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A report of the Wuppertal Delegation of the CARAVAN for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants

Refugee protest and solidarity demonstration in Gotha together with The VOICE Refugee Forum

A report of the Wuppertal Delegation of the CARAVAN for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants

Last Saturday about 100 people followed the call of the refugees from Gotha to protest against the deportations to Nigeria, against the conditions in the isolation camps in and around Gotha, against the intimidation of the authorities and police. Groups and delegations from Berlin, Erfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Göttingen, Jena and Wuppertal showed their presence to express their solidarity with the refugees from Gotha. The actions were part of the RefugeeBlackBox activities and the start of a campaign against the planned 30,000 deportations to Nigeria.

From 10:00 a.m. onwards, RefugeeBlackBoxes were set up in front of the train station to make the demands and goals of the refugee communities visible to passers-by and the numerous police officers. Deportations were clearly condemned as crimes and the causes of flight were named. The collaboration of the German government with dictatorial regimes for the purpose of disposing of refugees through deportations was also classified as a human rights violation.


From about 2 p.m. onwards, representatives of the refugee community from Gotha reported in public why they had to flee Nigeria. Here they sought a life of security and dignity for themselves and their families. After a dangerous escape across the desert and the Mediterranean Sea, however, they were sobered by the ignorance and arrogance with which those seeking protection were confronted. Their family units are threatened by separate deportations. The nightly police operations not only do not let the adults sleep, but also frighten and traumatize the children in particular. They called on the refugee community, and especially the Nigerian community, to organize themselves and become active against the deportations. Another refugee from Gotha reported about a concrete nightly police operation. A refugee jumped out of the window out of fear and injured himself seriously. It shows the fear in which the people in the isolation camps have to live. But even though the fear was great, they had entered the public arena and took the room and spoke for themselves.

This is one aspect of the RefugeeBlackBoxes: It serves the refugees as a medium of public expression for their own experiences or those of the community, said Osaren Igbinoba of THE VOICE Refugee Forum. May we ourselves be intimidated and persecuted, the RefugeeBlackBoxes will speak for themselves as soon as they are set up and the images and actions will reach more communities.

Besides the representatives of the refugee community from Gotha, a representative of the refugees from Afghanistan, who came from Erfurt, spoke. It is incomprehensible that despite the insecure situation in the country, people are repeatedly being deported and are to be deported there. If you want people to return there, the first thing you have to do is stop selling arms and exporting military equipment. Moreover, it was a shock for most refugees when they were confronted with the arrogant and degrading treatment of the authorities here in Germany. Their image of a democratic and constitutional state has been destroyed not only in the authorities but also in the camps. Racism and discrimination force the refugees to take to the streets so that they can live a safe life for their children. It is also important to organise together against the attacks.
Further contributions of the delegations from Göttingen and Wuppertal made clear the connection between the economic and military interventions of Germany and other European states in African and Asian countries and the flight movements. It is not enough to speak of humanity here, he said, while weapons and death continue to be exported to the world and the African continent is exploited. Europe's isolation from refugees serves to keep away the witnesses of war and misery, so that the connections and consequences of society's own actions remain hidden here. Solidarity between refugee communities is imperative in order to put a stop to the new attacks on the lives of refugees and racism.

The action in Gotha ended with improvisation theatre, joint dances and music. It was a successful conclusion of a day in which the isolation was broken and the station forecourt in Gotha was brought to life by the refugees and the Refugee BlackBoxes. Neither the numerous police officers nor the few passers-by were able to intimidate the refugee communities from Thuringia, nor the wind that blowed the RefugeeBlackBox installation.

"Defend the Refugee Black Box Solidarity" - Community Installations in Waltershausen and Gotha 6-8.Sept.2019

CARAVAN for the rights of refugees and migrants
August 11, 2019, Wuppertal