Press release by The VOICE Refugee Forum
Published on Tuesday, 09th of May 2012
Action days 9th-11th of May in Berlin: Refugee protest against embassies‘ collaboration for deportation
The refugee self organisation „The VOICE Refugee Forum“, together with the „Caravan for the rights of Refugees and Migrants“ and other migrants‘ and antiracist groups, is organising action days in Berlin against the collaboration between embassies and German authorities for deportations. The embassies of Nigeria and Guinea, due to their corrupt practices and dubious „identifications“, are a focus of protest. The highlight of the action days is a demonstration on Thursday, 10th of May, starting at 11 am in front of the Nigerian embassy (Neue Jakob Str. 4), passing by German foreign ministry. In the evening, there will be the cinema premiere of the film „Residenzpflicht“ at Babylon Cinema. Besides this, there will be workshops, presentations, theater, poetry, performances, creative actions, and a refugee conference on Friday. Many refugees are going to come from refugee camps in different regions of Germany (Baden Würtemberg, Bavaria, Thuringia, Niedersachsen and Sachsen Anhalt).
A deportation is only possible if a state is ready to „take back“ the person concerned. For this purpose, German authorities buy passports and traveling certificates from the embassies of the countries where people are getting deported to. Refugees are forced to be interviewed by embassy officials to confirm their origin and identity and finally issue them traveling certificates. Centralised hearings are organised at changing places in order to accelerate the whole procedure.
Rex Osa, spokesman of „The VOICE Refugee Forum Stuttgart“, expresses harsh criticism: „The Nigerian embassy, as one among many, is traveling from one German district to another to issue traveling documents for deportations at mobile hearings. Last month, they were in Karlsruhe, right now, there is another deportation hearing in Dortmund. German authorities pay money for every so-called „identification“ and for every „traveling certificate“ being issued. In 2005, the Nigerian embassy, due to bad treatment of Nigerians in Germany, stopped the deportation hearings for a short time – but when the fee for every „identification“ was raised from 130 to 250 Euro, the deportation business was ruthlessly restarted. Even people from other African countries are „identified“ as Nigerians in ordert o deport them. European governments like to preach „Good Governance“, but for deporting our people, they are ready to apply corrupt practices.“
The deportation hearings were an aim of numerous protests by refugee communities. Many people who were summoned have successfully boycotted these appointments. Salomon Wantchoucou of Möhlau Refugee Initiative points out: „In the refugee camps, there is big fear to be summoned to the embassy by the police by force and afterwards to be deported. Our aim is to encourage people that resistance is possible and that they can defend themselves against their own deportation.
The days from 9th till 11th of May in Berlin shall also be used to scandalise the role of EU border police agency, Frontex, at mass deportations. Thousands of people have already been deported to Nigeria with international coordinated Frontex charter flights. In January 2012, Nigeria signed a new cooperation treaty for „repatriation“ operations with Frontex. Rex Osa points out: „We want to expose the neocolonial elements of EU anti migration policy. Obligations to „take back“ deportees and to control migration are nowadays a core element of cooperation treaties between EU states and African states. Germany is the main sponsor of Frontex and plays a leading role in forcing other countries to collaborate for deportations. In Berlin, we want to show: African governments must stop helping European governments, who are profiting from destroying our countries until today, to deport people!“ Osaren Igbinoba of „The VOICE Refugee Forum Jena“ adds: „Deportations are not only racist, but also a form of colonial persecution!“
You can contact us for questions and interviews (see contact on top!). During the action days, starting on Wednesday, 9th of May, at 2 pm, there will be a central info table at „Neptunbrunnen“ in front of the „Rotes Rathaus“ townhall.
Background information and programme:
1. RADIO Reboot.FM HÖREN
Interview with activists of The VOICE Refugee Forum on Action days against Country Embassy deportation Collaboration in Berlin 9-11 May 2012. http://soundcloud.com/rebootfm/2012-04-27-the-voices-mp3
More info on „identification“ hearings and business with traveling certificates:
The VOICE Refugee Forum