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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

https://www.maz-online.de/Lokales/Brandenburg-Havel/Bewohner-in-Uebergangswohnheim-in-Brandenburg-an-der-Havel-positiv-auf-Corona-getestet

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:

https://www.facebook.com/Women-in-Exile-Friends-953605994710745/

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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Hennigsdorf refugee camp in permanent quarantine & supported by Flüchtlingsrat Brandenburg

The refugees accommodated in Hennigsdorf, in the collective accommodation Stolpe-Süd, have been under quarantine for 4 weeks.

Today the 12.05.2020, should’ve been officially over for everyone, but it was extended again until the 21.05.20. Those who tested positive could already leave the quarantine on 05.05.

After 68 residents who were tested positive for Covid-19 during the first tests in April, now 17 more from the 300 residents at present have at the moment tested positive.

This is no surprise for us because, since the pandemic was declared, we say that the collective accommodations for refugees are incubators of the virus, because the physical distance regulations are not practicable there due to the narrow-shared rooms and the common rooms like bathrooms and kitchens.

We are in close contact with the refugee women living there and they have told us about their catastrophic conditions: No visitors, large presence of the federal police, no internet & isolation by quarantine.

Due to the curfew, the residents have been given a shopping list on which they can mark the food they need. Apart from some food and washing powder, there are no sanitary/hygiene articles that are necessary for women and children, which also are normal part of their shopping needs. The women reported that they lack sanitary towels, baby diapers, soap and face-masks.

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Covid-19 Pandemic: #SocialDistanceIsAPrivilege – Keeping the Social Distancing rule is impossible in lagers

On 21.04. we got reports that in the Hennigsdorf camp in the district of Oberhavel, 20 refugees were tested positive to the corona virus. In the same camp which is a stone throw away from Berlin, 300 refugees have been quarantined while testing is going on. Other camps like Zeppelinstr. in Potsdam and much more in Berlin are already under the status of forced quarantine.

Hennigsdorf is just an example of the so called „transit homes “, where refugees are supposed to be accommodated temporary for a short period while solutions of accommodating them in proper flats is found.

In these so called „transit homes “refugee live sometimes for over ten years. Sharing rooms with a living space of only 6qm² and sharing also all other facilities such as toilets, bathrooms, kitchens. At the end, most of them end up depressed and traumatised from the situation, while some don’t find other ways than committing suicide. On top of this women encounter sexual and physical violence from inside and outside because of their vulnerability in these forced accommodation spaces. The murder of our sister Rita last year is a case in point (see our article ).

Continue reading Covid-19 Pandemic: #SocialDistanceIsAPrivilege – Keeping the Social Distancing rule is impossible in lagers

Covid-19 Is Not The Only Danger Inside The Camps: Abolish All Lagers!!!

#Combat Covid-19 + Combat Lagers!

# Justice for Rita

07.04.2020 – First anniversary of the disappearance of our sister Rita

We still demand “Justice for Rita”!

One year ago, on 07.04.2019, our sister Rita was reported missing. Her body had been lying only 200 meters away from her camp in Hohenleipisch and yet it took the police almost three months to find her. The police investigation took another six months to confirm that Rita had been murdered. Only then was Rita’s body handed over to her family for the funeral.

To this day there is no information whatsoever about what happened to our sister. Rita was only 32 years old, left two small children behind and had to spend the last seven years of her life in the camp in Hohenleipisch. During this time she complained several times to the home management about sexual harassment, but her complaints were ignored throughout.

The consequence of ignoring our demand for “abolition of all Lagers” can be seen particularly well in the current Covid 19 pandemic period.

There are numerous self-organized protests by refugees, especially in the overcrowded and cramped first-admission camps like Bremen and Halberstadt (Saxony-Anhalt), who demonstrate against the accommodations they are housed in.

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Protect Human Lives! Dissolve Mass Accommodation!

Flats Instead Of Lagers!

Protect Human Lives! Dissolve Mass Accommodation!

Flats Instead Of Lagers!

Shared Press Release by

We’ll Come United Berlin und Brandenburg

Flüchtlingsrat Berlin e.V.

AK Wohnungsnot

Unter Druck e.V.

Women in Exile e.V.

Selbstvertretung wohnungsloser Menschen /

Wohnungslosentreffen

Wohnungslosenparlament

Bündnis solidarische Stadt

Armutsnetzwerk e.V.

Berlin, 7. April 2020

While contact is restricted by numerous measures for protection against the Corona Virus, tens of thousands of people in Berlin live in shelters for refugees and homeless people, cramped together in multi-bed rooms and shared facilities like bathrooms and kitchens. At least 30,000 homeless have been placed in precarious accommodation, often without any social care or quality standards, by the district offices according to the ASOG, and a further 20,0002 live in collective accommodation run by the State Office for Refugee Affairs (LAF) with up to 500 residents per shelter. In this situation, it is impossible to comply with contact and distance prohibitions. In addition, there are several thousand homeless people living on the streets, who are hardly able to protect themselves from the virus. On the other hand, almost all 150,000 beds in the 800 hotels and accommodation facilities in Berlin are currently empty, and there are also numerous holiday apartments and furnished “business apartments” that are usually rented on a monthly basis.

We demand the immediate housing of all homeless people in flats and holiday or business apartments and the dissolution of mass accommodation where protection against infection is not possible.

Our demands:

Safe and decent living instead of homelessness and collective accommodation – immediate measures

Homeless people always belong to the so-called risk groups due to the living conditions on the streets, their situation has been considerably aggravated by the corona pandemic: Berlin emergency overnight shelters were closed or the number of beds reduced. Day care facilities for the homeless closed, too. The supply of food is partly shifted to the streets, the existing supply structure is crumbling. For people on the street, this is an enormous physical and psychological burden.The 350 places recently created at two locations in Berlin for homeless people are far from sufficient for the 2000 people who were recently counted in Berlin living visibly on the streets. The corona virus can spread quickly in the emergency shelters of the “Kältehilfe” – they are a danger to those affected and everyone else.

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Covid-19 in Doberlug-Kirchhain – we demand the immediate closure of this camp

It has been a question of when and not if, corona virus would find its way to lagers in Brandenburg too. Separate containers have been set on the compounds and some of the refugees have been under quarantine. The first three cases from the refugees who have been quaranted in Doberlug-Kirchhain have now tested positive. The refugees are now living in fear and scared of their lives because they are aware, there is very little they can do to prevent themselves of being infected with the covid-19.

So far, they are supposed to wear masks, each has been presented with one because they aren`t more in the moment. They are still allowed to go into the city, if necessary but only in a group of two persons. They have been warned of being fined if the police finds them breaking the social distance law of 1,5m. The camp will not be in quarantine as a whole unless many refugees in the camp test positive.

Organisations working with refugees have been demanding for the closure of lagers for many years and the demands have got intensified since the break of the covid-19. Press releases from different organisations in Berlin and Brandenburg and German wide have been focusing on the closure of the camps and moving the refugees to alternative spaces. After police invaded the dention camp in Suhl (Thüringen), it was obvious for the refugees no solution could be found. Physical distancing is impossible in the often crowded way they are accommodated and the sharing of the amenities such as bathrooms, toilets and kitchens or dining halls.

Doberlug-Kirchhain should be closed immediately! Close all Camps!!

Social Distance is a privilege

Though Corona virus has proven that there is no race but human beings. We still realise that the protection measures are not for everybody. In the camps, it is very obvious that “Social Distancing is Privilege” This is why our “No Lager for Women and children!, Abolish all lagers” is still very present. https://www.fluechtlingsrat-brandenburg.de/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/PM_Unterbringung-von-Flüchtlingen-während-Corona-Pandemie.pdf

We have already pointed that information in different languages are lacking in the camps. Aft.er starting our video empowerment campaign for women to share their experience and situation they are going through at the moment.

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It is very obvious, it is impossible to follow the “social distancing” rules because in the camps, sharing of social amenities such as bathrooms, toilets and kitchen/dining halls. We will keep sharing this information with you regularly.