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“If Germany does not want us to come to Germany then they must say it clearly to the world!”

25.TheVOICE Anniversary - Breaking the Culture of Deportation
Silver Jubilee 1994 -2019 | 25 Years Anniversary of “The VOICE” Refugee Forum
Celebration on 6th -7th of December 2019 | 07743 Jena

“If Germany does not want us to come to Germany then they must say it clearly to the world!”

Summary of a workshop on the current agenda of the German government for asylum seekers in Germany and how it is assessed by refugee communities
Workshop held in Jena from October 3 to 6, 2019 during the RefugeeBlackBox activities and during the preparation days for the 25th anniversary of THE VOICE Refugee Forum celebration which will take place on 6th and 7th of December 2019 in Jena

From the 3rd to 6th of October 2019 workshops, discussions, cultural performances, and a parade were initiated and organized by THE VOICE Refugee Forum in Jena, Thuringia, Germany. The aim of the gatherings in Jena was first to give refugee communities from Thuringia the space to exchange, second to develop common ideas for protecting the communities from deportation and all atrocities connecting to it, and third to discuss how the 25 years lasting struggle of THE VOICE could be celebrated. Hence, not only refugees from Thuringia but as well as activists from other corners of Germany participated in the meetings and gatherings. Participants came from Berlin, Weiden, Hof, Darmstadt, Doberlug-Kirchhain in Brandenburg Gotha, Greiz, Hamburg, Jena, Mühlhausen, Waltershausen, Weimar and Wuppertal. The report here gives a brief summary of the workshop held on October 4, 2019 on the current agenda of the German government for asylum seekers and how this is analyzed by the refugee communities.

The current changes and sharpening of the laws against refugees

The new legal situation was assessed by two activists. In the introduction it was said that the new laws simply aim to ease and facilitate deportations. Many aspects have been there before and some aspects even been there in practice. The new changes only legitimate some of the further violations of the law that was carried out in the past by elements of the deportation administrations. Here are some examples:

The new regulation gives permission to the police and any deportation agency to enter the flats of those who should be deported. The search of the neighbours' rooms or even cabinets and wardrobes is only possible with permission given by a judge. In reality we know that police and the deportation agents of the foreign offices permanently break even this new law and search flats without having permission to do though. Legal files should be charged at least to limit the space for the acting authorities. Not only had the present communities from Thuringia reported about the violation of their rights but as well other activists from other regions of Germany. It is publicly known as well that police rides camps and searches flats without the permission of a judge. This is even a matter of discussion within the governing parties (Kontraste: Missachtet die Polizei das Grundgesetz?).

According to the new law deportations should not be carried out during nights if otherwise possible. The law is not specific and in practice we know that many people are being caught during nights for the upcoming deportations. The law is another example of how people are manipulated by ambiguous definitions that are made for the gallery but are not really exercised.

Another element of the new laws is the fact, that refugees can be easier put into prison. A new category is defined which is called “cooperation imprisonment”. If the Foreign Office (Ausländerbehörde) assumes that someone is not cooperating to reveal her or his identity they can put him or her into prison to force them to provide either their passports, to go to the embassies or to be checked by a doctor to prove that they can be deported.
Deportation prison was until the new changes only for those refugees where the deportation agencies assumed that they could escape from their planned deportation. With the new laws even those who do not provide their passports or have paid money to someone that helped them to pass the borders can be put into deportation prison.
The new laws further allow the deportation authorities to put refugees into normal prisons. In some federal states there are such prisons as in Büren or in Darmstadt. In Thuringia is not one single deportation prison. Thus refugees can now be imprisoned in normal prisons together with those people who have committed crimes.
New categories have as well been introduced for the tolerated status, the so-called “Duldung”. Those who according to the deportation agencies are not cooperating to reveal their identity or documents for being deported lose their working permit are obliged to stay in the area that is defined for them and must extend their so-called “Duldung light” within shorter periods. According to participants from North-Rhine Westphalia the foreign offices have already started to withdraw working permits of refugees. People that have worked for years lose all the money they have paid for unemployment insurance or pension. The so-called “Wohnsitzauflage” is another form of the Residence Obligation Law “Residenzpflicht” that was never abolished.

Refugees holding refugee protection according to the Geneva Convention from another European country but living in Germany because the living conditions in the other country are not safe are forced to go back immediately. After 14 days no social welfare is provided to those. Although the law is released its realization is yet not clear. Especially, families and affected people could organize now to make clear why they cannot go back to Italy, Hungary or wherever.
In their conclusion the input speakers made clear that the laws and the deportation practice were always horror and terror for refugees. Their aim is always to exercise fear and make the refugees submissive. It must be noted that people have always found ways to defend their rights. The basis for those fights has always been the solidarity among the refugees. It is the most powerful mean to overcome the fear and to defend oneself and the community. As the new laws basically affect everyone it is necessary to start the discussions in the lagers and isolation camps to draw strategies of defense.

If Germany does not want us to come to Germany then they must say it clearly to the world!
Most participants of the workshop were from isolation lagers in Thuringia, many women and men from West Africa. Most of them had experienced Libya and its horror camps and as well the streets of Italy or another European country. One of the refugee women said: “If Germany does not want us to come to Germany then they must say it clearly to the world and not pretend that they are representing the human rights.” The various categories of the laws defined to administer refugees caused laughter because it shows how ridiculous bureaucracy can be. People are categorized to be divided, administered, and deported.

The character of the new laws was simply assessed as criminal because it violates the basic human rights of anyone seeking security, physical and mental integrity. Refugees stated that they had no other chance to leave their countries. If physical integrity is not given in Libya then they have to move further to another place. If the safety is not given in the streets of Greece, Italy or Spain then they have to move further and one day find themselves in Germany. Thus it is criminal to push back people to places and countries where their life is in danger. Thus this practice of endangering people’s health and safety must clearly be condemned and publicly denounced. It must simply be said that deportation is a crime. Consequently, it must be stated that all the new attacks defined by the law, be it the work ban for the lower tolerated status (“Duldung light”) or the cooperation prison (Mitwirkungshaft) or the new isolation lagers and the limitation of life not only for adults but as well for children, are crimes against the basic human rights.

The participants of the workshop were unified in their understanding that resistance against such practices and laws are not only legitimate but a human duty.
Further meetings will now take place in the lagers and various places to plan actions and activities in defense of our basic rights. For those activities the RefugeBlackBoxes are one of the means of expression and connection of the struggles in different places.
Please keep connected to join the activities in Thuringia, North Rhine Westphalia and elsewhere…

25.TheVOICE Anniversary - Breaking the Culture of Deportation
Silver Jubilee 1994 -2019 | 25 Years Anniversary of “The VOICE” Refugee Forum
Celebration on 6th -7th of December 2019 | 07743 Jena

Breaking the Culture of Deportation - Deportation is the last ring of the slavery chain | RefugeeBlackBox - Solidarity (Initiated in 2017)

Defend the RefugeeBlackBox solidarity!

Each Deportation stop pulls down the mask that covers the human face!
The fight against deportation has always been in the center of The VOICE‘s political activism. Fighting deportation means fighting against nationalism, white supremacy and colonial racist injustice!

The VOICE Refugee Forum is a pioneering self-organized refugee group in Germany. Support us to power on for the next 25 years. Join us to celebrate 25 years of self-organized autonomous refugee struggle!

Donate 1000 X 25€ for 25 year anniversary of The VOICE Refugee Forum!
All donations, smaller or higher will be highly appreciated.

Förderverein The VOICE e.V.
IBAN: DE97 2605 0001 0000 1278 29
Stichwort: 25yrs

References: The current changes and sharpening of the laws against refugees
Kontraste, 05.09.2019, Illegale Durchsuchungen - Missachtet die Polizei das Grundgesetz?