We accuse Europe of continual violations of human
rights and the systematic mistreatment of refugees,
migrants and asylum seekers!


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Tribunal 12

Read the written REPORT FROM TRIBUNAL 12 (English / Swedish)







TRIBUNAL 12 – Verdict from the international jury

On May 12, a sharp accusation was directed towards Europe focusing on violations of human rights and a systematic mistreatment of refugees,migrants and asylum seekers. Here is the verdict, signed and agreed upon by the members of the international jury: Nawal El Saadawi, Saskia Sassen, Nuruddin Farah, Sadik J. Al-Azm, Henning Mankell, B.S. Chimni and Parvin Ardalan.

- This was an extraordinary day. The jury were very moved by the presentations. This is the short version, the dry bones – the flesh is missing. We want to add descriptions of some of the cases presented during the day. A second point is that we see asylum seekers and migrants as actors and social forces, not just as victims, says Saskia Sassen, professor at Columbia University, USA.

1. We condemn European governments for violating foundational norms, such as human rights, equal moral worth of all human beings regardless of status, value of residence on the territory, the whole series of norms, which go beyond existing law.

2. We also condemn European governments for violating existing law on how governments should handle asylum seekers, detention and irregular migration.

3. We call for the removal of restrictive practises which prevent asylum seekers and refugees from reaching the territory of Europe.

4. There are alternatives to the existing asylum and refugee regime that have already been advanced by civil society organizations, human rights organisations and refugees themselves, and these alternatives should be considered by European governments.

5. There are weak components in existing practice. Many of these have to do with privatisation of functions that were once government responsibilities. These are very concrete moments in the process which can be changed by governments right now, thereby reducing abusive practices. Examples are the privatising of border control and the increasing tendency to privatize the running of detention centres.

6. Europe’s vibrant civil society, constituted in good part by immigrant struggles for justice, should be a critical Europe-wide force for addressing these abuses. What we are confronting in the realm of government handling of asylum and irregular migration is too important to leave to governments and to the private firms they hire to do some of the work.

Tribunal 12, http://tribunal12.org/, took place on the 12th May at Kulturhuset in Stockholm and through digital live broadcasts on the website. Screenings, activities and events took place in several European cities: http://www.tribunal12takeaction.org/event-map-7521871.

Tribunal 12 was entirely founded on authentic stories from refugees and migrants as well as experts’ presentations, statistics and reports from sources like the UN Refugee Agency, Council of Europe and Amnesty International.

The co-organisers behind Tribunal 12 are Shahrazad – Stories for Life, Kulturhuset in Stockholm and The Swedish Forum for Human Rights. The project is funded by the European Commission through the Culture Programme 2007-2013, Swedish Arts Council, Swedish Authors’ Fund. Partners are ICORN – International Cities for Refuge Network, Riksteatern, Digital Live Arena & Acusticum. Several organisations, companies and individuals support the project in various ways.


Official Trailer for Tribunal 12.

People who flee to Europe are often met with disbelief and suspicion. Many are directly deported at the borders, despite risking their lives. Others are held up in prison-like detention centres lacking basic human rights. Once inside Europe, people are subjected to lengthy and complex asylum processes, often without legal advice. The vast majority of asylum applications are rejected, forcing people to return to extreme dangers. In order to survive, many choose to live hidden without any legal rights.

At Tribunal 12, Europe will be held accountable for these failures.

Inspired by the International War Crimes Tribunal that was formed by Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre in 1967, Tribunal 12 sets out to locate the moral, legal and political responsibilities as well as call for a change within the system.

Tribunal 12 will present four sessions focusing on: border control, the asylum process, undocumented migrants, and detention & deportation. Each session is introduced and led by a prosecutor who will present evidence that may consist of witness statements, expert presentations, statistics, reports and stories. Artistic expressions will form an integral part of the tribunal and the sessions will have a dramaturgical framework. Members of the jury are internationally acclaimed persons active within the fields of philosophy, international law, literature, arts and activism.

The Tribunal 12 sessions will be broadcasted live in theatres and other public spaces throughout Europe, as well as on the project website. Manifestations in connection to the screenings will take place in several European cities. Everybody is invited to support the accusation by digitally signing the website of Tribunal 12. The aim is to create a movement of support and present thousands of individuals, organisations and companies supporting the accusation.

The co-organisers behind Tribunal 12 are Shahrazad – Stories for Life, Kulturhuset in Stockholm and The Swedish Forum for Human Rights. Several partners and beneficiaries supports the project in different ways.



Tribunal 12 is organised by Shahrazad – Stories for Life in close collaboration with Kulturhuset in Stockholm and the Swedish Forum for Human Rights.

Tribunal 12 advocates a change within the European system that currently treats people who flee to Europe disrespectfully and exposes them to systematic violations.

In order to achieve this, Tribunal 12 sets out to make visible what refugees, asylum seekers and migrants are experiencing in their encounter with Europe and:

- Investigate whether human rights are violated.

- Expose the hidden structures that allow for the inhumane treatment of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.

- Locate the moral, legal and political responsibility for the current situation in Europe.

Tribunal 12 is supported by the City of Stockholm, the European Union Culture 2007: multi-annual co-operation grant and the Swedish Forum for Human Rights.


The evidence will be presented to the jury in four sessions focusing on: border control, the asylum process, undocumented migrants, and detention & deportation. Each session is introduced and led by a prosecutor.

Tribunal 12 is currently in the process of gathering evidence in the form of documents, stories, analysis, witness statements and more.

If you would like to contribute with evidence, please contact  evidence@tribunal12.org.


The chair of Tribunal 12 is Arne Ruth, journalist, publicist, social and political writer and debater. He is the former Editor-in- Chief of Dagens Nyheter and visiting professor in Sweden, Norway and the United States. His research and writing focus on European history with emphasis on fascism and current extreme rightwing tendencies in the West. Ruth represents several international cultural and human rights organisations.

Members of the jury are internationally acclaimed persons active within the fields of philosophy, sociology, international law, literature, arts and activism. The jury consists of individuals who are able to contribute with different perspectives and shed light on the issues brought forward through the sessions.

Photo: San Cool

NAWAL EL SAADAWI is an Egyptian writer, feminist, physician and activist. Nawal el Saadawi is a renowned advocate on women’s rights and freedom of expression in the Arab world. She has published numerous novels, short stories and non-fiction addressing women’s issues and criticising oppressive regimes. During the spring 2011 she gave voice to the revolution in Egypt and since then she has contributed with her reflections on the Arab spring.


SASKIA SASSEN is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University, USA. Saskia Sassen is a world-leading expert on issues concerning globalisation and international migration. Her work embraces a broad scope of social, economical and political aspects as well as new technologies, and human rights.


Photo: Philippe Matsas

NURUDDIN FARAH is a one of Africas most prominent writers and advocate for women’s rights in his homeland Somalia. Nuruddin Farah’s extensive literary production brings life to the political and social struggles in the Horn of Africa. He is a perennial nominee for the Nobel Prize.


SADIK J. AL-AZM is a prominent philosopher and critical thinker from Syria who discusses social, political and religious issues in the Arab world. He is also a strong advocate for human rights and freedom of expression. Al-Azm is Professor Emeritus of Modern European Philosophy at the University of Damascus. He has been a visiting professor at universities around the world and currently holds a position at the University of Bonn.


Photo: Lina Ikse Bergman

HENNING MANKELL is one of the world’s best selling authors, an acclaimed playwright and a human rights activist. He lives in Sweden and Mozambique. In Maputo, he is the artistic director of Teatro Avenida. Mankell is also a constant campaigner for literacy and freedom of expression.


Photo: Fredrik Elg

PARVIN ARDALAN is a journalist, writer and women’s rights activist. Ardalan is one of the founders of the One Million Signatures Campaign raising awareness for women’s equal rights in her native Iran. In 2007 she was awarded the Olof Palme Prize. Since 2010, Ardalan lives in Malmö through ICORN:s guest writers programme.


B.S. CHIMNI is a world-leading scholar of international law and international refugee law. Chimni is a Professor and Chairman, Centre for International Legal Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, India. He has been a visiting professor and scholar at several international universities.


Tribunal 12 at Kulturhuset in Stockholm will be divided into four sessions and conclude with a open discussion among the members of the jury. The public is invited to attend the sessions at Kulturhuset or view the live broadcast on the website or in theatres and public spaces throughout Europe. Public manifestations will take place at Sergels torg outside Kulturhuset and in other European cities.

To find a screening near you, please visit: www.tribunal12takeaction.org


The preliminary programme is subject to change and will be updated throughout the planning period.

10.00-11.30 Session: Border control

Prof. Jacquline Bhabha, expert
Prof. Leanne Weber, expert
Maria Selbing, actor, represents Reza
Misagh Sharifian, actor, represents Abdifatah
Sara Turpin, actor, represents Bahram

12.30-14.00 Session: Asylum process
Prof. Matthew Gibney, expert
Prof. Gregor Noll, expert
Pelle Hanæus, actor, represents Tamirat
Oldoz Javidi, actor, represents Ehsan
Sandra Malmquist, actor, represents Faten

14.00-15.30 Manifestation activities at Sergels torg

15.30-17.00 Session: Undocumented migrants
Prof. Bridget Anderson, expert
Dr. Henry Ascher, expert
Isa Aouifia, actor, represents Kenan
Per Burell, actor, represents Rita
Ida Löfholm, actor, represents Olga

17.00-18.00 Manifestation activities at Sergels torg

18.00-19.30 Session: Detention & deportation
Prof. Nicholas de Genova, expert
Liz Fekete, expert
Lena Carlsson, actor, represents Ali
Richard Sseruwagi, actor, represents Alex
Helena Thornqvist, actor, represents Faith

19.30-21.00 Manifestation activities at Sergels torg

21.00-22.30 Discussion amongst the members of the jury.


Prof. Bridget Anderson is Deputy Director and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford. She has conducted research on the politics of immigration controls, immigration and low waged labour markets, trafficking, immigration enforcement and citizenship.

Prof. Henry Ascher is a visiting teacher at the Department of Social Medicine and Public Health, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. His research and teaching concerns refugees, migration and health. He is one of the founders of the Rosengrenska Clinic, a voluntary network of health workers with the aim to secure health care for undocumented migrants.

Prof. Jacqueline Bhabha is the Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Director
of Research at Harvard’s François-Xavier Bagnoud Centre for Health and Human Rights, and Adjunct Lecturer on Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. She has published extensively on issues
of migration, refugee protection, children’s rights and statelessness.

Prof. Nicholas De Genova is currently Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London with previous academic teaching appointments at Columbia University. His current research concerns the politics of immigration, race, and citizenship in the United States, and the proliferation of securitisation around human mobility on a global scale.

Liz Fekete is Executive Director of the Institute of Race Relations, UK, and has written and lectured widely on issues of migration, race and security in Europe. She is a consultant on refugee and immigration issues to a number of organisations and was an expert witness at the Basso Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal and the World Tribunal on Iraq.

Prof. Matthew J. Gibney is Reader in Politics and Forced Migration at the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford and Official Fellow of Linacre College, Oxford. He has published many scholarly articles and books on issues relating to refugees, migration and citizenship.

Prof. Gregor Noll is the Chair of International Law
at the Faculty of Law, Lund University in Sweden. He has researched on refugee and migration law, and theory of international law. He directed a major study on Protected Entry Procedures, commissioned and published in 2003 by the European Commission.

Dr Leanne Weber is Senior Larkins Research Fellow at the School of Political and Social Inquiry, Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. During May 2012 she is also a visiting scholar at the European University Institute in Florence. Her research and writing covers many aspects of border control from the perspective of critical criminology, and she has recently published a book, with Sharon Pickering, on border-related deaths.


Tribunal 12 welcomes organisers of manifestations, screenings and activities in connection to the digital broadcasts. For further information on how to organise your own event, please contact: event@tribunal12.org.

Leading up to Tribunal 12, there will be a number of related events and activities that will be listed here and announced through email alerts. Would you like to receive news and updates via email? Join the accusation here or send us an email.


Create your own event and use our graphical kit, available in English, Spanish and French:
English: Flyer (A6 format), Hand-out (A4 format), Poster (A2 format)
Spanish: Flyer (A6 format), Hand-out (A4 format), Poster (A2 format)
French: Flyer (A6 format), Hand-out (A4 format), Poster (A2 format)


ABF Malmö
Susanna Alakoski, writer
Karin Alfredsson, journalist and writer
ARF (Film och kultur för mänskliga rättigheter)
Astrid Assefa, actress and director
Asylgruppen i Norrköping
Étienne Balibar, philosopher and writer
Channa Bankier, artist
Botkyrka Konsthall
Café Bistrot Oh la la!
Anna-Klara Bratt, editor and journalist
Clandestino Institut
Dansk PEN
developing partners cic
Etikkommissionen i Sverige
European Council on Refugees and Exiles
European Network Against Racism
Ali Esbati, economist and analyst
Fahamu Refugee Programme
Ferrocarril Clandestino
Folkets Park i Malmö
Folkets Bio
Folkets Bio i Malmö
GRUPA 484, Belgrade
Gävle Konstcentrum
Göteborgs Stadsteater
Global Stories
KG Hammar, former archbishop
IAN Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, Belgrade
International Cities of Refuge Network
Sholeh Irani, journalist
January 12 association
Jonas Hassen Khemiri, writer
Christina Höj Larsen, politician Left party
Babben Larsson, comedian
Mian Lodalen, writer and journalist
Läkare i Världen
Jonatan Macznik, Swedish Liberal Youth League
Migrants’ Rights Network
Netzwerk für junge Flüchtlinge aus Afghanistan /
Network for young Refugees from Afghanistan in Germany
Özz Nûjen, comedian and stand-up artist
Passaporta, Brussels
Suzanne Osten, director and honorary Doctor
Periodismo Humano
Agneta Pleijel, writer
Pro Asyl
PUMA Scenkonst
Karolina Ramqvist, författare och journalist
Damon Rasti, debater and club organizer
Gudrun Schyman, feminist and politician
Madeleine Sjöstedt, politician Liberal Party
Stiftung :do
Studio Oscuro
Studio Acusticum
Svenska PEN
Sveriges Författarförbund
Teater Foratt i Malmö
Teaterföreningen Lyset i Karlskoga
Teater Nolby i Karlskoga
Teatr Weimar
Tempo Dokumentärfestival
Lina Thomsgård, founder of Rättviseförmedlingen
Writers´and Artists´association Kiila

Would you like your organisation or company to be listed here? Sign the accusation and send us an email with the name to be listed together with website address: support@tribunal12.org

Olle Alm
Amanda Arned Senneby
Annika Berner
Jonas Eriks
Frida Everling
Lina Forsgren
Gorki Glaser-Müller
Atsushi Hagihara
Linda Hallstan
Hanna Heilborn
Per Holmquist
Sofia Hydman
Kristoffer Larberg
Isabel Leal Bergstrand
Patricia Miodek
Patrik Mollwing
Viktor Nyström
Lukas Nässil
Bettina Schultz


To participate or obtain press accreditation, please send us an email.

Please contact us by email or call +46 73 700 86 98 for press images and interview bookings.

High resolution press images can be downloaded at Kulturhuset in Stockholm’s website.


Tribunal 12 is organised by Shahrazad – Stories for Life in close collaboration with Kulturhuset in Stockholm, the Swedish Forum for Human Rights (MR-dagarna) and ICORN – International Cities Of Refuge Network.

The Organising Committee is responsible for the overall realisation of the project and supported by a Reference Committee.

Oskar Ekström/ Project manager
Farnaz Arbabi/ Artistic director, writer
Henrik Dahl/ Artistic director, writer
Kristina Wejstål/ Writer, written documentation
Anneli Bäckman/ Producer
Caroline Matsson/ Manifestation and collaborations
Bo Andér/ Programme advisor
Shahram Khosravi/ Programme advisor
Parasto Backman/ Graphic designer
Jenny Kronberg/ Set design
Tobias Stål/ Light and projections
Emma Hernborg/ Communications
Björn Hedlund/ Researcher
Maria Ahlsten/ Researcher
Annika Hallman/ Manifestation co-ordinator
Emma Norrstad/ Manifestation co-ordinator
Roger Norén/ Digital director
AnnaCarin Johansson/ Digital producer
Ulric Flood/ Digital producer
Tina Karnéus/ Public Relations Officer Kulturhuset Elisabeth Olin/ Press Officer Kulturhuset
Stefan Zachrisson/ Dig. Communications Kulturhuset Sara Hedberg, Stage manager Kulturhuset
Martin Blomberg, Stage manager Kulturhuset
Roger Josefsson/ Decor Kulturhuset
Jan Ljungwaldh/ Technician Kulturhuset
Peter Helleday/ Technician Kulturhuset
Mattie Niemi/ Technician Kulturhuset
Per Andersson/ Technician Kulturhuset
Nikolas Ringqvist/ Technician Kulturhuset

Elisabeth Abiri, PhD, Dept. of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg
Ghayath Almadhoun, Poet
Claes Borgström, Lawyer
Leif Ericsson, Project manager, Swedish Forum for Human Rights
Moa Elf Karlén, Publisher, Bokförlaget Atlas
Staffan Lamm, Documentary film-maker
Ola Larsmo, Writer, journalist; Chair of Swedish PEN
Björn Linnell, Senior Advisor, Natur & Kultur
Devrim Mavi, Editor in chief, Arena Magazine
Frida Johansson Metso, Chair of FARR
Agneta Mogren, Festival Director, Tempo Documentary Festival
Abdi-noor Mohammed, Journalist, writer and film-maker
Brian Palmer, Social anthropologist, Uppsala University
Soraya Post, Chair of the International Roma Women Network
Arne Ruth, Journalist and publicist
Mats Söderlund, Poet; Chair of the Swedish Writers’ Union; President of WALTIC
Bengt Wadensjö, Chair of the Swedish Institute in Alexandria; Bishop Emeritus, Swedish Church
Anki Wetterhall, Project manager, Swedish Forum for Human Rights
Siv Widerberg, Writer and journalist
Anna Wigenmark, Lawyer and journalist, Chair, Ordfront


Shahrazad - Stories for Life

Swedish Forum for Human Rights


ICORN - International Cities Of Refuge Network


EU Culture Programme

Shahrazad – Stories for Life is funded with support from the European Commission through the Culture Programme 2007-2013. Shahrazad – Stories for Life and  Tribunal 12 reflects the views only of the organisers, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any statements, products and/or other results of the project.

Shahrazad – Stories for Life is a joint project of the Cultural Administration of Stockholm/Kulturhuset (Stockholm, Sweden), Litprom (Frankfurt, Germany), Passa Porta (Brussels, Belgium), PEN Català (Barcelona, Spain), Sølvberget Stavanger Kulturhus (Stavanger, Norway) and the Writers’ Centre Norwich (Norwich, United Kingdom). Tribunal 12 is the closing event of the five year project of Shahrazad – Stories for Life.


For further information about Tribunal 12, please contact:

Oskar Ekström, Project manager
Telephone: +46 (0)8-508 31 924
E-mail: info@tribunal12.org


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Design: Parasto Backman Inc
Interaction & Development: Henrik Mattsson

© 2011 Tribunal 12