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Open borders for all!! Abolish all camps!!!

Since refugees camped in Moria five years ago, activists and migrant organisations have been warning of an inhuman accommodation arrangement time bomb which could explode any minute. These warnings were ignored. The EU politicians as usual preferred denial tactics and preferred to criminalise them and poured out money so that they were isolated and kept as prisoners in Moria. This was supposed to pass a strong and clear message, to those who are trying or thinking on coming to Europe; that EU is a fortress!!!

The refugees living in Moria are not only isolated from the world, they are going through all types of hardships in the heart of Europe. Even during the corona pandemic lockdowns nothing changed for them; social distancing was a strange phrase for them. Moria camp was initially supposed to accommodate 3,000 refugees, despite the appalling unhygienic conditions, while in actual fact almost 13,000 have been squeezed inside. Their survival mostly depended on humanitarian organisations.

When the camp was build, the most basic needs such as medical care, hot water or electricity were not considered. The Moria residents endured all these discomforts for years regardless of the season. Living in these conditions traumatises. They go through hell for a better life. LGTB, Women and children suffer additionally due to the lack of protection against sexual and physical violence. Children are not allowed to live out their childhood.

While women, children and refugee in general spend days and nights on the street, the European Union states are arguing on who takes who and how many. The Greeks are building new tents (for another camp) and at the same time throwing tear gas into the crowd to prevent them from scattering too much. Acting very much the border guards of fortress Europe, to keep them from accessing Europe instead of acting in accordance with human rights.

Germany currently holds the EU Council Presidency. The Federal Government, clearly does not want to act in a human manner otherwise they should lead in admitting these vulnerable people in the country. It is time the municipalities acted without consulting the Federal government if they really mean business to act on humanitarian manner and live up to their solidarity cities motto.

For us, Women in Exile;

we know how it feels to live in camps with no privacy, isolated and being sexually and physically abused. We know that a life in isolation for people already severely traumatised is disastrous and worsens their health. That is why: It is our wish and hope that all the refugees living the Moria nightmare will come out of this situation and be housed in dignified conditions and not be sent to other camp in Europe. LGTB, Women and children need special protection and must finally live in human conditions in order to avoid being repeatedly assaulted sexually and physically.

We demand:
The camp system must be abolished – Europe-wide!

Refugee to be accommodated in dignity!
Right to come, right to go and right to stay for all!
No camps for women and children.

Abolish all camps!


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In memory of the murdered people in Hanau: Anti-Racist Demonstration in Potsdam

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On Saturday, August 22, 600 people demonstrated in downtown Potsdam against racist violence. On the occasion of the racist attack in Hanau six months ago, they drew attention under the motto “Remembering means changing” to the fact that refugees and migrants in Brandenburg are also repeatedly exposed to racist attacks. In addition to Seebrücke Potsdam and the initiative Opferperspective, several migrant organizations such as the group “Women in Exile” had called for action. There were protests nationwide on this day, the largest of which were to take place at the central memorial demonstration in Hanau, which was banned due to the rise of the Corona numbers.

The protests tie in with the worldwide protests against racist violence, which received new impetus with the violent death of George Floyd three months ago in the USA. Jane Wangari of the Brandenburg group “Women in Exile” says: “Thanks to the worldwide Black Lives Matter movement, police violence is finally becoming an issue. Also in Germany. Fugitives and migrants who have lived in Germany for a long time experience racist attacks every day”.

Racism is not only a problem of security authorities and Nazis, but comes from the middle of society. “Racism has divided our society for centuries, with deadly consequences,” Wangari said. Since reunification, at least 82 people have been murdered for racist motives.

In Brandenburg as well, refugees and migrants are repeatedly victims of violent attacks. Noël Martin died recently, 24 years after he was hunted by Nazis in Mahlow, Brandenburg and spent the rest of his life paralyzed. In the spring of 2019, Rita Awour Ojunge – a refugee woman- disappeared from the camp in Hohenleipisch under unknown circumstances. Three months later the Brandenburg police found her body in a nearby forest. She leaves behind two small children. Jane Wangari comments: “The police are delaying the case. To date, the authorities have not commented on Rita’s death. It’s time we got some answers.”

The demonstration emphasized the demands of the “Initiative 19 February” from Hanau: The surviving dependents should not only be supported directly, but a foundation should also be established, which is dedicated to education against racism. The demonstrators also turned to the Brandenburg politicians: They had to clear up racist murders completely. Attacks against fugitives by the police had to be stopped. Politics should dissolve collection camps in favor of humane accommodation.

To the call of the demonstration:

Rally and Picnic at Wünsdorf Lager

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On the 22.07, as part of our summer action bus tour in Berlin and Brandenburg we organised a rally and a picnic outside the lager in Wünsdorf. This is the same lager where after 6 hours absence from the lager, refugees are tested for corona and sent straight into quarantine where they have to wait for 3-5 days for the result.

The breakdown of the soli bus that we were supposed to use did not deter us. A group of more than 20 of us used the train to travel to the camp. The weather was good and many refugees joined the rally to condemn the conditions they are living in, especially sharing of the rooms even with those who are suspected of being infected with corona. Temperature checks are done on those who go out even briefly, which makes them have a feeling of being in prison. This makes people afraid of going out and prefer to stay in the lager compound because they do not want to go through all these inconveniences.

During the picnic and rally, we tried to ask the refugees from inside to keep the „social distancing rule“, they said for the them it does not apply and it does not make any difference because they cannot pretend since the accommodation concept itself cannot allow them to keep such rules. Women complained that their children are becoming traumatised by the situation of being lockdown. In spite of the social distancing rules lockdown, their families are still sharing rooms without enough space for all of them. They demanded that they should be moved out and accommodated in dignity because they are getting psycho problems when being in the camps without any perspectives.

“No lager for women and children, Abolish all lagers!!!”

Uproot Racism – Keeping Quiet is not an Option!

Just when one tends to think racism is becoming a sensitive subject with the police because of all the international demonstration of “Black Lives Matter movement”, it is not.  I would like to narrate two incidences that happened to two of our black activists in a span of a one week and in two different federal states. The first one was in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the other one in Brandenburg.

On the 10.07. our activist and her family were enjoying a walk on the beach at the east coast (Ostsee). A policewoman went straight to them and asked for their identity papers. Fortunately, we in Women in Exile, know our rights. So, she asked the policewoman to control first the people she passed along then come back to them. The policewomen answered, they control even Americans.  And of course, it was quite clear which “Americans” they control or mean.

The woman from our group told her that she knows her rights and then the policewoman walked away.  The second incidence happened in Doberlug-Kirchhain on the 15.07 during our rally. A policewoman who had talked very cooperatively to the woman who had registered the demonstration, wanted to see the identity papers of those responsible of keeping the demonstration rules. The policewoman saw our black activist remove her identity card from her wallet but even before she has had a look on it. She started telling her, it is not her identity card. You can imagine the confusion of someone trying to tell you, that you are not the person you trying to proof to be. The only question which could come out at the moment was: “What?!?” The police women then took the identity card and said, ok, it is you, but you look like a man. Then she gave it back, excused herself and left.  

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Flyer Summer action 2020

The corona pandemic might slow us but will not stop us from
activism. This is why, this year like every other year in summer we will
use a different way to protest while we keep the „social distancing“
rules in mind.

Our aim is to visit two deportation (Ankers) camps in Brandenburg,
invite the women and children to a picnic and a rally in front of the

This will be followed by a weekend of workshop, which unfortunately will be attended by just a few
women* in the group to reflect on how to continue our work despite

You are welcome to join our bus tour, we still have 30 seats
in the bus.

The tour is open to all gender.

Bring your masks and be ready to keep the „social distancing“ rules.

Time schedule:

15.07 – Doberlug-Kirchain: Bus will leave Oplatz at 10:45

22.7 – Wünsdorf: Bus will leave Oplatz at 10:45

New Corona Rules for Refugees in Wünsdorf

When everyone is trying to start a normal live which will not lead to depression and traumas the DRK comes up with new rules. DRK operates several lagers nationalwide and we just got information from Wünsdorf that the residents there, as of today 06.07, if they stay outside the camp for more than 6 hours, a corona test will be carried out.

Those who break these rules will be quaratined for 3-5 days while waiting for the results. The corona lockdown has been relaxed and different federal states have come up with different strategies to let people get out and try to build a sort of „normality“ to their lives.

The DRK is of the opionion that refugees are not included in this „normality“. When the businesses are fighting to let people go shopping without masks, it seems the refugee in Wünsdorf cannot even visit their lawyers.

Is the DRK slowly turning lagers into open prisons? Refugees are adults who know the dangers of the corona pandemic and are responsible to keeping safe like everybody else in the society. Instead of locking down refugees in spaces where „social distancing is a privilege“, move them from the lagers and accommodate them in spaces where it is possible to practice social distancing and have freedom of movement.

That is why now than ever, we demand:

No lager for women and children, Abolish all lagers“!!!!

Lockdown in Upstall Straße 13 – Brandenburg an der Havel

For the Refugees, the coronavirus drama is not over! Instead of going back to what others are considering as a bit of “normal times” and enjoy the summer just like the rest, we start getting reports of forced quarantine at one of the lagers in Brandenburg an der Havel. This is why we will keep on repeating and fighting for “No lager for women and children, Abolish all lagers!“and a reality of living in dignity in decent accommodations.

As far as refugees are concerned, it seems that no lessons were learnt in the last three months during the lockdown; what happens to them does not really matter.  On the 11.06.20, a resident of one of the lagers in Brandenburg an der Havel, to be specific at the Upstall Straße 13, tested positive for covid-19. All the refugees in this camp were forced into quarantine, and a day later 3 more tested positive. For the next 14 days, they cannot leave their rooms as can be seen from the video in our facebook:

All the refugees about 300 of them, were forced to lock themselves in their rooms. The shared kitchen was closed and they were given small electrical stoves to use for cooking in their rooms, which we also find it not safe for their lives especially knowing that the rooms are being shared.

They still have to share the bathrooms and the toilets and having two masks each but no disinfectant. Furthermore, the men and women use the same toilets and hygiene measures are not taken into account against the Covid 19.

#Social distancing is a privilege: Bernburg lager in Sachsen-Anhalt Covid-19, sexual harassment and violence in the lagers:

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The lockdown has not been easy for anyone. Even for those who have homes, the situation has either produced the best or the worst from our families. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the discriminatory reality in our society has become more visible than ever, because the privileged people now have to cope with far worse life situations than before. The isolated areas, sharing crowded living spaces, bathrooms, toilets and kitchens with no privacy is just part of the problem. Due to the isolated situation, the refugee women are additionally and more often exposed to sexual harassment and violence!

Below is a shocking open letter on the situation of refugee women living in the Bernburg lager in Sachsen-Anhalt. They want their problems publicized and finally get the chance to leave the camp.

“We are (female) African immigrants living in ….. since April 24. Currently, the association for mistreated, beaten, assaulted, and abused women is taking charge of us ……..  Since we are here, we feel that we are coming to life again, even if we continue to struggle to overcome our previous traumas and those that we recently had to go through in Halberstadt and Bernburg Saale.

The story that we are going to tell you today is the story that we, the ladies B, F, H, K, have suffered in Bernburg (Saale), more precisely at Teichweg 6, a home (Heim) for foreign residents. On April 22, Ms. B has been physically assaulted by Mr. E, who lives in the same home as us. All of this was the result of misunderstandings or gossip; this is why Mr. E entered her room in a certain anger and gave her a thrashing without any explanation. She held her baby of one year and a half in her arms. Following a cry for help by Ms. F, all residents of the home went to the victim’s room, where we tried to drag her out on the corridor to protect her from the hands of her Guru (aggressor/manipulator).

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Solidary greetings from Frauenverband Courage to the women of Women in Exile

On 12.05.2020 we received the press release from “Women in Exile” about the untenable situation in the refugee camp in Hennigsdorf, which has been under permanent quarantine for 4 weeks. For the women in the refugee camp this meant a special aggravation of their situation. Due to the curfew, the residents themselves cannot go shopping. There are ready-made shopping lists to tick off. On these lists, there are important items missing that the women need such as sanitary & toiletries e.g. bandages, soaps, diapers etc. In an impressive solidarity action, women from Women in Exile brought the necessary items to the camp to hand them over, exchange solidarity greetings and photos to everything under proper safety distances including face-masks protection.The police accused them of an unannounced demonstration, violation of Assembly Act, issued expulsions and announced mail.

Dear women of Women in Exile,

we from Frauenverband Courage send you our solidarity greetings. We are outraged upon the treatment of the refugees in the Hennigsdorf camp, especially the situation of the women in the camp, the permanent prolongation of the quarantine without protection and humane care for those affected.

Your action of solidarity with women should set as an example and we reject the criminalization of you by the police as well as the criminalization of other helpers like in Bad Belzig or the Doberlug-Kirchhain.

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