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Humanity instead of a Bureaucracy of neglect

On 14.09.2022, we did a follow-up visit to the family of A. from Syria, who has been
living in a Lager in Gusow-Platkow in Märkisch-Oderland, Brandenburg. We reported the
the situation of family A. to the Brandenburg Social Minister, Frau Nonnemacher and the
Integration commissioner of Brandenburg, Frau Lemmermeier, during our meeting as
members of the network of the Strategy Group on Housing.
We encourtered this family during our Lager visit in April 2022. Our follow-up visit was
delayed by the planning and execution of our «International Summer conference» in early
August. During this follow-up visit, we realised nothing has changed and actually the family
thought we had forgotten them.
In our last Newsletter nr. 25, we reported how this family is living in a miserable and difficult
conditions, in an old bungalow, with their three disabled family members in wheelchairs.
When it is raining, water drips in and some dangerous insects sometimes find their way
inside.
The pictures and short video attached to this report show how this family lives.

We aim and wish to see this family assisted not only in getting a barrier-free flat and
professional people to help the mother in the daily care of the disabled children but also in
getting their right to stay. This is just one case of many, showing, that we need
humanity and not a Bureaucracy of neglect.

Health care for all without discrimination!

During our “Summer Bus tour 2021” in north Deutschland, one of our stops was Bremen.
In Bremen, we met refugee women from “TogetherweareBremen, a group of refugee women
fighting for the right to Birth Certificates for their children. whom we got into contact with,
before the tour.
We held a peer-orientated empowerment workshop where we discussed together the
possibilities of claiming the rights to obtain birth certificates of our children born in this
country by challenging asylum laws and demanding our children’s rights.
We later participated in a podium discussion on health and maternal rights, which Medibüro, Bremen, organised. It was very sad to listen to women living in different parts of
Germany who have and were experiencing the same problems with discrimination of the
identity of their children and health rights. It shows how the asylum laws are discriminative
and racist.
Here is a video of the discussion that took place;

DOCUMENTARY ON OUR SUMMER 2021 BUS TOUR “WOMEN MOVING AGAINST LAGERS AND RACISM”

Every year, W.i.E&F holds a summer action about our fight and demand ” NO LAGER FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN”. In this regard, last year we did a Bus tour to northern Germany where we visited different lagers to ascertain the current situation and bring to light the current situation of women and children in these Lagers. We carried the motto “Women moving against Lagers and Racism” as we brought our voices to these different places and served as a tool to make public what we know to be true to the public. With this, we filmed a documentary showcasing the different places and talked with the women from their points of view. 

We hope this Documentary will serve its purpose as a call for all to denounce the Racist Lager system.

RIGHT TO COME! RIGHT TO GO! RIGHT TO STAY!

Report From our visit with Women from Cecosesola

On the 29th of August, we W.I.E&F had the pleasure of hosting Ana Maria and Ana Mildred from Cecosesola (Central Cooperativa de Servicios Sociales del Estado Lara), a non-hierarchical solidary of cooperatives in Venezuela at our space in Hermannstr 22. They were in Germany for an exchange programme that takes place every two years and this is the third time they are having an exchange with Germany.

They also participated in our International conference that took place from the 4th to the 7th of August. The reason for this meeting was not only to visit with each other but to also exchange experiences in our fields of work. The meeting was arranged by our good network from Ulenkrug who among others were hosting them After a few good laughs, we were able to listen to them with the help of three translators who translated from English to Spanish and vice-versa.

Cecosesola is 54 years old, born out of necessity. They work in the cultivation of food and its distribution. Providing the food that they cultivate to the poorer communities at a lower price than the current market Price. They have 26 selling points with the major parts being open from Wednesday to Saturday which makes distribution the most significant part.

They provide Health care services in which a Health Centre was built in 2007. For this to be realised, they were able to get an interest-free loan from a cooperative since they could not afford a bank loan. 

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REPORT: 20 Years Women in Exile & Friends “Breaking Borders to Build Bridges” – International Conference

We kicked off our International conference “Breaking Borders to Build Bridges” with an opening ceremony on the 4.8.2022 in the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Berlin with a powerful performance and singing of our freshly formed interreligious choir. In attendance were national and internal guests, overall 250 women* and children. The International conference carried a lot of activities and thus had to be of the same magnitude. The event was meant to celebrate 20 years of Women in Exile and the launching of our collectively self-written book by both women in exile & friends and supporters.

For the whole conference, Women in Exile & Friends had planned different themes for the workshops. We had workshops geared towards gender-specific reasons to flee; exploitation, marginalization and violence.

In a panel discussion with activists from our networks from IWS, Flit* Solidarity Africa, Respect and activists from WIE Rostock and WIE, the topic was: “What does it mean to live with insecure residence or without papers?” Experiences were shared and suggestions for solutions were discussed.

Continue reading REPORT: 20 Years Women in Exile & Friends “Breaking Borders to Build Bridges” – International Conference

20 years Women in Exile & Friends – “Breaking Borders to Build Bridges” International Conference

Click here – International Conference Programme

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Our book reading sessions in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

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From the 14.07 – 17.07, we took our book reading sessions to Rostock and Ulenkrug in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. We managed to visit the lager in Jördenstorf and the visit was very emotional because we met some women* whom we had met last year during our bus tour. It was very sad on the other side to find out that they are still living in the lager with no perspectives.

We met our sister group Women in Exile Rostock who accomapanied us to the book readings and introduced us to many refugee women* who are all interested in joining our international conference marking “20 years of Women in Exile”.

It was a very encouraging visit because the refugee women* and their supporters asked for a slot in the conference to discuss about the life`s of “women* living in war torn countries” and they willl also talk on the events coming up to mark 30 years of the Pogrom in Rostock. This room will be facililated by refugee women* from Afghanistani and Ukraine, including supporting groups from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

“This blood will not go for free from their hands. The killers will not know peace!”

We condemn the deadly European Borders Regime

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We are tired of hearing outcries only when images of inhumanity and death on the European external borders are seen on screens in the living rooms. Melilla is not an individual case. Deadly Borders are everyday evil. But the European government, the politicians and most of its citizens pretend it is not happening. People are dying everyday: in Melilla, in the Mediterranean see, in Poland, Belarus, Lithunia – in the name of protecting fortress Europe.

Activists are on the streets everyday condemning these policies but the European governments and politicians have no interest in listening. We condemn the brutality and inhumanity leashed out to the African Black people, who are fought as invaders of the European continent and civilization.  Today, we are not going to start a colonial or neo-colonialism history lesson. We are demanding justice for all the past and current victims of these inhumane European colonial border policies.

The Spanish Prime Minister Sanchez praised the actions of the security forces. EU Council President Charles Michel pledged his full support to the Spanish authorities. Without a post-mortem examination and identification, people are to be buried quickly. Is it to cover up the crime?! Don’t the families have the right to bury their grandchildren, children, lovers and siblings themselves?  What an inhuman and lack of leadership way in responding to a disaster! “This blood will not go for free from their hands. These killers will not know peace!”, was a response from one of us.

Continue reading “This blood will not go for free from their hands. The killers will not know peace!”

20.06.2022 International Refugee Day “Breaking Borders to Build Bridges”

Women in Exile Book launching in Potsdam, Charlottenstr. 28 (Sputnik) at 7:30 pm

Women in Exile & Friends together with Frauenkreis, Seebrücke Potsdam, Potsdam Konvoi welcome you to celebrate the International Refugee Day with the launching of our book “Breaking Borders to Build Bridges”. The celebration and launching will be moderated by Patricia Vester and Nouria Asfaha.

“Breaking Borders to Build Bridges is a collection of refugee women´s texts about fleeing, surviving, the situation in refugee camps, and organizing for 20 years as a refugee women`s group for the abolishment of Lagers and freedom of movement.

This publication is a space for voices that are often silenced, voices speaking about 20 years of political activism in a self-organized initiative of refugee women*.

It is collectively written by Women in Exile and includes contributions by members of the group, our friends, sisters, children, and supporters. It is written on smartphones, paper or Laptops, in refugee Camps and safe Spaces.

The publication talks about our history and how we came together as a group. How we have built intersectional bridges within our group and beyond, bridges of solidarity that we keep on building despite our differences.

This book gives insights into issues that have been accompanying the group over the years: Reasons to leave home, the discriminatory asylum process, the situation in the refugee camps and the struggle for the abolishment of camps, the right to health care, freedom of movement, empowerment, self-reflection, cooperation with friends, and about renting our own safer space for refugee women*.

Against camp system and racism! Hearing before the district court

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Statement

On 13th June, the trial for a rally in front of the state parliament during the “Tour against Camp System and Racism” of Women in Exile in summer 2021 took place in Schwerin. Activists and friends of the defendant came as visitors to the trial and to a rally in front of the district court. We are especially happy that some of the Women in Exile came all the way from Berlin.

The trial was not finished on that day. On a further date witnesses are to be questioned and fundamental questions clarified. The defendant said today:

This camp system makes me sick. For over 30 years I have been active in voluntary refugee work, professionally as a doctor I have had to experience in many cases that it is only through the living conditions in the camps here that people become psychologically demoralized and ill. Our small action should also be a small encouragement to stand up publicly against this situation of injustice and to bring this situation of injustice to a head, even if it would have consequences.

I ask you as a judge, is our perhaps small violation of rules, which is what Civil Disobedience stands for, not proportionate to the immense suffering and injustice done to the refugees?”

On our homepage you can find the background to the case, as well as the defendant’s plea in court. The defendant is conducting the trial without a lawyer – and he is doing so out of conviction. We believe that law and courts should function in such a way that it is possible for everyone to fight for his/her rights there without having to invest huge sums of money. This means that we actively deal with legal issues, basic but also procedural rights.