WHO WE ARE
Refugee Women for Refugee Women
Women in Exile is an initiative of refugee women founded in Brandenburg in 2002 to fight for their rights.
We have made the experience that refugee women are doubly discriminated against not only by racist laws in general but also as women.
Platform for Women
Our organisation is a platform for refugee women. We bring the inhumane living conditions of refugee women to the public and develop strategies for political change.
We see ourselves as one of the few bridges between the refugee movement and the women’s movement. It was in this spirit of solidarity that Women in Exile and Friends was created in 2011 and activists without a refugee background joined us.
A Little Bit of History
Women in Exile was founded in Brandenburg in 2002 by refugee women to fight for their rights. We decided to organize as a refugee women’s group because we have made the experience that refugee women are doubly discriminated against not only by racist laws and discriminative refugee laws in general but also as women. The struggle against these laws is usually supported by mixed-sex refugee self-organizations and in our experience, these are often dominated by men who look at other issues as more important.
Women in Exile and Friends
In 2011, Women in Exile and activists in solidarity without a flight background, founded “Women in Exile and Friends”. Our fights are focused on the abolition of all laws discriminatory to asylum seekers and migrants and on the interconnections of racism and sexism. Together we develop strategies to achieve political change and take our protest against the inhuman living conditions of refugee women to the public. To date, we have managed to build a nationwide network of groups working with refugee women. We perceive ourselves of being a bridge between refugee and feminists movements.
As Women in Exile & Friends, one of our interconnected activities is caring for those threatened by deportations and facing racist injustices. For example, the case of our late sister Rita Awuor Ojunge, a Black refugee woman who was murdered near the Lager in Hohenleipisch, where she was forced to stay and struggled for a decent life for her and her children. Her body parts were only found almost three months after her disappearance, which was located just 200 metres from the Lager.
Women in Exile practices abolition as an emancipatory commitment that is not reducible to Lagers or prisons but rather encircles all fields of social and ecological life, ranging from interconnected forms of violence and exploitation, to access to health care and reproductive justice, housing, emancipatory education and the freedom to move as well as to stay. We also highlight the role of neocolonial power structures and the colonial continuity of border regimes, lager and deportation, linking struggles internationally, especially within Europe, to what is happening at the outer borders, in Poland/Beralus border, the Mediterranean sea and detention centres elsewhere, while focussing on the most vulnerable.
Nevertheless, the use of solidarity outside the core group of refugee women* does not lead to a weakening or decline in the self-determination of Women in Exile. Despite all the support, “it is central to the cooperation with Women in Exile & Friends that the refugee women* have the say” to counteract possible dominance structures within the organisation
The active refugee women in the group make regular visits to the camps in Berlin/Brandenburg to exchange experiences with the women living inside and invite them to our monthly meetings. This way we find out about the living conditions in each specific Heim and the women`s immediate needs. Together through workshops and seminars, we educate ourselves to become peers for those who come after us and develop perspectives to improve our already difficult living situation.
Through our peer education program, we have managed to encourage and help several refugee women not only to demand for their rights but to organise themselves in their different areas nationalwide to become loud and bring out the problems they are facing during the asyl procedure to the public. We develop perspectives to fight for our rights in the asylum procedure and to defend ourselves against sexualised violence, discrimination, and exclusion. Besides, many have found their way to getting residential status through our peer program.