Wave of refugee protests across Germany

Message from activists in Magdeburg: “Solidarity with the Iranian hunger strikers in Würzburg – For the abolition of the racist asylum policy in Europe and the abolition of mass shelters”

Here follows an incomplete transcription, with the basic aim of disseminating the news in brief:

The wave of strikes started in Würzburg (Bavaria) on March 19th, 2012, when several refugees from Iran went on hunger strike to draw attention to the inhuman situation they have been suffering for too long.

After the suicide of Mohammad Rahsepar, an Iranian refugee who lived in Würzburg, the region saw a wave of protests by asylum seekers and other refugees who were encouraged to react to the situation, with all means and strength they had. The struggle of those resistants, who first chose to remain in the street, finally helped hope and motivation to grow among refugees.

By now, July 2012, the protest has spread to several other cities as well (Regensburg, Aub, Bamberg, Düsseldorf, Osnabrück, and refugees in Leipzig already declared they will join if their situation is not improved).

Protest camps are held in those cities, and the strikers are under huge repression by the State. Some of them are facing court trials for violation of the Nazi relict law Residenzpflicht, “duty of residence”, which allows aliens to move only within a certain area.

This fascist regulation applies to refugees with a pending application for asylum or so-called “tolerated” (Geduldete) refugees to whom asylum was denied but who cannot be deported due to various reasons (no documents, unstable situation in their country of origin, etc.). In short, this law obliges refugees to stay within the borders of the federal state in which they apply for asylum. In fact, most refugees have troubles obtaining permits that allow them to leave the proximity of a refugee camp, in which some families live for decades, waiting for a final decision regarding their status in Germany. In addition, asylum seekers receive most of their monthly financial allowance in the form of vouchers, thus limiting and regulating what staple goods they can buy.

Most of the people who took action come from Iran; among them are also Afghans, Arabs and others. The fight for their rights and human dignity makes no distinction between the various religions, birth or colour of the skin.

After more than one hundred days of sit-in and hunger strike, the refugees in Würzburg are now on their third strike. Two of them even sewed their lips and one went into a dry hunger strike for two days. Recently (11/7) they issued a list of common demands. Below is an excerpt from their latest Press release:

“We newly underline our general claims towards the improvement of the living conditions of all refugees in Germany:

– Drastic reduction of the time that the Federal State’s Office for Migration and Refugees takes to process the asylum motions and appeals.

– Abolition of the system of mass accommodations (shared shelters).

– Abolition of the regulation of “duty of residence”.

– Abolition of the current distribution practice of food parcels.

– Introduction of the entitlement of every asylum seeker to have a lawyer and a certificated interpreter, who will support them from the outset in all stages of the asylum procedure.

– Introduction of the entitlement of all asylum seekers to attend professional German language courses from day one.

– Ability to secure their own livelihood through work.

– Simplification and shortening of timelines for the procedure required to obtain a study permit.

– Granting of the free choice of medical practitioner…”

Detailed info can be found in all following links, mainly in German, but also in English: afghanmuhajer ~ strikeregensburg ~ asylaub ~ antifareferat ~ linksunten.indymedia ~ lagerhesepe ~ gustreik

And let us remind that the 2012 No Border Camp in Cologne/Düsseldorf began on July 13th and will last until July 22th. Read all about it here: nobordercamp köln/düsseldorf

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