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Call for rally against sexualized and racialized violence on the 25.11.2021 at 1 pm in Eisenhüttenstadt

On the 25. November, the “International Day for the Elimination of Gender-Based Violence against Women*Women in Exile&Friends, Haus des Wandels and other local initiatives invite you to join our rally in Eisenhüttenstadt in front of the Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung in Poststraße 72 at 1 pm.

Our rally is meant is to bring attention to the women*s situation on the flight and the situation for us living inside refugee camps. Through these dangerous routes, women and queers are systematically being exposed to violence and sexual exploitation. We end up in receiving camps in Germany with physical maladies and trauma. Not only the flightway, but also the camps are not safe spaces for women*. We and our children are a vulnerable minority in these camps.

On our rally we will also remember our Sister Rita O.. She was brutally murdered while living in a camp three years ago. To date, the proceedings have not been concluded, let alone charges brought. The violence protection concept has not worked and the best concept would be: No Lager!

Continue reading Call for rally against sexualized and racialized violence on the 25.11.2021 at 1 pm in Eisenhüttenstadt

Prosecutor gives new details in death of Kenyan woman

https://www.lr-online.de/lausitz/elsterwerda/fluechtlingsheim-hohenleipisch-staatsanwalt-nennt-neue-details-zum-tod-einer-kenianerin-60787111.html

Bis heute ist unklar, wie Rita O. zu Tode kam. 2019 lebte die damals 32-jährige Mutter im Asylbewerberheim Hohenleipisch. Flüchtlingsinitiativen erheben schwere Vorwürfe gegen Polizei und Staatsanwaltschaft. Letztere verwahrt sich dagegen und nennt neue Details.
Die Faktenlage ist auch nach mehr als zwei Jahren dünn. Im Juni 2019 wurden unweit des Asylbewerberheimes Hohenleipisch menschliche Körperteile gefunden. Einer DNA-Analyse zufolge sind sie zweifelsfrei der damals 32-jährigen Kenianerin Rita O. zuzuordnen, die im Heim lebte. Die Mutter von zwei Kindern, damals zwei und vier Jahre alt, war am 7. April als vermisst gemeldet worden.

Der Flüchtlingsrat Brandenburg, Women in Exile & Friends und die Opferperspektive e.V. wiederholen in einer gemeinsamen Presseerklärung erneut ihre schweren Vorwürfe gegen Polizei und Staatsanwaltschaft. “Bis heute ist das Verfahren nicht abgeschlossen, geschweige denn wurde Anklage erhoben. Es entsteht der Eindruck, dass die Ermittlungsbehörden kein Interesse an der Verfolgung der Tötung von Rita O. haben und dass eine Anklageerhebung staatlicherseits verschleppt wird, in der Hoffnung, der Skandal um ihre Tötung und die katastrophalen Ermittlungsarbeiten würde in Vergessenheit geraten.”

Flüchtlingsinitiativen kritisieren “schleppende Ermittlungen” im Fall Rita O.
Oberstaatsanwalt Gernot Bantleon von der Staatsanwaltschaft in Cottbus weist das zurück und sagt: “Wir haben alles getan. Das ständige Wiederholen der Vorwürfe ändert an den Tatsachen nichts.”

Continue reading Prosecutor gives new details in death of Kenyan woman

Lagervisit and Womencafé in Eisenhüttenstadt 05.11.21

We decided to visit and organise a “women café” in Eisenhüttenstadt after Barnim für Alle called for an action day in Eisenhüttenstadt. The protestant church was kind enough to offer us a space for this purpose.

It was not possible to enter the camp. Since the outbreak of the corona pandemic, the lager has been closed to visitors. The security at the gate, said we can only ring the people we wanted to visit to come outside.

This was not easy, but we managed to meet about 8 women who have been staying in the camp from 2 days, a few weeks and some for more than three months. A young woman from Afghanistan told us, she has been in camp for three months and is waiting for a transfer. She told us the camp is over filled. We saw tents through the fence and heard of the reopening of the former deportation prison for sleeping spaces. She told us more than 40 people were in quarantine, and after 14 days some of them are getting transfers to places like Bamberg or Munich. These are the Ankerzentren we visited in our Summer Bustour in 2016. So we can imagine the living conditions there.

Continue reading Lagervisit and Womencafé in Eisenhüttenstadt 05.11.21

Workshop on high blood pressure with Monika Fränznick (Feminist Women’s Health Centre) from 2.10.2021

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The most dangerous consequence of high blood pressure is heart attack. Contrary to the sexist myth, heart attack is not a man’s disease. And because of this myth, heart attack is diagnosed too rarely or late in women, so twice as many women die from it. In general, women are treated later and the symptoms are played down; for men, the reaction is much quicker. There is a study from the USA that found that men are treated in the emergency room after 30 minutes, whereas women have to wait an average of 1:15 hours. The symptoms in women are different – so far there is less research on this and on treatment. Symptoms include stomach and back pain.

High blood pressure affects 10-15% of women in Germany. From the age of 50, one in three women has high blood pressure, and from the age of 60, one in two. Before the menopause, women are protected from it by hormones, after that it rises rapidly. Statistically, people with high blood pressure die 5 years earlier. High blood pressure rarely comes alone and there is a so-called metabolic symptom: high blood pressure + diabetes + obesity + fat metabolism = a deadly quartet that reinforces each other. High blood pressure is often the first of these. Low hypertension is harmless, even if it has more symptoms that are unpleasant. Home remedy is to walk in a cold pool of water. Or take Effortil.

Continue reading Workshop on high blood pressure with Monika Fränznick (Feminist Women’s Health Centre) from 2.10.2021

The Summer Bus Tour is over – the struggles continues!

For Women in Exile and friends, the summer has been exciting and we have been able to organise our own activities and joining those which have been organised by other groups.

After a short rest from our summer bus tour, we went back to Rostock on the 22.8. for a solidarity action. This was to support the newly formed “Women in Exile Mecklenburg Vorpommern” group and their supporting groups to commemorate 29 years of the pogrom in Rostock-Lichtenhagen. The commemoration rally was followed by another rally in Horst the same day. The two actions were meant to show the connection of the pogrom to the formations of the isolated Lager in Horst and the racist, restrictive, discriminative 1993 asylum laws.

We have been able to organise an internal workshop for the women on the knowledge of the “Pelvic floor”. This knowledge was very helpful and educative to us and we learnt many things about our bodies which we did not know before. It is possible to read full details of the workshop report on our workshop here: Pelvic floor « Women in Exile & Friends (women-in-exile.net)

Our external workshops includes an empowerment workshop for refugee women in Berlin, “from personal problem to political activism”. Here we presented our work and discussed about the most pressing issues the women are facing. We tried to find solutions together to problems such as looking for flats.

Continue reading The Summer Bus Tour is over – the struggles continues!

Horst 25.07. (This camp is related to Rostock-Lichtenhagen Pogrom 1992)

The action in Horst can be viewed in this video; Mahnwachen Nostorf-Horst – Google Drive

On the 25.07. our bus tour stopped at Horst in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Horst is a refugee receiving centre in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Some women from „Nina – women in action Hamburg“, where we had spent the last four days of our tour, accommpanied us. The camp is nearer to Hamburg then to Schwerin, the administrative city of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Horst is a first receiving centre which is situated in the middle of the woods with no neighbours in sight.

The nearest city from this camp is 7 kilometres. The refugees were moved here after the pogrom which happened 29 years ago in Rostock-Lichtenhagen. The state gave in to the right-wing radical and racist attacks, or rather met their direction: Instead of working against the fascism and racism in Rostock-Lichtenhagen, we should leave, live in isolation and the asylum law was massively tightened. This new camp is now nearly 30 years old, with no improvement. And the „Asylkompromiss“ and „Asylgesetz“ were made, as we know it today. Goal of them was to discourage refugees coming to Germany. A law which put the discriminative and racist everyday practices into structural form.

We made a workshop with the refugee women living in the camp in Horst: “From personal problems to political action”. From the women we found out of the mistreatment and racism they face from inside and outside. Many of them are traumatised and we learned one of them attempted suicide, two weeks before. The police took her away and since then the others have not seen her and do not know of whether, she is dead or alive. Some two mothers who have small babies are forced to share a small room. They claim, some rooms are free. But when they ask to be seperated the Malteser staff refuse to allocate them a room. One young woman complained about being given too little food and when she goes for a second helping, the staff treat her badly and insult her. This shows how profit oriented the companies are running these camps. They do not care about the people living inside.

Continue reading Horst 25.07. (This camp is related to Rostock-Lichtenhagen Pogrom 1992)

Summer Bus tour 21.07 – 04.08

A group of 40 women and 18 children from Berlin/Brandenburg are excitedly looking forward, after the corona lockdowns to our summer bus tour. We will do this in a way, that will try to keep us all safe from Covid.

The Bustour will start in our homeground (Potsdam) with a kick-off action on the 21.07. at 11:00 in Front of Brandenburg Parliament with a rally against Lager and racism. Potsdam Seebrücke is organizing with us the Demonstration. Everybody is welcome to join and support the fight for freedom of movement, for the abolishment of all Lager and against racism. We know: Solidarity wins. On the 4.8. we will come back and hold a standing rally at Oranienplatz in Berlin. In 2019 we claimed back Oranienplatz for the refugee movement in our “Building Bridges Festival”. That is why we will end our tour there with a press conference and food, that will be served. Warm welcome to join us there too and hear of our experience.

Continue reading Summer Bus tour 21.07 – 04.08

FEMCON 2021!

The 2021 Feminist Connect (Femcon) took place this summer again, from the 25.- 30.6.21 in Meuchfitz. Femcon is a refugee women feminist festival organised by Women in Exile, NINA-women in action Hamburg, Flit Solidarity Africa and their BIPoC and white supporters. We use this space for reunion, to learn, to inform, to chill and to get to meet women joining for the first time.

Last year, this festival took place in a smaller way in Hamburg because of the corona lockdown rules. This year around 60 women and children gathered in Meuchfitz again and enjoyed the countryside with a full programme of empowerment workshops.

This networking’s meeting goal is to provide a space for women who are negatively affected by racism to exchange, debate and gain knowledge on politics.

Continue reading FEMCON 2021!

Women* moving against Lager systems and racism 21.07. – 04.08.

For many years Women in Exile & Friends have been making summer tours to different German federal states to connect with other refugee women*, especially those living in lager. This summer we will move to Hamburg, Bremen and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

We want to empower refugee women* to become politically active, in order to fight for their rights as women* living in this society. We also want to address the question of opening political structures to refugee women*. Our main political fight is against the lager system. We believe the shared and isolated accommodations work as a catalyst to sexual violence, traumas and depressions leading to (attempted) suicides.

We want to:

  • bring into public isolation, racism, sexism, reports on traumas on those experiencing sleepless nights for fear of deportation and the effects of the corona pandemic.
  • encourage and network with refugee women*, groups and individuals working with refugee women*.
  • break borders preventing our participation and build bridges to connect us to communities.
  • be given the opportunity to choose where we want to live in dignity.
  • connect with the refugee women* fighting for their children`s right to birth certificates.
Continue reading Women* moving against Lager systems and racism 21.07. – 04.08.

Keeping our sister Rita`s memory burning

It is two years now since our sister Rita disappeared and her charred body was found 200 metres from the Lager away where she lived for 7 years.

Rita, we will remember and fight for your dignity as a friend, refugee sister and woman. Remembering you is easy. We do it every day, as we continue to live in Hohenleipisch lager. The trauma of your death lives in us.

It’s the heartache of losing you, that will never go away, as we continue to remember the circumstances of your disappearance.

Some of us know what you went through as you struggled to find a way for a dignified future for you and your children.

They say that time heals, but neither time or reason will change the way we feel, as long as the perpetrator(s) of your death are free.

Some may forget you, now that you are gone, but we as your friends, we will remember and treasure the memories of you.

We, from Women in Exile and Friends, too, will keep you in memory and fight to see justice brought to the criminal or criminals of this heinous act. Every woman* in this society needs to be protected from femicide

regardless of their residential status.

We thought of you today, as we made a three-minute silence in front of the lager in Hohenleipisch. But that is nothing new, as we keep your memories alive as we fight for “No lagers for women and children”! We keep your memory alive, when we demand prevention of sexual violence against refugee women. We thought of you yesterday, as we sat together to plan ways of how to have our rally registered despite of corona lock downs. And will think of you tomorrow too, because we will not accept that refugee women charred remains will turn into cold cases. We will keep on looking for truth and justice as we fight against femicide.