25.7 How long will we close our ears and eyes to humanity in our backyards?

We arrived in Nürnberg on the 25.7. late in the evening and after eating and being allocated to the sleeping places, we decided to have an early night.


The next day we left about 10:30 am for Bamberg and visited what one of the residents described to us, as the abandoned village. This description had different meanings, one of them is the state of isolation of this huge camp and the other one is what is going on inside, and the feelings of those living inside. These mixed feelings of fear, depression, stress and that nobody cares about are a pyschological wall towards the refugees in this huge AOE Lager. This we felt at the entrance where the security guards told us to stand together on one spot as they sorted out our identities.

We talked and invited many women to the empowerment workshop which we were giving outside the camp in a solidarity cafe in the city. About 20 women from the camp attended the workshop and talked about different topics. One could tell from the discussions that they lacked information and were lost and desparate in their abandoned village as they called it. After the workshop, we invited them to Nürnberg for the rally we were holding in front of the BAMF the following day.

From our evaluation of the visit of the Bamberg camp it is clear that:
This camp is an abandoned village with numbered buildings, street names and signs having one common eating building situated at one corner of the huge area, where women with small babies, sick or well have to walk for more than five minutes for their daily meals. The women and children do not sleep at night because of fear and noise. These are issues we „Women in Exile“ has critized and will keep on critizing and asking for the laws on lager accommodation and the discriminative refugee laws to be abolished.

One of the young women described how her one and a half year old baby is unable to not only eat but also sleep. When she takes it to the hospital, the doctor says it has no problem. The young mother who came to Europe through Libya knows her baby is not well but does not know where to go or what to do.This young mother allowed us to photograph her baby and publish it because this way if someone outside this abandoned village will see her baby’s condition and have a heart to help her find out what is wrong with her child. She feels the authorities have failed her, that even the doctor whose job is to heal people, does not care to find out what her child is ailing from. All she knows is that her child is not well. A woman living in this lager told us that her child who is born in Germany and is disabled does not get medical support.

The doors in these more than 20 former military barrack buildings are not lockable, the locks have been removed and one needs only to push the door to go in. „The security guards are very intimidating, they enter our rooms whenever they want, just kicking the doors, coming in without knocking and finding us naked sometimes“. We do not sleep at night because of the fear of who can come into our rooms. We know they are exposing us to sexual violation or rape just because they do not want to break the doors when they come to deport us. We ask ourselves, what is the difference between what they are doing to us here and what was be done to us in Libya.

A room of 12sqm is shared between 4-6 people, depending on whether one is single or has children. The pictures the media and press is showing us when they are taken to tour these lagers by the politicians are normal self contained apartment WG`s. What they do tell us is reality, there are no cooking facilities such cookers because these refugees get their cooked meals and eat in that common building. These „apartments“ accommodates almost 20 people (the number of the people low at times after deportations but in a few days more are added) who share the narrow corridor, two toilets and a bathroom. The most interesting thing is when people in one room has been deported and the room is empty, that room is then locked and no-one can enter, only those with the keys when another group is brought in. Refugees are moved from one camp to another in Baveria, which means, even if they are living in Bamberg for six months, they have been moved from other receiving centres for the last one and half years, while some of them have been living in the lager in Bamberg since 2015 when it was opened.

„Deportations are the order of the day in this lager“, one woman told us on how she was physically violated by the police when she was protesting when they came to deport her husband at 5pm. We got reports that someone who was admitted in hospital was picked by the police from the hospital bed.

Most women with children reported how they are mistreated by the doctor and midwife who come once a week to lager to check on the children. They bring division by ridiculing one community against the other. This is not strange to us because one midwife from Regensburg was telling us very innocently how women from one community are practising their traditional ways when caring for their children for example, putting saliva on their children`s umbilical cord or piercing their ears. On the other hand, how the other community, although from the same continent are better and understands her methods and teaching.

In this huge lager which seems very child friendly from the outside, because one clearly sees a children playing-ground and a large green open area where children can run up and down, but these children do not attend kindergarten; nor do the mothers have a chance for German course to learn the language.

The women are traumatised, stressed and live in fear of sexual assult because of their unlocked doors and deportation. These are women who have gone through a lot of danger, rape and seeing their companions die by drowning on the mediterrean sea ending up as corpses on European shores or in the desert.

Nürnberg 27.08

At 10:30 am, we met in front of the BAMF in Nürnberg for a rally, and more than 10 refugee women from Bamberg joined us and were able to express their frustrations and at the same time pleaded with the state to help them have a dignified life in this country.

From Women in Exile, we reminded them of our demands two years ago which they have up to now, totally ignored, through flying objects such as flying paper planes and baloons with writings in different languages and messages.

Many thanks to the solidarity groups in Nürnberg for organising these memorable events for us.
We left Nürnberg at about 2pm with four new refugee women and two children for Regensburg!


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