As of February 8th, refugees living in tents in the Torbalı and Bayındır districts of İzmir are being evacuated in accordance with district governorate decisions through the intervention of its gendarmerie State paramilitary force. The tent areas are being removed. Thousands of refugees, who left their countries because of the civil war in Syria, have been struggling to survive as seasonal agricultural workers and living in the tent camps, constructed through their own efforts, in rural areas of İzmir.
Since Wednesday, many tent areas have been removed by gendarmerie without reason. Some tent areas were given until Monday to evacuate. Refugees whose assigned residence city is not İzmir have been expelled and people are being told they are expected to rent homes. However, for the majority of the refugees who work for very low wages it is not possible to earn enough money to move into a house.
In return for originally directing people to the tent areas and finding people jobs, “dayıbaşı” (the bosses of the areas) deduct money from refugees’ wages, pay irregularly or do not pay people at all. Since the agricultural workers need to live close to their working areas and don’t know the local language [Turkish], they are forced to accept the dayıbaşı system. Thus, being evacuated from their tents means taking away their means to an income.
What this means is that refugees who already left everything they had in Syria will, for a long time, now be unable to earn an income — demand for seasonal workers decreases in winter. They have survived through the cold weather thanks to tents, food, firing, diapers and hygiene products provided by a limited number of volunteers and CSO’s. The tent areas, which lack toilets, showers, clean water and have been covered in mud from rainfall, are being ignored by the authorities.
These conditions affect children the most. Children are exposed to illnesses and developmental disabilities as a result of poor nutrition and health conditions. Hospitals deny treatment to refugees without documents. Even the death of baby Noaf, of pneumonia, after being refused hospital treatment did not impact government policy; which makes it particularly hard for refugees to get registered. And there are lots of children suffering from pneumonia in the camps. The threat of forced displacement by the gendarmerie further deepens the trauma of children, initially caused by the civil war and subsequent poor living conditions.
Last May, before the harvest, these tent areas providing a living space for nearly 2,000 people were removed by the district governorate. It is thought-provoking that the same action is now being taken just before seed-time, when the demand for seasonal workers increases. All this despite three years of speculation that the district governorate and municipality had plans to move people from the tent areas to one central place; to improve the living conditions of agricultural worker refugees.
On 5th February 2017, most of the adults among the 711 refugees residing in a state-run Camp in the former Athens National Airport (Camp Elliniko II), in the majority coming from Afghanistan, started a hunger strike to protest against their degrading living conditions demanding for their transfer to homes, papers and freedom of movement for all. As reported by one of the refugees, it is very likely that residents of the two other camps in Elliniko (the nearby Olympic baseball and a hockey stadiums) might join in the protest tomorrow.
Among the 1,600 refugees living in the three camps of Elliniko there are some who are there already since one year. Elliniko Camp was opened already back in autoumn 2015, in a period where thousands were arriving to Greece and many stayed homeless in the parks and squares of Athens.
Planned as a temporary solution to ‘clear’ the capitals’ streets from the many homeless and repeatedly announced to be closed as belonging to one of the most infamous camps in Greece, it still stayed open until today, but always portrayed as ‘provisory’ under the UNHCR-category ‘informal site’.
Refugees used to live in the former airport throughout 2016 for months suffering under overcrowdedness, filthy insufficient toilettes and showers, inadequate food and without any information or legal aid. While the population has been reduced visible, the camp still is inadequate to host refugees and living conditions remain poor. Many highly vulnerable people still stay there. There are elderly, pregnant women, single mothers, people with mental health problems, people with chronic and
heavy diseases etc. In the meantime, many refugees are living there since one year.
Amongst others, refugees who started the protest complained about the quality of the food, lack of basic needs as for example milk and diapers for babies and toddlers, no hot water, no laundry, lack of translators for sick persons who have to go to hospital and no coverage of their transportation there. It is matter of survival, they state. They do not care about having more clothes or more food. But: food which doesnt’ make sick. Enough food, in order not to be hungry. Heating in order not to freeze.
“There are only a hand full of persons among us who speak English
and who can translate. They have to accompany anyone who gets sick to
the hospital, as the authorities and NGOs do not provide us with
translators for these purposes nor are there translators found in the
hospitals. We don’t even get the transportation costs re-funded for the
public transport used while accompanying some sick person. Some of us
got fined more than 30 times already for using the public transportation
without tickets. We will have severe problems in our asylum procedure,
to get an ID and passport, if recognized, if we have open fines to pay.
And they will increase successively if unpaid.”
Refugees living in Elliniko are suffering also mentally from the living conditions in the camp and their insecure situation in Greece and Europe.
“There are often fights. No one feels safe. People are in a
miserable state. they don’t know what to do. Many fear to stay forever
in Greece, where even Greek people cannot survive. There are no jobs,
there is no future. We fear European policies, which aim to increase
deportations of Afghans. Some of us have their relatives back in
Afghanistan. They cannot sleep at night, because they left them back in
conflict. There are people staying here who drink and fight. There is no
safety in the camp. There is no survival in Greece and there is no
safety in Afghanistan.”
More than 60% of the refugees in all three Elliniko Sites are women and
Amongst the refugee population in the camp are women with their kids awaiting their transfer to another European state where their husbands are. There are small kids with Asthma, like this 4-year-old girl who has to go to hospital almost every single night. People lock the doors to protect the salon from the cold, so no fresh air can enter. Many people smoke inside, others cook. The sewage water from the toilettes smells. So many get problems to breath. There is also a young man who had so
severe psychological problems, that he had to be transferred into the psychiatric clinic for a month. He was paranoid, thinking at any point someone wanted to kill him. He is taking medicaments now, but he is back in the camp, staying among 700 persons with his family. There is this pregnant lady in her 6th month, who often gets pains and has to visit the hospital again and again. She still lives there. Another woman just gave birth in there one month before. She is also still there.
Now, the refugees are trying to rase their voices to the world. They are already self-organised, having elected five representatives and holding plenaries since months. Now they want to provoke change, as they cannot suffer any longer.
“I am in danger in Afghanistan. I am even in danger in Greece. I was
told to get myself an appointment at the Asylum Service via Skpye, but
Skype isn’t responding.”
A woman holding a speech on the protest today said:
“We left Afghanistan because of the life-threatening situation and
for a future for our children. You closed the borders in front of us.
You locked us up in Greece. Now you are responsible to provide us with
what is needed to survive at least. Our children get sick here, and the
one doctor we have here for a few hours a day doesn’t give them medicine
but tell them to go an drink some water or some juice. We have the right
to have a good doctor, to have medicine. Even a pregnant woman gave
birth here, because the ambulance came so late.”
“There are mice in here. There is so much garbage outside. People
get sick from being here.”
Most adult refugees living in the camp attended the hunger strike today and plan to continue until the authorities, UNHCR and Danish Refugee Council (DRC) who are responsible in the camp listen and react to their demands:
– Open homes! Open the cities! Immediate evacuation of all into
dignified living conditions!
“We need to stay in the city and in our own rooms or flats. We don’t
want to be transferred to just another tent camp or prefab camp at the
margins of society! We want our children to go to school and we want to
go to work and earn our own living by ourselves in order to build up our
lives independently. We want to be free and participate in daily life as
all others do in this country.”
– Give papers and residence to stay to all refugees and allow anyone who
wants to move to another country to relocate legally and to join their
relatives! No discrimination of certain nationalities!
“The relocation program is discriminative. The right of free
movement should be given to all refugees. Many have their mothers,
fathers, brothers or sisters, their children or grandparents abroad.
Everybody has the right to be with his or her families. All people have
the right to live and work, somewhere, where it is possible to survive.
Even Greeks are searching for jobs outside of Greece. They are surviving
by returning to stay with their families. We have no one to help us
here, no one to open his or her house for us or to give us food. If
there is a chance to survive here, to find a job here, then we will
stay. As long as there isn’t, we should be allowed to move on legally.”
– Stop deportations to Turkey! Stop deportations to Greece! Stop
deportations to Afghanistan! Stop deportations to any unsafe countries!
The right to life for all!
“We fight for our rights. We fight for the rights of the others too.
The ones who are on the islands now, should be allowed to come to the
mainland, to seek asylum here, to stay here. Currently, people hardly
arrive to Greece anymore. The Turkish and the Greek Coast Guard,
together with the European Coast Guard fight refugees back on the sea
border. They stop them, from arriving to a place for asylum and
protection. The few who still come should be given a chance to stay.
Some of them who were allowed to move to the mainland arrive to Athens
without a place to stay. They are not permitted in the camps. Others
come to Athens without permit. They even have to return to the island.
We want freedom for all.”
“They want to start returning refugees who have been fingerprinted
here after March 15th of this year, back to Greece. No one can survive
here. We like to be in Greece. There are some nice people here, the
weather is good and the mentality of the Greeks is a little bit like our
own. But there are no jobs and there is no help for us. So how can we
find a home? How can we secure food for our kids? We also liked much
more to be in our homes in Afghanistan. But there is so safety but but
“Europe is talking about the deportation of Afghans. Some countries
started already to return our people back even though their lives are in
danger in Afghanistan. Our president has signed a deal with Europe to
get money in exchange for taking refugees back. But our own politicians
keep their families in Europe for their own safety. European governments
advice their own citizens not to visit our country for safety reasons.
If we go back, we will die. Everybodys’ lives matter!”
16.12.2016, 6pm at Werkstatt der Kulturen, seminar room 1, Wissmannstraße 32
In the summer and fall of 2015, the year that marked the beginning of what later became known as the “refugee crisis,” 1.1 million people arrived in Germany with the goal of seeking asylum. When taking a critical look at the way refugees are portrayed in media and public discourses in Germany, it is striking to note that the diversity – and the individuality – of these newly arrived persons is often reduced to certain stereotypes that go hand in hand with specific privileges and (moral) rights that are granted or denied them. Furthermore, women* are often absent in these images and discussions, and hence their specific experiences, realities, vulnerabilities and needs – not only during their flight but also after their arrival while living in refugee camps – often remain unaddressed.
This is all the more critical as according to the UNHCR, the percentage of refugee women* and children arriving in Greece and seeking asylum in the European Union increased from an estimated 27% in June 2015 to 55% in January 2016. This book provides insights into the various ways in which women* perceive of and experience their living conditions in five different asylum accommodation centers in Berlin. In particular, it explores how women* – who have fled from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Albania, and who have diverse socio-economic, linguistic and educational backgrounds – describe their lives in the camps with regard to health and care, administration and registration, social interactions and support, and safety and privacy.
The ethnographic research on which this book is based resulted from a collaboration between students and lecturers of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin and the Berlin-based group International Women’s Space. In this regard, the book aims to contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of refugee women* in Berlin and simultaneously hopes to provide a model for anthropological engagement in the face of increasingly complex socio-political challenges.
December 16 on Friday, between 11 a.m. – 12 a.m. we will be live on air in F Radio on 88,4 Mhz in Berlin + 90,7 Mhz in Potsdam and on www.piradio.de to talk about the book just before the book launch.
Currently, many people come to Germany. We claim to welcome all of them as symbolized by the prevalent “Refugees Welcome”. According to German law, however, not all of those who flee their countries because of persecution, war, destruction or escaping disaster, for better living and for freedom of movement or other reasons are allowed to stay. They are being subjected to deportation intimidation, mental and psychological torture and racial discrimination. The reasons for their flight are not acknowledged and they are criminalized. In recent months, their legal situation has even worsened as a result of the tightened and toughened asylum laws that has rendered international protection in Germany meaningless. The list of the ever expanding so-called ‘safe countries’ of origin has been extended with the result that more groups of asylum seekers are threatened with deportations. Currently, these deportations are being carried out without warning, in the most inhumane way imaginable.
We are political activists who refuse to accept this inhuman practice of the German state. Our network is called ‘Break Deportation’. We demand the right to stay for all and the immediate stop to all deportations. In order to achieve that, refugees must organize themselves in communities with other refugee groups like The VOICE Refugee Forum Jena and Roma Community Thueringen to inspire a broader community of refugees and strengthen the struggles, to empower and resist together with supporters as we unite against the Deportation System in Germany and Europe.
That’s why we want to get to know you! We plan to visit you during the coming months on a regular basis in your detention centres or prisons. We want to have an exchange with you on the current developments and to keep each other up to date. How is the situation in the detention centres, in the refugee camps and your homes? Have you heard of deportations or are you yourselves threatened with deportation? How can we together achieve that everyone will stay where they want? Get together, exchange views both among yourselves and with us!
Let us break the isolation and stop deportations together – Touch One Touch All!
Campaign for Political Self-Organisation of Refugees in Thueringen – Refugees in Germany are invited to join this Facebook group: Refugee-Migrants Political Community
Let us break the isolation and stop deportations together – Touch One Touch All!
Roma Thueringen, Gotthardtstraße 21, 4. Floor, 99084 Erfurt (Meetings on every Saturday at 7pm)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: Roma Thueringen
The VOICE Refugee Forum, Schillergaesschen 5, 07745 Jena (Meetings on every Thursday at 6pm),
Phone: 017624568988, Email.: email@example.com, http://thevoiceforum.org
Refugees in Germany are invited to join this Facebook group: Refugee-Migrants Political Community
Syrian woman expelled from Berlin refugee camp for defending human rights
Mujer siria expulsada de un campamento para refugiados en Berlín por exigir derechos
Syrische Frau wurde aus Notunterkunft in Berlin hinausgeworfen, weil sie ihre Menschrechte einforderte
Vivian ist eine junge Frau aus Syrien. Sie ist vor dem Bürgerkrieg, der in ihrem Land tobt, und vor den Folgen, wie Arbeitslosigkeit, Hunger und sozialem Chaos geflohen. Alleine ist sie die Route aus dem Mittleren Osten nach Deutschland angetreten. Jedoch ist ihre Geschichte in Deutschland nicht von Zuflucht sondern (symbolischer) Gewalt, Erniedrigung, Frauenfeindlichkeit und Missbrauch geprägt. Die folgenden Ereignisse sind ihre Beschreibungen.
+ Camp urgently threatened by eviction + District mayor Monika Herman/Greens bears responsibility + Press conference on 25.11., 2 p.m. / Oranienplatz + Support needed! +
Yesterday in the early evening the refugee camp was almost evicted by the police. The district mayor – Monika Herman/Greens – has ended the official tolerance of the protest camp and has asked the police for help with the eviction. Through a massive mobilization and a solidary crowd on the square, an eviction could be prevented for the moment. The district and the police say that the eviction will take place neither this night nor tomorrow early morning. But we cannot rely on that! It is clear that the camp is not protected anymore by the district and that the mayor is ready to destroy it. For questions and protest you can reach her directly: 0176/32376947. It is also clear that the camp is a disturbance to the government of Berlin. Even if the district will not proceed to evict it, the mayor of Berlin could do it instead.
+++ Usman Manir aus Abschiebehaft entlassen! +++ heutiges Refugee-Camp Anmeldung durch Polizei untersagt +++ Anmeldung ab Morgen mittag bis Samstag Abend +++
Wir sind erfreut über die Entlassung von Usman Manir aus der Abschiebehaft in Eisenhüttenstadt und werten dies als Erfolg unserer kontinuierlichen Arbeit! Wir werden jedoch weiter gegen die Zustände und Verantwortlichen der Eisenhüttenstädter Abschiebemaschinerie vorgehen.