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Press release of the Refugees in Hungerstrike in front of the UNHCR office in Tunis

[francais au dessous]

Forty-one sub-Saharan refugees from the Shousha camp knocked on the doors of the influential World Social Forum demanding human dignity. The lack of recognition and concrete solutions encouraged them to collectively start a hunger strike  in front of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offices in Tunis on March 29th 2013, putting their health – already very fragile – in grave danger.

The twelfth World Social Forum has just ended its Tunisian edition which was held from March 26th to March 30th 2013 with the blessing of the Tunisian authorities and numerous international NGOs. “Dignity” was the slogan of this gathering of NGOs, trade unions, along with Tunisian and international civil society. I would now like to draw your attention to the following urgent situation.

Dignity is also the claim of forty-one sub-Saharan refugees from the Shousha camp. Despite the great risk of being arrested and assaulted by the National Guard, which unfortunately has already occured on  March 3rd 2013 at Aram near Gabés, this large refugee camp remains located in Southern Tunisia, just 9 kilometers away from the Libyan border.

The courageous act to collectively go on a hunger strike in front of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Tunis was put forward on March 29th 2013. While the closing of this provisional Shousha camp is scheduled for June 2013, this group of refugees assert their human dignity and therefore refuse the unjust integration program that Tunisia has imposed on them. Unfortunately It does not take into account the significant exposure to discrimination and racist violence which remains to be a constant reality in the Shousha camp. These discriminations also  extend past the camps borders and into the public spaces; we find these violations present in hospitals, markets and within the public transport system. Following these countless human rights injustices two refugees were subsequently killed and seven others were injured in May 2011.

“I would rather die now than live without dignity,” wrote the group in a public statement. After living in situations of extreme violence, submission and instability on Tunisian soil following their hasty evacuation from Libya, these men, women and children called out  to Humanitarian organizations to defend their human rights and dignity so as  to  not become a “second-class human” consequently left behind waiting for a possible future law on refugees in Tunisia.

“Two years of suffering” in conditions of misery and torment in extreme weather conditions and they have just a single demand: that of seeing their files sent to resettlement countries and benefiting from an effective protection system – similar to other refugees in order to finally be treated “as human beings.”

We would be grateful to see this information in your columns, we remain at your disposal for any further information,

Latest News:

Three refugees were taken to the hospital on Wednesday April 3rd, 2013. They are now added to one other person already hospitalized since Sunday March 31st 2013. Tunisian Civil Protection refused to come and rescue these three individuals who finally had to be brought to the hospital by means of a taxi.

Refugees in Choucha Hunger Strike: 00216 27 41 558 ,  choucha[at]riseup.net

https://www.facebook.com/refugees.shousha?fref=ts

http://chouchaprotest.noblogs.org

Quarante-et-un réfugiés subsahariens du camp de Choucha frappent aux portes du très influent Forum Social Mondial pour réclamer la dignité humaine. L’absence de reconnaissance et de solutions concrètes à Tunis les incite à entamer collectivement une grève de la faim   le 29 mars 2013 devant le Haut commissariat aux réfugiés (HCR) de Tunis, mettant leur santé – déjà précaire – en danger. 

Le douzième et imposant Forum social mondial vient de refermer les portes du campus Al Manar (Tunis) où il s’est tenu du 26 au 30 mars 2013 sous la bénédiction des autorités tunisiennes et des ONG internationales. “Dignité” a été le mot d’ordre de ce rendez-vous des ONG, syndicats, accompagnées de la société civile tunisienne et internationale. Je souhaiterais attirer votre attention sur la suite.

Dignité, c’était aussi la revendication de quarante-et-un réfugiés subsahariens issus du camp de Choucha, vaste poche de rétention, située en Tunisie, à 9 kilomètres de la frontière libyenne. Et ce, malgré le risque réel – vécu  le 3 mars 2013 à Aram près de Gabés – de se faire arrêter et violenter par la garde nationale, .

Un acte courageux mais sans conséquences qui les pousse depuis le 29 mars 2013 à observer collectivement une grève de la faim, face à un lieu symbolique, le Haut commissariat aux réfugiés (HCR) de Tunis. Alors que la fermeture du camp provisoire de Choucha est prévue pour Juin 2013, ce collectif de réfugiés revendiquent leur dignité humaine et refusent, en conséquence, l’injuste programme d’intégration que leur imposera automatiquement la Tunisie. Celui-ci ne prend pas en compte l’exposition importante à la discrimination et aux violences racistes continuelles dans le camp de Choucha comme lorsque deux réfugiés ont été assassiné et plus de 7 autres blessés au mois de mai 2011, voire à l’extérieur du camp dans les espaces publiques comme dans les marchés, les transports publiques et les hôpitaux.

“Plutôt mourir maintenant plutôt que de vivre sans dignité”, écrit le collectif dans une déclaration publique. Après avoir vécu des situations d’extrême violence, de soumission ou d’instabilité sur le sol tunisien suite à leur évacuation précipitée de Libye, ces hommes, femmes et enfants en appellent aux organisations humanitaires et de défense des droits de l’Homme ainsi qu’à la société civile pour ne pas devenir des “humains de seconde classe” en attendant éventuellement une future loi sur les réfugiés en Tunisie.

“Deux années de souffrances” dans des conditions de misère et de souffrance dans des conditions climatiques extrêmes et une seule revendication : celle de voir leurs dossiers envoyés à des pays de réinstallation et de bénéficier d’un système de protection effectif – identique aux autres réfugiés, pour être enfin traité “comme des êtres humains”.

Nous vous serions gré de bien vouloir relayer cette information dans vos colonnes, nous restons à votre disposition pour toute information complémentaire.

Dernières nouvelles:

Trois réfugiés ont été hospitalisés le 03 Avril 2013, ils s’ajoutent à la première personne prise en charge dimanche dernier. La protection civile tunisienne a refusé de venir porter secours à ces trois personnes qui se sont finalement rendues en taxi à l’hôpital.

Refugiés de Choucha en Grève de la faim: contact :00216 27 41 558 , choucha[at]riseup.net


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