Overcome All Borders - UNITED Against Intolerance

Proceedings from the UNITED conference near Malaga, Spain - 4th-8th May 2015


  1. From 4th to 9th May, activists from all over Europe met near Malaga, Spain for a conference organised by UNITED for Intercultural Action. Founded in 1992, UNITED is a network of European organisations focusing on antifascism, antiracism and antinationalism. Entitled "Overcome All Borders - UNITED Against Intolerance", the Malaga conference aimed to deal with the issues around European migration policies, the treatment of migrants and other minorities in European society, and the ongoing problems caused by far-right groups across the continent.
  2. This conference was part of the project Think Globally - Act Locally: Grassroot Networking and Campaigning Against Racism" a partnership between UNITED and Greek Council for Refugees, Movimiento contra la Intolerancia (Spain), Foundation of Subjective Values (Hungary), and One World Association - SCI Poland. The programme was developed with the additional help of UNITED network organisations Popular Action Against Impunity (Spain), National Integration Centre (Latvia), No Borders Project - Social Action Centre (Ukraine), Vereinigung Verfolgten des Naziregimes (Germany), ZARA - Zivilcourage und Antirassismus Arbeit (Austria), as well as staff and volunteers at the UNITED secretariat in Amsterdam.
  3. The timing of the conference proved prescient; on 19th April, less than two weeks before the conference began, hundreds of people were feared dead after a boat carrying migrants across the Mediterranean capsized off the Italian island of Lampedusa.
  4. This tragedy shocked people all over Europe and was widely covered in the media. It led the to an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers on 20th April, where the EU set out a ten-point package of measures that included boosting search and rescue missions, destroying smugglers' boats and sending migrants back home. It did little, however, to tackle the roots of the problem - the fatal policies of Fortress Europe which, according to UNITED's List of Migrant Deaths, have caused the deaths of over 20,000 people since 1993.
  5. Events in the Mediterranean and the lacklustre EU response sparked NGOs all over Europe into action. In one notable protest on 28th April, activists from the French group Collectif pour une autre politique migratoire deployed a 100 metre-long print of UNITED's List of Migrant Deaths at the EU Parliament building in Strasbourg.
  6. Against this backdrop, in the build-up to the conference members of the International Preparatory Group gave statements on what they expected from the conference, and what they hoped it would achieve.
  7. Participants arrived at the conference on Monday 4th May.
  8. Tuesday

  9. The conference got underway on Tuesday with speeches by Valentin Gonzalez and Esteban Ibarro Bianco of the Spanish NGO Movimiento Contra la Intolerancia (MCI).