The Charter of Lampedusa is a pact achieved mainly through a constituent grassroots process which brought together various organizations, associations and individuals in Lampedusa from the 31st of January to the 2nd of February 2014. The gathering followed the death of over 600 women, men and children in the shipwrecks of the 3rd and 11th of October 2013, the most recent of a long series of tragedies. The Mediterranean Sea has become a cemetery as a result of current migration control policies.
The Charter is not intended as a draft law, legislative proposal or as a petition to governments. All the groups and individuals who undersign the Charter of Lampedusa commit to putting it into practice and to defending its principles through our endeavours, in the ways, languages and actions that each of us considers relevant, whether or not the Charter obtains recognition by current state and/or supra-state institutions.
Context: The Charter of Lampedusa intends the whole planet as its sphere of application. The island of Lampedusa - at the very centre of the Mediterranean - is its place of origin. Lampedusa is a necessary transit point, but it has found itself behind a frontier. Current government and migration control policies have led to tens of thousands dying in their attempt to reach the island. With the Charter of Lampedusa we want, instead, to return the island and its islanders to their normal roles.
Through this subversion of the predominant economic and political rules, we want to start moving our world forward.For many years the European Union has created a political, territorial and existential geography based on exclusion and the limitation of mobility. This geography serves only economic interests. It produces a neat distinction between those who have the right to move freely and those forced to face endless obstacles, not least of which is the risk of losing their life, in order to move from place to place. It also engenders a deepening of inequalities, which have already been exacerbated by the economic crisis which has been ongoing for almost a decade. We declare that such migration policies are totally unacceptable, because the only things they foster are inequality and exploitation. Starting from the construction of a freedom-based alternative, founded on new prospects for individual lives, with no distinctions made on the basis of nationality, citizenship and/or place of birth, the Charter of Lampedusa calls for a radical transformation in the social, economic, political, cultural and legal relations which form the basis of global injustice. The Charter of Lampedusa states that, as human beings, we all inhabit the planet Earth as a shared space.
This common environment must be respected. Differences must be considered as assets, a source of new opportunities, and must never be exploited to build barriers. The Charter of Lampedusa has two parts. This division aims to highlight the tension between our desires and convictions on the one hand, and the reality of the world we live in on the other:
Part I: Our founding principles through which we aim to develop the struggles and actions inspired by the Charter of Lampedusa.
Part II: Our response to current migration policies and militarization of national borders. The combination of these produces inequality, racism, discrimination, exploitation, confinement and the death of fellow human beings.