: when walls go up, people are forced to seek less frequented and therefore more dangerous routes; when freedom of movement is denied, the human trafficking industry is nurtured. Frontex is operationally and symbolically at the center of this liberticidal machine. Is it this machine that you want associated with your university’s name? Is trading services with an agency on trial at the European Court of Justice for the violation of human rights, and that violently pushes people back across borders – violating the Geneva Convention on the right of asylum, something to be proud of? Is it within these contradictions that you intend to train the new generation of humanist engineers?
As people who are aware of these mechanisms and who witness them, we cannot help but feel terror at Frontex’ the progressive advances in academic circles – when universities should be the spokespersons and examples of knowledge of human development that is firmly anchored in ethical principles. It is unacceptable to us that, within a public university, one can become complicit in a mission to hunt for migrants, and offer one’s support to the militarisation of borders and aggressive patrolling. The university cannot contribute to the production of potential strategic weapons – such as cartographic maps – because it would give them a scientific value, thus allowing Frontex to use a material that is presumably neutral, but which translates into passive participation in inhuman and criminal acts. Data is not neutral, nor is its use – especially if Frontex is to take advantage of it.
It is starting from the experiences of others, of which we have collected endless testimonies, that we invite you to reflect and act – by terminating the contract with Frontex.
Thanking you in advance for your response,
The signatories/the petitioners:
Agir Pour la Paix
Associazione Mesa Popular ODV
Border Violence Monitoring Network
Forum Antirazzista Palermo
Le Veglie contro le morti in mare
Linea d’Ombra ODV
Mani Rosse Antirazziste
MEDITERRANEA Saving Humans – APS
One Bridge To Idomeni
Rete Antirazzista Catanese
Rete Milano odv
Stop Border Violence
Torino per Moria
Un Ponte di Corpi
Watch-The-Med Alarm Phone