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Celebrating 26 years of The VOICE Refugee Forum.

In this month of October 2020, The VOICE Refugee Forum will celebrate its 26th anniversary. Through October to December 2020, we will organise virtual and real Series of Discussions, town hall meetings and political actions to commemorate our generational resistance and political motivation and inspiration of Refugee/Migrant Movements in Germany and beyond. Stay tuned.

„The #VOICERefugeeForum at 26: 26 years is not 26 secs, mins, hours, days, weeks or months! It is a quarter of a century plus one, a generation and in this time, we changed Germany and gave the Refugees not only a VOICE but a place in this society. Celebrate with us “ (Dr .Mbolo M. Yufanyi).

The result of our relentless focus on refugee community networking and solidarity with different activities in Jena and many other cities is evident in the breadth of refugee resistance all over the country. From Baden Württemberg to Bayern, from Hamburg to Sachsen, from Thuringen to Berlin and Bremen amongst others, these blocks of refugee resistance continue to draw inspiration from The VOICE as refugees continue to empower themselves to resist the continued cruelty and inhumanity that defines the German asylum system. The continuity of our struggles and the inspiration that others draw from our unwavering commitment is a testament to the legacies of The VOICE Refugee Forum which are worth celebrating 26 years on.

26 years of The VOICE Refugee Forum means 26 years of self-organization of autonomous refugee struggles: It means relentless struggles against deportation, social isolation, refugee lager, criminalization, residenzpflicht (restriction of refugee movement), police brutality, family separation, political prisoners, colonial injustice and the total rejection of paternalism. This has been a struggle based on SOLIDARITY – solidarity not only between refugees but also allies who reflect enough on their privileges while engaging with us to understand our principled positions. Yes, it is 26 years of solidarity, refugee autonomy, community and structural organization; consistent and active resistance against camps, through revandications and manifestations, protest and the enduring fight for freedom of movement and self-determination.

Since 1998 we had a common struggle with the “Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants”; in 2017 the RefugeeBlackBox was created as the heritage of the struggle of The VOICE Refugee Forum and the Caravan-for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants. Since then, refugees nationwide have taken to the concepts and ideas of the RefugeeBlackBox to deconstruct, unmask and unravel the sheer inhumanity of the European border regime championed by Germany, the cruel and callous asylum system in Germany that is a mockery of international protection for those seeking refuge, the barbarity of police brutality, and the endemic institutional and societal racism that is pervasive in Germany. Yes, 26 years of The VOICE means half a century of impacting the political culture in Germany.

The fight against deportation had always been at the Center of The VOICE‘s political activism.

Our 26 years of unwavering commitment to breaking the culture of deportation in Germany had many important steps:

-The VOICE and The Caravan congress, “Unite Against Deportation and Social Exclusion” (2000)

-The initiation of the concept of „Deportation is the last ring of the slavery chain“ and the Break Deportation Culture
(2014)

-The Break Deportation and Isolation network in Thuringen

-The initiation of the RefugeeBlackBox - Solidarity (2017)