Archive of older material
Solidarity statement of the Womenspace with the people of school
Women of the Womenspace in solidarity with the inhabitants of the school : This declaration is directed to Mister Pannhoff : keep your promises or face our resistance. Stop gaining your political aims on our lives!
We are the women of the Womenspace. We have been living and organising ourselves in the school since almost 2 years. This place was our home, it was our meeting place, a safe place where we could empower ourselves and our sisters, giving workshops and inviting lawyers every week; it was ours.
We were evicted violently on last June by your police, in the presence of the children who were traumatised by your uncalled for action.People were all standing in the rain with their uncompleted luggage, put into buses, in a scene that looked like war times, in this country that gave us shelter. We were said that we could come back to pick up our things but were refused the entrance in spite of our Hausausweis.
You pretended for months to organize the school in a project, and promised that the people of the school will get an alternative accommodation. A few days ago they were thrown on the street, condemned to homelessness.
At the time, the Kreuzberg administration lied, and is still lying today, consciously betraying its own word.
You signed an agreement : you promised to let the refugees live there and open a social center in the pavilion. When they did so, the security refused its opening, and chased all visitors away.
Now, they beat up our friends. Two people have been thoroughly beaten up by the police and the security at the gate of the school. Both of them declared having received an injection during the arrest. One is since then deeply mentally chocked, severely traumatized by his experience and injury. He was brought to the hospital, and when he came back, the security team of Securitas refused to let him return to his home.
Who gave them the permission to harass and beat the inhabitants ? Who gave them the permission to interfere in the choice of who should stay in the house,wereas the agreement has been signed by your own hands. Is it your government, as you always claim when you need to escape your political responsibility? Or your own office?
You said to our brothers that you can’t afford paying for light and water anymore, but you can afford to pay another 900 policemen to evict them violently ?
We are not blind to accept your eviction again, we are ready to fight against the violation of this agreement and we are ready to die, women and men.
We have been very impressed by the support that was given by the neighbors in this situation. We are proud of our neighbours who supported the Womenspace ever since we started squatting with food, clothes and many other things : they didn’t forget us when we faced the police.
Your lies, your violence and the pressure we have been subjected to for weeks, as you were pretending to get our school organized into a refugee center, all these memories are still fresh in our minds, and they will stay for long, so don’t forget :
don’t try to fool the people of the school.
Join the Refugee women conference on the 20-22 of June
Two days of exchange and political discussion on the perspective of refugee women movements. Several groups, like Lia (München), Respect (Berlin), Oranienplatz Berlin and the IWS will have room to network and build our future struggles together. We will depart on the 20th, meeting point : 10:00 am at Ostbahnhof (entrance) and take the train all together.
Here the flyers to download : http://thecaravan.org/node/4081
Adress of the conference : Frankfurt am Main, Bockenheim, at Kurfürstenplatz
If you need Urlaubsschein or for any info, you can call 015218958811
ALL WOMEN WELCOME ! YALLA !
IWS goes Eisenhüttenstadt:
The radio interview of Trisa, living in the womenspace
Sat.29.03.2014, 2pm : Demo from Oplatz:Women in solidarity with Ugandan and Nigerian LGBT-I*
LET US PROTEST TOGETHER AGAINST THE DISCRIMINATION OF LGBTs
AT THE UGANDAN AND NIGERIAN EMBASSIES IN BERLIN!
The Presidents of Uganda and Nigeria Museveni and Goodluck just signed new bills criminalizing homosexuality.
This law, which is based on a anti-homosexuality law from the colonial-era, institutionalizes discrimination and violence in society by inciting harassment and brutal actions against LGBT people in the country. It neglects their rights and freedom. If a person is caught or reported as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, the punishment is life imprisonment.
Like wise in some parts of northern Nigeria gays and lesbians can be legally stoned to death.
Furthermore a person refusing to report or to give information about someone suspected to be gay, or even trying to defend such a person, can be prosecuted. The bill aims to intimidate any political or personal solidarity, any liberal thought about sexual orientation.
As a direct life-threating result, the day after the signing of the bill in Uganda the newspaper ‘Red Pepper’ published a list of 200 supposedly gay persons. This campaign that included exposing pictures already led to numerous suicides of people.
We are hereby condemning the passing and signing of this anti-gay bill and want to show our strong solidarity with our brothers and sisters that are effected of homophobic hatred in Uganda, Nigeria and elsewhere worldwide.
We demand the right to asylum and the right to stay for all refugees.
We are both Refugees and non Refugees.
Its all about solidarity.
Together we can fight.
Unity, Self-determination, Courage and Strength.
- Mo 03.02.2014: Support the IWS: drink our cocktails ! -Solitresen at the Bethanien-
Come and join us monday at the Bethanien from 8pm : Vokü, Music, Cocktails, infos about us,…and ourselves!
Sat 18.01.14: Workshop on refugee and migrant women rights at work
25.11:International day against violence towards women: Statement of the IWS
This 25th November 2013 marks the annual International Day against violence towards women. Europe tends to promote itself as safer than other regions and as a defender of women and children’s rights and safety. However on this day we choose to remind European Governments, and Germany in particular, that their racist policies and laws are make migrating women and those within the asylum system in Germany more vulnerable.
The International Women Space has been active for one year and is a collective of women in an occupied building in Kreuzberg, Berlin. We work together in a self-organized, non-hierarchical structure. Acknowledging our diversity of nationality, culture, class and residency status, we aim to exchange knowledge and strengthen our understanding of the context of asylum and migration for women. This sharing of experience enables women to voice their struggles whilst collectively supported and empowered.
On this day, to highlight the frequently inhumane treatment of women within the asylum system, we present some thoughts regarding asylum laws in Germany and the increased levels of harassment and violence that women experience.
Sexual harassment and violence are a global phenomenon, affecting women regardless of culture or nationality, to varying levels of intensity and in circumstances that range from domestic to social and often work related. Very often women, affected by harassment or violence, do not know how to address the issue or seek support.
The German asylum system and European migration law often subject people seeking for asylum to daily repression, with women experiencing effects that are far more extreme.
In Germany many refugees are assigned communal homes for living “Heims/Lager”, often in remote locations, far away from social/ cultural/ learning/ medical/ legal centres, entertainment, shops. These Heims frequently create situations of fear and isolation for women and children. There is often inadequate support available close by for individuals suffering from mental/ physical trauma, violence or sexual harassment. For many women, their lack of comprehension of the German language can also impact unfavourably on an ability to find professional help.
Additionally the Residenzpflicht law, prohibiting one to leave one’s Landkreis beyond a 30km radius from a registered Heim, disables women to access adequate support when needed, to find a safe space away from a violent situation or relationship, as well as access information about domestic/sexual violence, consent, family planning etc. The Heim isolation, restriction on movement and language difficulties can lead to further intimidate, and thus disempower, many women already frightened.
Certain Heims closer to bigger cities have more access to associations that provide appropriate counseling or support centers. However this does not completely ensure that women are safer or able to find alternative living options.
The Lager/Heims in remote locations like in Eisenhüttenstadt, (a reception centre and deportation prison for more than 700 refugees), has only one Frauenhouse (Frauenfürfrauen Eisenhüttenstadt) that accepts refugee women ~ “if there is room”. The Profamilia Eisenhüttenstadt, when asked about their capacity to support and council refugee women, referred back to the Lager/Heim administration.
The experience of racism and isolation in the Heims are not only driving people to depression and illness, but they also put women in frequently dangerous situations. Most refugee women are not given legal work permission, further exposing them to dangerous and exploitative work place practices. These include excessively low wages, harassment and prostitution, increasing one’s vulnerability to life-threatening infections.
It is intolerable for women having fled violence in their home country, to remain exposed and vulnerable with very little, if any, appropriate support.
Let us consider the issue of birth control. First one goes to the Sozialamt to ask for a Krankenschein, permission to see a doctor. The process of getting a Krankenshein can be in itself frustrating. Additionally the doctors are sometimes found to be inefficient and uncooperative. The language barrier affects every interaction from arranging appointments to communicating with the doctor. Often one is dependent on a translator, and indeed, one might need a female translator depending on what one has to discuss.
Therefore a basic need like family planning becomes a major and unwieldy process and many women have to prioritize their time into more immediate needs, like looking after their children. This further increases the chances of pregnancies ~ unplanned and often unwanted. Additionally the isolation within the Heims makes it difficult for women to access medical care, resulting in lack of information and prevention about sexually transmitted diseases, like HIV and AIDS.
Whether under Dublin 2 or in receiving a rejection response to their case, every women seeking asylum, single or with family, faces the continual risk and fear of deportation. This creates a state of perpetual uncertainty and instability. In many cases one’s only option to stay, or to prolong one’s stay, may be to marry a European citizen or to create a child.
This reality puts many women at serious risk of being exploited in wedlock. There are many marriages that develop with love and respect for one another. However, vulnerable and lacking rights, a woman’s precarious legal situation may put extreme pressure on her to marry, no matter what the treatment might be from her partner.
For many pregnant mothers, isolation makes it difficult to lead a normal life. A woman may have to care for her other children, in some cases with the help of the father but not always. If she has to attend antenatal clinics she may need to take the other children with her. At every level, women often have to manage all the different needs of those around them, enduring high stress whilst taking little care of their own selves and needs.
Many women are faced with the devastating threat of deportation, some may try to stay “illegally” in precarious positions of social exclusion, others by creating a baby or possibly marrying into insecure/ untrustworthy partnerships.
On this day we hope to remind ourselves, and many others who live in difficult situations, that to remain humiliated and in isolation is intolerable. We wish to expose the vulnerabilities, contradictions and unacceptable conditions that refugee women are subject to. In the struggle for mutual protection, collective and self-empowerment, knowledge, security and support are crucial.
We women want to state that we are present in the lagers creating networks, building bridges between refugees, self-organized groups and organizations. We will continue to document and inform people and we call for support to build vigilance on violence and abuse against women.
Lets build strong solidarity !
WOMEN UNITE !
We, the women from the international Women space in the occupied Refugee school, therefore demand:
Freedom of choice of residence !
Freedom of movement !
Right for apartments, for all those living in lagers !
Abolish Residenzpflicht !
Right to work and proper medical care !
Access to education !
Reunite Vivianne and her 10 year old daughter!
DEMONSTRATION at the Swiss Embassy – Otto-von-Bismarck-Allee 4A –
Click on the link below for Vivianne’s article:
European elections 2014:
the IWS and VVN-BdA e.V. call for networking
Dear groups, initiatives and individuals,
From 22 to 25 of May of 2014, the next European elections are being be held. Already far in advance, racist, nationalist, openfascist mobilize and focus on these elections. They agitate and incite against people because of their presumed origin, religion, lifestyle and social status. Among them are people with a presumed migration background, Muslims, fugitives, etc. The current crisis provides the appropriate framework to play off people against each other and to break down solidarity. On the occasion of the growing shift to the right, the increasingly perceived racism and increased social exclusion and poverty, we find that action must be taken. Additionally, the suspension of the five percent threshold, presumably also of the three percent threshold, suggests that a right-wing, racist group will make it to the European Parliament. That continuied normalization of these political parties in the political system and in society must be resisted. Therefore, we invite you to a networking meeting to discuss together with you on strategies, concepts and activities and possible consequences, structures and alliances. This invitation does not mean to be a complete analysis of social conditions and developments.
Sunday, the 27th of October, at 13h30, at the room next door to Cafe Kotti.
Against fascism, racism, nationalism and social exclusion – for a Europe without frontiers! No Border – No Nation!
Come numerously and brings ideas!
Training of the group on support to women who went through sexual violence. Through various exercises, the member of LARA presented us the challenges of women who work in this context.
Mon. 29.07.2013 – Press conference “Fight racism, fight sexism !”
As you all know, we are a refugee movement, and because refugees are not welcome in Germany, we have been under constant pressure for as long as we have occupied Oranienplatz and the school in order to make our demands visible.
We repeat here our main demands: Freedom of movement to all, abolish Residenzpflicht, close all lagers and stop deportation!
Although we have clear demands, we are here today to speak about sex, rape and crime associated to the black people. Because black is the colour of crime.
Schwarzegeld, Schwarzarbeit, Schwarzfahren , Schwarzkopf and so on and so forth.
We are taking this opportunity to say that we condemn all kinds of violence against women in the strongest sense of the word. That we refuse to be attacked in our dignity as humans in order to satisfy an stereotype connected to the black people and the foreigners in general. A racist stereotype that insists on denying our dignity as human beings and connect us simplistically to criminal activities.
The women space was created last December in the occupied school to empower us refugee women. It is a space where we exchange experiences and ideas, where we organise workshops, learn the german language, support all women in need, not only refugee women. And all that we do in an environment that is supposedly full of crimes.
How could that be? How would we be working there for almost 7 months if it was a place full of crime and criminals?We repeat: we condemn any violence against women! We are fighting racism and sexism and we are doing it together with our fellow refugees friends living in Oranienplatz and in the school.
Sexism and racism are everywhere in the world and we have to fight it. Our movement is aware of it and stands in solidarity with all women who experience sexism and sexual violence.
Our movement is ahead of the usual lousy treatment of sexism because we are building up structures to support those affected.
We are not here to defend any criminals!
We are here to fight the criminal system !
Mon. 22.07.2013, 2pm – Conversation with Margrit Schiller ; a women, an activist in exile
Conversation with Margrit Schiller (our german teacher), author of “Es war ein harter Kampf um meine Erinnerung” . She presented her book and shared her experience of being an activist in the RAF, a political prisoner in Germany and an exiled women in south america (Cuba and Uruguay).
Where : At the Women space, Refugee School (Ohlauerstr. 12) 2nd floor.
What for : To share experience and thoughts with a historical leftist activist who also went through political asylum.
sat. 08.06.2013, 1pm – Workshop : Women’s rights in asylum procedure : Attorney Berenice Böhlo is our guest
Women’s rights in the asylum procedure, deportation, Duldung…What are our rights as women, as asylum seekers ?A lawyer will answer our questions and we will collect together the problems, difficulties and discriminations against women in their procedures, also to prepare for the women part of the Refugee’s International tribunal in June.
Where : At the Women space, Refugee School (Ohlauerstr. 12) 2nd floor.
What for : Preparation of a leaflet about general and specific women rights to be handed out in Lagers
SOLIPARTY ! Come all on sat. 08.06 in XB Liebig, 9pm to dance and eat with us !
Entrance : donation. There will be home made african food (vegan), cocktails, music and women activist from all Berlin and Brandenburg !
When : Saturday 8th of June, from 9pm
Where : XB Liebig, Liebigstr. 34, U Bahn Frankfurter Tor,
Download and spread our flyer :
13.06-16.06.2013 – Refugee women DEMO and tent in the International Tribunal against German Federal Republic
We will take part to the Tribunal under the banner of the Karawan Flüchtlingsfrauen Bewegung, together with the women of the Hamburg Flüchtlingsfrauen Konferenz (see bellow).
Women’s Demo : meeting point 8:30am at Hermannplatz direction Mariannenplatz.
Sat. 11.05.2013 – 12 pm @ Workshop : Internet in the space, how to manage our mail list and web-page.
Where : In the office room of the space (Refugee’s school, Ohlauerstr. 12, 10999) 2nd floor, women wing.
Sat. 15.05.2013 – Vokü and presentation of our work in the Bauwagen Schwarzer Kanal
Where : Schwarzer Kanal, Kiefholzstr. 74, 12435 Berlin. S Bahn Treptower Park. When : 7 pm.
25.05.2013 – DEMO : Fight racism now ! Join our block !
Meeting point : 6pm at Spreewaldplatz, Kreuzberg 36 (U1 Görlitzer Park)
19.04. – 21.04.2013 Hamburg : Refugee Women Conference
Our group report will be soon available on this page.
„Flüchtlingsfrauen sagen: Es reicht!
von der Flüchtlingsfrauenkonferenz zum Tribunal in Berlin“
Liebe Freundinnen und Schwestern,
vom 19. bis zum 21. April 2013 hat die Flüchtlingsfrauenkonferenz in Hamburg stattgefunden. Es haben über 130 Flüchtlingsfrauen aus Afghanistan, Ägypten, Algerien, Äthiopien, Brasilien, Deutschland, Elfenbeinküste, Frankreich, Gambia, Guinea, Indien, Iran, Kamerun, Kenia, Kongo, Kosovo, Kurdistan, Mali, Mazedonien, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakis-tan, Russland, Serbien, Sudan, Syrien, Togo, Türkei und Uganda teilgenommen. Nach einer kraftvollen Vorstellungsrunde am Samstag, bei der jede Frau neben ihrem Namen ihr Herkunftsland und ihre Stadt in Deutschland benannten und mit einer Fahne auf einer Weltkarte und einer Deutschlandkarte markierten, gab es verschiedene Impulsreferate von Migrantinnen und Flüchtlingsfrauen zu den Themen: „Warum dieseFlüchtlingsfrauenkonferenz zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt?“, „Was sind Fluchtgründe von Frauen“ und einer sehr persönlichen Geschichte einer jungen Frau aus Dagestan, die ihren Kampf um Aufenthalt und selbständiges Leben hier in Deutschland schilderte.
Im Anschluss daran ergriffen mehrere Flüchtlingsfrauen das Mikrophon und erzählten ihre Geschichte, ihre Fluchtgründe sowie die Zustände in ihren Heimatländern und in den Lagern und Heimen in Deutschland. Sie benannten die Trennung von ihrer Familie innerhalb Deutschlands, die menschenunwürdigen Unterbringungen in Heimen, Lagern und Dörfern, die mangelnde Versorgung mit Deutschkursen, das Fehlen der Arbeitserlaubnis, die Residenzpflicht sowie den täglichen Kampf, mit wenig Geld bzw. mit Gutscheinen ein Leben bestreiten zu müssen. Hinzu kommen der alltägliche Rassismus und die (sexuelle) Gewalt. Frauenspezifische Fluchtgründe wie die Genitalverstümmelung, (sexuelle) Gewalt in den Herkunftsländern sowie politische Aktivität und drohende Gefängnisstrafen waren Gegenstand der Redebeiträge. Eine von Abschiebung bedrohte Freundin erfuhr starke Solidarität und hat durch die Flüchtlingsfrauenkonferenz wieder Kraft gefunden, ihren persönlichen Kampf für ein Recht auf Asyl aufzunehmen.
Am Sonntag wurde eine Grußbotschaft von Olesia Lahmar Cherif, die akut von Abschiebung bedroht ist und sich aufgrund dieses Drucks in einer schlechten psychischen Verfassung befindet, vorgelesen. Hieraus entstand die gemeinsam verabschiedete Position der Konferenz, eine Solidaritätserklärung im Namen derFlüchtlingsfrauenkonferenz zu schreiben.
Die Teilnehmerinnen der Konferenz haben beschlossen, unter dem Namen „KARAWANE Flüchtlingsfrauenbewegung“ den gemeinsamen Kampf fortzusetzen. Es wurde eine Koordinierungsgruppe gebildet, die sich regelmäßig trifft und die von der Konferenz beschlossene Flüchtlingsfrauenkonferenz 2014 vorbereitet.
Mit den Ergebnissen der Konferenz gehen alle Frauen zurück in ihre Städte und werden dort berichten. Zum Tribunal in Berlin vom 13. – 16.06.2013 wird es eine Erklärung sowie Anklagen von den Frauen geben.
The CARAVAN Refugee Women Movement
1. Mai 2013
Kontakt: refugeewomanconference ät thecaravan.info
Deutsch: Frauenflüchtlingskonferenz – Aufruf
Englisch: Refugee Women Conference – call
Farsi: کنفرانس زنان پناهنده ـ فراخوان
Türkisch: Mülteci kadınların toplantısı
Spanisch: Conferencia de mujeres refugiadas
Französisch: La conférence des femmes réfugiées
Russisch: Конференция женщин – беженцев
Arabisch: مؤتمر اللاجئات
Übersetzungen in weiteren Sprachen folgen.
08.03.2013 – International Women’s Day DEMO
Demonstration in Potsdam “No lager for women!”
workshop “sexism, racism, refugee women”
when : Saturday 16.02.2013 3 – 6 pm / 15 – 18 h.
where: camp Oranienplatz – circus tent