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Refugees Cannot Trust the Media - MDR on Refugee Demonstration in Saalfeld

Foto: The district office of the city of Saalfeld

Refugees Cannot Trust the Media - MDR on Refugee Demonstration in Saalfeld

We, the Nigerian community as a network of the RefugeeBlackBox group, coordinated with the VOICE Refugee Forum in Jena, which supported the protest and demonstration of The RefugeeBlackBox on November 19. 2020 in Rudolstadt. We were disappointed when we read the misleading and misrepresentative article "Asylum seekers refugees demonstrate in Saalfeld for better housing", which was published on November 19, 2020 by MDR about our protest, written by Stefanie Reinhardt. This normalizes and justifies racist asylum policies in Thuringia. See links to the press articles below

To our surprise, we realized that the local media coverage of MDR in Saalfeld did not present what we are fighting for. We fight against the deportation of refugees regardless of our skin color. We fight against racism in all its obnoxiuos forms. Against the poor living conditions in closed camps in small and overcrowded rooms for a decent life and the daily discrimination. Against the injustice of the Thuringian court in Gera and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) in rejecting asylum seekers, even when reasons for protection are obvious. Nigerian applications in particular, are always rejected before the court in Gera even with the international outcry against mass human rights violations in Nigeria. Therefore we protested. There will be even more protest in the future if our demands for a stop to deportation are not met.

[ "We demand an unconditional right to freedom of movement and for all residence rights, the right to work and health care for all refugees without discrimination in Germany - Refugee Demonstration against deportation in Saalfeld / Saale"
Eng/Deu: Press release and invitation from "The VOICE": Demonstration against deportation in Saalfeld | (17.11.2020) ]

Refugees Cannot Trust the Media in Saalfeld

The article does not deal with the different demands and testimonies that were made both in the call for the demonstration and in speeches during the action. The affected refugee organizers of the protest were not interviewed or heard, instead our VOICE was silenced in the articles. We are not portrayed as the organizers of the protest, who are competent enough to speak for themselves, but only as objects managed by the authorities, which are only given as numbers by Petra Maar from the district office of the city of Saalfeld, whom the journalist interviewed.

By reducing our presence only to numbers without dignity, you have deliberately undermined our VOICE and our protest, the article contributes to the dehumanization of the refugees by the Thuringian authorities. Furthermore, the numbers and legal quotations in the report on the interview with Ms. Petra Maar from the District Office are intended to give the impression that everything is in order, everything is in accordance with the law. And because it is a law, nothing needs to be questioned. Not the continuing deplorable living and housing conditions, not the permanent psychological pressure and torture caused by the threat of deportation. Not the prejudiced and racist proceedings in decisions of the Federal Office and the courts against refugees and rejection of Asylum applications, especially from Nigeria. The article normalizes the systematic and institutionalized racist discrimination and oppression by Thuringia's refugee policy. What a shame for a news media and where lies your journalistic ethos of fair and balanced?

We will continue to demand an unconditional right to freedom of movement without deportation and for all residence rights, the right to work and health care for all refugees without discrimination in Germany!

To counter those who think they can talk about us without us, we want to express ourselves as experts of our own situation by referring to our demands once again:

"Refugee Black Box Solidarity Rudolstadt - Community Protest in Saalfeld/Saalestadt
Tel +4915218152765 RBB Rudolstadt | The VOICE Refugee Forum Jena | Tel.: 0176 24568988 |
Email: | | Facebook: RefugeeBlackBox


MDR Press in English and German

Asylum seekers Refugees in Saalfeld demonstrate for better accommodation

Status: November 19, 2020, 14:33

Asylum seekers Refugees in Saalfeld demonstrate for better accommodation

About 50 people demonstrated on Thursday morning in Saalfeld against the deportation of refugees and racism. The protest was organized by refugees from Nigeria. They are accommodated in the communal accommodation in Rudolstadt. During the demonstration from the Promenadenweg to the market place in Saalfeld they also demanded better living conditions for refugee families in Rudolstadt.

Criticism of asylum accommodations in Saalfeld and Rudolstadt

For example, they criticized the fact that families with two children are accommodated in a single room. According to Petra Maar, the head of asylum, accommodation and care at the District Office, 147 people currently live in the shared accommodation, a former hospital in Rudolstadt. "The district has always made every effort to accommodate the asylum seekers according to the guidelines and especially according to their cultural background," says Maar. Accommodating individual persons in two-bed rooms is not feasible or affordable.
Several people with masks on their faces hold posters in their hands.
Refugees demand better accommodation in Saalfeld and Rudolstadt. Picture rights: MDR/ Stefanie Reinhardt

Six square meters per asylum seeker

According to Petra Maar, how many people live in one room corresponds to the Thuringian Accommodation and Care Ordinance. According to this regulation, every asylum seeker is entitled to at least six square meters of space. In Rudolstadt, five families, each with a total of four people, are currently accommodated in a four-bed room. According to Petra Maar, it is normal that individual men share a four-bed room. Depending on the duration of the asylum proceedings, the people spend one to four years in the accommodation. Because the shared accommodations are financed by the state of Thuringia with a lump sum, Petra Maar said, looser accommodation requires much more money from the state. The district, with its tense budget situation, is not in a position to rent apartments for the refugees itself.
Shared accommodation not fully occupied

At present, 3,056 refugees are registered in the district of Saalfeld-Rudolstadt, including from Nigeria, Syria, Afghanistan and Turkey. According to the district administration office, a total of 290 people are currently accommodated in the communal accommodations in Saalfeld and Rudolstadt. According to Petra Maar, both accommodations are not fully occupied. Thus in the accommodation in Saalfeld place for up to 207 humans is. At present 143 people lived there. The shared accommodation in Rudolstadt could accommodate up to 210 people.

Translated with (free version)

Asylbewerber Flüchtlinge in Saalfeld demonstrieren für bessere Unterbringung
Stand: 19. November 2020, 14:33 Uhr

Rund 50 Menschen haben am Donnerstagvormittag in Saalfeld gegen die Abschiebung von Flüchtlingen und Rassismus demonstriert. Den Protest organisiert hatten Flüchtlinge aus Nigeria. Sie sind in der Gemeinschaftsunterkunft in Rudolstadt untergebracht. Bei der Demonstration vom Promenadenweg bis zum Marktplatz in Saalfeld forderten sie auch bessere Lebensbedingungen für geflüchtete Familien in Rudolstadt.

Kritik an Asyl-Unterkünften in Saalfeld und Rudolstadt

So kritisierten sie, dass Familien mit zwei Kindern in der Unterkunft in einem einzigen Zimmer untergebracht werden. Laut Petra Maar, der Leiterin für Asyl, Unterkunft und Betreuung im Landratsamt, leben zurzeit 147 Menschen in der Gemeinschaftsunterkunft, einem ehemaligen Krankenhaus in Rudolstadt. "Der Landkreis war immer bemüht, die Asylbewerber nach den Richtlinien und vor allem nach ihrem kulturellen Hintergrund unterzubringen", sagt Maar. Einzelne Personen in Zwei-Bett-Zimmern unterzubringen, sei nicht umsetz- und bezahlbar.

Foto Flüchtlinge fordern eine bessere Unterkunft in Saalfeld und Rudolstadt. Bildrechte: MDR/ Stefanie Reinhardt

Sechs Quadratmeter pro Asylbewerber

Wie viele Menschen in einem Zimmer leben - das entspricht laut Petra Maar der Thüringer Unterbringungs-und Betreuungsverordnung. Danach stehen jedem Asylbewerber mindestens sechs Quadratmeter Platz zu. In Rudolstadt seien zurzeit fünf Familien mit jeweils insgesamt vier Personen in einem Vierbettzimmer untergebracht. Dass einzelne Männer sich ein Vier-Bett-Zimmer teilen, so Petra Maar, sei normal. Je nach Dauer der Asylverfahren verbringen die Menschen in der Unterkunft ein bis vier Jahre. Weil die Gemeinschaftsunterkünfte vom Land Thüringen mit einer Pauschale finanziert werden, so Petra Maar, setze eine lockerere Unterbringung wesentlich mehr Geld vom Land voraus. Der Landkreis mit seiner angespannten Haushaltssituation sei nicht in der Lage, selbst Wohnungen für die Geflüchteten zu mieten.

Gemeinschaftsunterkunft nicht voll belegt

Zurzeit sind im Landkreis Saalfeld-Rudolstadt 3.056 Flüchtlinge gemeldet, unter anderem aus Nigeria, Syrien, Afghanistan und der Türkei. Insgesamt 290 Menschen sind laut Landratsamt zurzeit in den Gemeinschaftsunterkünften in Saalfeld und Rudolstadt untergebracht. Beide Unterkünfte sind laut Petra Maar nicht voll belegt. So sei in der Unterkunft in Saalfeld Platz für bis zu 207 Menschen. Dort wohnten zurzeit 143 Personen. In der Gemeinschaftsunterkunft in Rudolstadt könnten bis zu 210 Menschen wohnen.

Press Links:

MDR Article: „Asylum seekers Refugees in Saalfeld demonstrate for better accommodation“ (19.11.2020)
OTZ-Article: Migrants in Saalfeld Call for More Justice: