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October 2011

We are appealing to the UN and the EU humanitarian agencies to help African refugees

    We are appealing to the UN and the EU humanitarian agencies to help African refugees

    Sunday, October 18, 2011. 
    The situation of the sub-Saharan refugees is becoming increasingly desperate: in Sudan, Egypt, Libya and all the other countries they are forced to take refuge in, in the hope of later reaching a country where they can apply for international protection or political asylum. The United Nations are playing an important role, particularly when it comes to setting up refugee camps. However, much more needs to be done and the interventions are not effective enough against these serious humanitarian tragedies. What is more, the UN and the EU institutions are not working alongside human rights defenders – except in rare cases – but rather with charities and humanitarian associations closely linked to governments, or too large to take completely independent and courageous steps. For years EveryOne Group has been appealing to the UN and the EU to set up a network of associations that could save lives and address the major challenges of civilization. We are not giving up. Here are the most recent appeals we have sent – alongside other humanitarian organizations – to the UN High Commissioners, the European Commissioner for Human Rights and other international humanitarian organizations. We are talking about serious cases, but where it is possible to avoid injustice and the killing of innocent people. We have also provided international authorities with the full names, mobile phone numbers and geographical references of both victims and perpetrators. We know that in some cases the High Commissioners and the European Commissioner are taking action to save the people reported by us. In other cases, unfortunately, nothing has not been done to prevent injustice and unfair treatment. However, we have great confidence in Mr. Guterres,  Mrs. Pillay, and Mr. Hammarberg. We are appealing to them to make a further effort to emerge from this bleak period together, where the lives of refugees, the marginalized and the poor seem of little importance.

    The FSB Should Open Up the Wallenberg File

      Next year marks the 100th birthday of one of the 20th century’s most admired figures: Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Jews from Nazi persecution in World War II Hungary only to be swallowed up himself in 1945 by Stalin’s Gulag. Although Soviet leaders claimed in 1957 that Wallenberg had died suddenly in the Lubyanka prison on July 17, 1947, the full circumstances of his fate in Soviet captivity have never been established.

      In a recent interview with The Associated Press, the current chief of the Federal Security Service’s registration and archives directorate, Lieutenant General Vasily Khristoforov, emphasized that he, too, considers Wallenberg a hero and that FSB officials are doing everything to uncover more documentation. He strongly denied withholding any information that would shed light on the truth.

      Yet it is indisputable that Russian officials for decades chose to mislead not only the general public but also an official Swedish-Russian Working Group that investigated the case from 1991-2001. This group included official Swedish representatives as well as Raoul Wallenberg’s brother, Guy von Dardel. Russia did not merely obscure inconsequential details of the case but also failed to provide documentation that goes to the very heart of the Wallenberg inquiry.

      Chief among these are copies of the Lubyanka prison register from July 23, 1947. They show that a “Prisoner No. 7” was questioned on that day, six days after Wallenberg’s alleged death. Russian officials have since acknowledged that “Prisoner No. 7” almost certainly was Wallenberg. Researchers have yet to receive a copy of the full page of this Lubyanka interrogation register, in uncensored form, showing the complete list of interrogated prisoners and other details.

      What happened in Cairo?

        C.G.McKay [1]

        In 1982, Carl Ivan Danielsson, formerly Swedish Minister in Budapest during World War II , was named as one of the Righteous by Yad Vashem.[2] Recognition of his work in assisting the Jews of Hungary came two years  after that of his junior colleague Per Anger and considerably after that of Raoul Wallenberg (1963) and of Valdemar and Nina Langlet (1965).  Although the decision process of the Yad Vashem committee remains secret, it is perhaps not too hard to discern a reason for these dates. Wallenberg and the Langlets had after all been much more actively involved in the rescue attempts and there were many Jews still alive due to their exertions  who could testify to their work  at “the sharp end”. By contrast, Danielsson had remained very much Head of Mission. Nonetheless Danielsson loyally supported the activities of his juniors Anger and Wallenberg and was noteworthy in personally signing many of the protective documents issued.[3] Nor would it be true to say that his contribution lay simply in his signature.  Danielsson was personally involved for example in the case of the Eismann sisters.[4] Finally, instead of moving from Budapest at the suggestion of the Hungarian authorities, Danielsson chose to stay in the capital bis zum bittern Ende thus providing  important moral support for Wallenberg and his activities.

        Despite these merits, there are still some puzzling features about the curious silence which surrounds Danielsson. As Göran Rydeberg has pointed out, the apparent lack of interest taken in Danielsson by UD contrasts with that shown in some of his junior colleagues. Whereas Lars Berg  and Anger would give their accounts of what had happened in Budapest, there is a striking lacuna regarding the retrospective view of the Minister himself. [5]

        At one level, the treatment of Danielsson might, at a pinch, be seen as an expression of human sympathy for the state he was in when he returned from Budapest. The minister was not a young man and the  strain of the last period in Budapest had broken him physically and morally. That is one theory.[6] Then again ,Danielsson had his critics, none more so than Valdemar Langlet who drew the attention of his friend Östen Undén, the Swedish postwar Minister for Foreign Affairs,  to the numerous blunders  which caused “the legation to be shown up in a bad light in the eyes of the prospective and later actual victor”.[7] About all these blunders, Langlet had been silent in  his memoir Verk och Dagar I Budapest.  “A whole book”  Langlet confided in Undén, “could in actual fact have been written about this”.

        The fact that he had Undén’s ear may have meant that a highly negative picture of Danielsson was etched in Undén’s mind, thus ensuring perhaps that a blind eye was turned to the former Minister in Budapest for fear of dredging up other unpalatable facts, best forgotten. But the plain fact was that Danielsson had caused UD some embarrassment and discomfort,  before his stint in Budapest.