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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.

“Hearing these from the women have disturbed and annoyed us a lot, especially because there are two types of cigarettes and two types of beer to choose from. That is why we decided to get these things for the women & children and bring them to them”, said Madeleine Mawamba from Women in Exile e.V. When we delivered this to them last Friday, 8.5.2020, they were very happy.

After consulting with the security staff there, we took in the end a solidarity photo with the women inside and outside, as well as our news and wishes, and just when we were ready to leave, we noticed that the local police had blocked our way. That surprised us very much, because we all had our face-masks on and we had kept/ maintained the 1.5m distance. They accused us of holding an unregistered demonstration and took as evidence our identity cards & our posters which we had brought along with us as a good gesture & greetings for the women. This dragged on for over two hours. We were accused of violating the assembly law and in the end, we were given restriction order until the next morning and we are supposed to wait for their mail post.

This criminalization of solidarity is something we are currently experiencing more and more. Also, in front of other camps such as in Bad Belzig or Doberlug-Kirchhain, people who helped the refugees on the spot were stopped by the police and warned or were reported to the police.

During our visit there, we learned that the quarantine for the refugees living there is constantly being extended. “There are refugees who have already been tested negative twice, but who must and will remain in quarantine. Due of the limited space and the communal accommodation there is a permanent risk of reinfection. If only one person is newly infected, all residents of the house are contacted persons. This means that the refugees in the accommodations are defenceless against the virus and must expect a permanent extension of the quarantine. So far, the political leaders are setting out all demands for a change in the housing conditions. Increasingly, the courts must force the administrations to take action to protect the affected persons and to provide alternative, less dangerous accommodation,” the Refugee Council Brandenburg said.

We call for the refugees living there to be transferred to safe areas where they can maintain the physical distance regulations. We consider the currently vacant holiday apartments and hotels suitable for this purpose. This is an important step to prevent a mass catastrophe.

Furthermore, this experience shows us once again that our demands for

“No camps for women and children! Abolish all camps!”

and highly relevant!

Press contact Women in Exile

Phone: 01521 3070280

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