Dear friends and colleagues,

In less than two weeks, on June 20th 2021, we mark the 20th anniversary of World Refugee Day. The day was held globally for the first time in 2001 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Because of this day, the month of June is, for UNITED, one in which we focus on the List of Refugee Deaths. Since 1993, UNITED has been monitoring the fatal results of Fortress Europe in this list. 

Yesterday, UNITED for Intercultural Action released its yearly update of the list. It has, to our deep regret, grown a lot longer during the past year. The list now has 44,764 entries. 44,764 humans who lost their lives, many of them unknown, unnamed. Many more likely never found. Not by accident, but as a result of the European migration policies. 

Find the list here: 

These are the results of the Fatal Policies of Fortress Europe: 44,764 documented refugee deaths since 1993. Recently, the Guardian revealed that EU countries have used illegal pushbacks to stop at least 40,000 asylum seekers from crossing the borders. The methods have been linked to the death of more than 2000 people. Human rights are structurally violated. 

Meanwhile, the EU is preparing the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. The focus seems to be more on making borders more difficult to cross, rather than on creating safe and legal ways to enter the European Union. 

We do not want to keep adding names to our List of Deaths. It is really time for change. Everyone has a right to live, and no human being should die while trying to get a better life. We call on activists to make people aware of the ongoing crisis at Europe’s borders. Death by policy must come to an end! 

Using the list

UNITED’s List of Refugee Deaths is used by many activists and organisations all across Europe to call attention to the many people who lose their lives every year. Some can still use your help. We want to highlight two initiatives here: 44000 names and Beim Namen Nennen. 

If you are interested in seeing more actions, feel free to take a look at UNITED’s social media channels, where we echo actions that are taking place and share ideas about how to use the list. 

If you want to use the list for an action, please take a look at for more information. 

44000 names - Migreat

Around 20 June, World Refugee Day, people across Europe will commemorate the 44.000+ victims who died on European borders in the past years. Lives that could have been saved, if EU policies would value migrant lives over deterrence. From Greece to Poland to Belgium, there will be commemoration vigils to read the names of the victims aloud. To honour their lives and to demand change.

→ Organise a memorial in your own city or in the capital city of your country, reading the names of some of the 44.000 border victims. You are joined by people across Europe. We will develop a toolkit with press releases, promotional material, photos, flyers, texts and videos for you to use - the memorial protest can be as big or small and thus as easy or hard to organize as you want!


→ Make memorial signs for victims. Get wood planks (10x80 cm) and write the information about the victims on it (if known: name, age, country of origin, date of death, place of death). Do this in public, like on a square or a park, to engage other people with this action. Or just do it at home! Find a place to exhibit them on 20 June, maybe a beach or a park, where people can visit and pay their honours to the deceased. 

All over Europe, people are reading the names and making signs of those who died. Together we remember and make sure they did not die in vain. #migrantsmatter #saytheirnames #dontletthemdrown #savelives

We will send you information, material, tips and everything else you need. Just register here: and we will be in touch! E-mail: [email protected] / website: / Facebook:

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Beim Namen Nennen

In Switzerland, several actions are organised as part of the campaign Beim Namen Nennen. Actions will take place in Basel, Bern, Chur, Genève, Lausanne, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, St. Gallen, Thun and Zurich. 

Public readings of the List of Refugee Deaths will take place in several cities. The names will also be written on pieces of cloth and attached to an installation, shaping public memorials in memory of the deceased. 

Beim Namen Nennen is also organising a postcard action, calling on Swiss politicians to do something about the situation of refugees in Europe. The 6 different outspoken postcards are designed by 6 different artists drawing attention to the Fatal Policies of Fortress Europe. 

There will also be some other cultural and social events, such as theater and film performances, exhibitions, church services, lectures, panel discussions and more. 

Find more information about all the actions on or contact [email protected]


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