European Union. Euro-doctors pass secret anti-immigrant motion
13 August 1997 (MAHA)
BRUSSELS, 13 August 1997 (MAHA)
MAHA will be at GMIAU’s Health and Immigration Control Conference. Read all about it.
Behind closed doors, delegates gathered in Brussels from eight European Union academies of medicine to discuss "the pathology of immigration." They unanimously adopted a motion to draw attention to "the risks presented by immigration, and especially clandestine immigration, by bringing and propagating certain diseases, the most serious of which are tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C, and sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, the frequency of which is becoming menacing in the countries of the European Union."
The secret motion, adopted last November by a plenary session of the Federation of Academies of Medicines and Similar Institutions of the European Union, was quietly passed on to the "relevant authorities," according to the report.
In May, when the Paris-based Réseau Voltaire obtained a copy of the report, the Federation refused to comment. According to Réseau Voltaire coordinator Thierry Meyssan, "this motion was never intended to be made public, because the members of the Federation were highly aware of the xenophobic connotations."
"This is not just a motion passed by a few reactionary old doctors" Meyssan told MAHA. "The Federation has a real power in the European Union. They are always consiulted when there are important decisions tobe made about health policy." Whether there was a request from a government on this issue is not known.
In this case, it was Profesor Sicard, a representative from the French Academy of Medicine, who proposed and organized the meeting on the "pathology" of immigration. The Réseau Voltaire claims the motion was adopted "thanks to the intervention of French AIDS specialist Marc Gentilini," whose right-wing religious activism is well-documented by the Réseau Voltaire.
Gentilini does not deny he attended the Federation’s meeting, where he was asked to "assist" professor Sicard. However, he maintains that he made "no presentation at this meeting, submitted no documents, took part in no votes" and adds that the "level of debate" was not "up to his expectations." In a bitter letter apparently responding to charges of racism made by Act Up Paris, Gentilini deemed it "unacceptable" that he might be "suspected of racism", given that he has "very much invested in the field of immigration."
Gentilini heads the French-sponsored Organisation pan-africaine de lutte contre le sida (OPALS) active in 16 African countries. In 1968, he founded of the Comité Médico-Social d’Aide aux Migrants.
According to the Réseau Voltaire, the Belgian minister considered cutting all funding to the Federation upon learning of the motion. When MAHA contacted the Federation in Brussels, staff denied any knowledge of either the motion or the report.
MAHA wrote to the Federation on 20 May 1997, asking for the report, but has never received a response. Federation spokesperson Professor de Scoville told MAHA by phone that, in any case, we were told, the Federation has no obligation to make its internal documents available to the public.
A few days later, MAHA’s Paris office received a call from Marc Gentilini himself. We had also sent a copy of the request for the report by fax to his office in Paris. Gentilini was eager to deny having had any role in the meeting, and sent us a copy of his letter in response to Act Up Paris a few weeks later, stating he hoped it would put an end to the "terrorist action" against him.
For Meyssan, the proliferation of so-called "expert" committees and shadow institutions like the Federation — whose members are appointed by those who are themselves administrators and not elected officials — is part of the problem. Furthermore, he says, "the health policy experts who sit on various opaque EU committees come from institutions like the Federation. These are the people who often make decisions about funding and policy." The only way to ask these committees for accountability is by getting a Euro MP to ask questions to the European Commission.
If you or your organization would like to join in protesting the motion, please contact MAHA right away.
13 August 1997 (c) MAHA 1997