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Germany - Brutal police intervention against refugee children from Nigeria in Treuen

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Brutal police intervention against refugee children from Nigeria in Treuen, Sachsen (Germany)
Police handcuffs children and deports them from the child care facilities to the asylum camp

On Friday, May 16, 2008, police used physical violence to deport Sophia (14), Sandra (13) and Sonja (8) Omoroghomwan back from the ‘children’s home care facilities’ in Treuen (in the Vogt District of Sachsen) to the isolated asylum camp for refugees located in the forest near the town of Posseck (also in the Vogt District).

Because they could no longer withstand the isolation of the asylum camp, the three young Nigerian girls took up the decision on their own to visit the ‘children’s home care facilities’ in Treuen, near Plauen. They were well-received in the facilities and they felt comfortable there. Although they had to live seperated from their mother Claudia, they wanted to stay there because they could no long endure the living conditions in Posseck.

Last Friday, May 16, 2008, in the presence of an official of the Youth Welfare Office, the children were forced by the police to return to the asylum camp. That morning, the girls were informed by the staff of the child care facilities that they would have to return to Posseck. When they refused, the official from the Youth Welfare Office called the police. Four police cars were sent to pick up the children.

Shocked and scared, the young girls attempted to escape. In doing so, they were followed by a police car. As Sofia, the youngest of the three, was captured by the police, Sophia, the oldest of the sisters, decided to stay back with her younger sister. Both were locked in a room. Whereas Sandra continued her attempt to flee, the woman from the Youth Welfare Office called for more police backup. Once Sandra was captured, she was handcuffed and dragged along the ground. She was also handcuffed at her legs. According to her sisters, Sandra was completely panic-stricken and crying.

The children were insulted by the police. They heard statements like “stupid little things”, “Blacks” and “crazy”. Likewise, they heard the woman from the Ministry of Youth say they had no chance.

The two youngest sisters, Sandra (13) and Sonja (8) were chained to one another with handcuffs, and Sophia (14) had her hands handcuffed behind her back. The children report that they were forcibly pushed and pulled by the police, and that no attention was paid to the fact that they were handcuffed. Further, their cries of pain from the handcuffs were ignored by the responsible police officers. Sophia declared that their reclamations were simply ignored. The handcuffs left visible and painful marks on their wrists. Thereafter they were forced into the police car while handcuffed and shipped off to the asylum camp, where—still handcuffed—they were brought into their room by the police officers.

The mother was never informed about what was happening. As the girls were brought into the camp, the mother was completely taken aback by what had been done to her children. For their part, the children are still in a state of shock and continue to complain about the pains.

The Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants and The VOICE Refugee Forum energetically protest this act of police violence on the part of the police and state officials. By calling for the police as a reaction to the desperate cry for help of three young girls who desire a life with social contacts and outside of the Lager, the Youth Welfare Office has completely discredited both itself as well as its mission to protect the well-being of children. As such, our protest is particularly directed at the behavior of the Youth Welfare Office.

According to a judgement taken by the Family Court of Plauen, together with Claudia Omoroghomwan, the Ministery of Youth was given supplementary custody of the three girls following the death of Claudia’s brother and sister-in-law in a traffic accident—the girls’ biological parents—as well as that of the grandmother, who died two years ago and also had partial custody of the children. Since this court ruling, Ms. Omoroghomwan has been refused the right to decide over the fate of the three young girls.

Yet that the Jugendamt, as supplementary caretaker, is there for the best interests of the children has clearly been refuted by such behavior. The search for protection from the inhumane living conditions in the forest near Posseck is not taken seriously by the Youth Welfare Office. Instead, physical violence is used as a tool to force the children back to a place where the psychological pressure and isolation takes away their Lebensmut.

In light of this type of persecution on the part of the German authorities, Ms. Omoroghomwan and her children are seriously fraught. Ms. Omoroghomwan has attempted on several occasions to request permission for a transfer to normal housing outside of the forest and in the city. This permission has been denied every time. Following the most recent incident, it is no longer possible for the family to continue living in the forest near Posseck.

Together with The VOICE Refugee Forum, the network of the Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants supports the demand of Ms. Omoroghomwan to break the social isolation and to be transferred to Halle, where the family has connection to their religious community as well as their African culture. We call on all childrens’ and human rights organizations to coordinate efforts with us in order to jointly demand protection, appropriate health care as well as dignified living conditions for the family.

Further, we call on the German Federal Office for Migration to make an immediate decision regarding the asylum application of Dammiana, the youngest daughter, who is urgent need of protection from the threat of circumcision which she faces if she is deported to Nigeria.

For more information see:

-Visit in the refugee camp near Posseck (Sachsen), January 2008 by the Family of Claudia Omoroghomwan.
A Report from The VOICE Refugee Forum Meeting in Jena, 26/27.02.2008.

- Brutal police intervention against refugee children from Nigeria in Treuen (Saxony) Germany

G e r m a n Text:
Bitte schließt euch unserem Protest gegen diese behördliche Gewalt in Sachsen an und helft uns, diesen Aufruf zu verbreiten!
- PRESSEMITTEILUNG: Brutaler Polizeieinsatz gegen nigerianische Flüchtlingskinder in Treuen (Sachsen)