March for freedom to Brussels

(   call out  )

Let‘s march for our freedom!
May & June 2014 we come from everywhere
to march from Strasbourg to Brussels

WE HAVE A DREAM                                                                                                                                 

We are asylum seekers, refugees, undocumented migrants, migrants from many European countries, we are Europeans with a “migration background”, we are all those who have no full priviledge of citizenship, but also citizens who share a common anger against the racist EU migration policy. We decided to organize a European caravan which will go from the largest number of European countries towards Brussels (Belgium), where the European institutions are settled. Showing that we don’t respect the borders they impose us, holding us prisoners of the states borders and in the lagers, we will exercise our basic right of freedom of movement and address our demands directly where the decisions come from.

We have a dream :                                                                                                                        Freedom of movement and of residence for all asylum seekers,
Stop the Dublin trap and the obligatory residence in Lagers throughout Europe
Permanent documents without criteria (not depending on working contracts or individual state prosecution)
Stop the imprisonment and deportation of migrants Same working conditions for all
Same political, social and cultural rights for all: right to study and to work Stop the European imperialist policies: no more free trade treaties and NATO wars, Abolish Frontex, Eurosur and other anti-migration policies and measures

Join us ! Starting in may 2014 with the EU Parliament elections: The caravan/march will start as common transnational project at the end of May in Strassbourg, the march will last about 3-4 weeks from Strasbourg to Brussels.

Central action in Brussels to address the Summit: The transnational march will end in Brussels with massive protests at the EU-summit on migration policy, the 26th and 27th of June 2014. The arrival in Brussels will be one week before the summit, around the 21st and 22nd of June, we will have a week of actions in the city of Brussels to make them aware of our anger.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE !                                                                                                    Decentralised actions : refugees and migrants unite, wherever you are !       Local activities and decentralized actions already started on the 18th of december 2013, for the international day of migrants and refugees against racism : actions have been taken all over Europe in the same time and with the same demands (see our web blog: http://freedomnotfrontex.noblogs.org/) Also, decentralized actions and marches will start already in May in reference to the European parliament elections. All activities should come together in Strasbourg to start the common march (the exact date still has to be confirmed). Wherever you are, take action in solidarity with European refugees and migrants, feel free to initiate creative and local actions ! Join us anywhere you are !

Contact us : freedomnotfrontex@riseup.net
http://www.freedomnotfrontex.noblogs.org
http://www.refugeestrikeberlin.net

Posted in call out

Testimony: Imprisonment in Padinska Skela and deportation from Serbia

       Migrants can be detained in strict prisons and also there is deportation center, or Prihvatilište za Strance, in Padinska Skela in which migrants get detained while they are awaiting deportation, most migrants in Serbia are detained in strict prison, closest to where they were arrested. In Serbia, migrants can be taken to court, for illegal entry or stay on the territory. The article 84 of the Law on Foreigners specifies a fine between 10000 and 50000 dinars (100-500eur) for the illegal entry onto the territory and the article 85 specifies a fine between 6000 and 30000 dinars (60-300eur) for the illegal stay on the territory. In cases where the person cannot pay the fine, they are able for 3-30 days long prison sentence. When their prison sentence is over, what happens to the migrants is decided by the Ministry of Interior, and it is unclear on what basis the decision is made. There are three option.  The first  option  is  that  they  are  just  let  out,  with  a  piece  of  paper  testifying  they served their sentence. The other option is that the police takes them to Prihvatilište za strance in Padinska  skela,  where  they  spend  further  time  in  detention  and  from  where  they  are  mostly deported to Macedonia. And the third option is that they are deported straight to Macedonia. As Serbia has a readmission agreement with Macedonia, it can deport back all third country citizens who have entered Serbia illegally. And then, as Macedonia has a further readmission agreement with Greece, they can be deported back to Greece.

There is the testimony of S. who experience described detaining and deportation practice of Serbian authorities:

       It all started when I heard that in Serbia there is a Camp for refugees and asylum seekers; and they give ID cards. So I started my journey from Greece to Serbia, because life in Greece was getting difficult and dangerous.

I reached a Serbian city, 50km far from Belgrade. I took a taxi and went to Belgrade, where I started to ask people on the streets for the camp. At last, they directed me to a big police station, a rose colored building. I asked the policeman and he showed me the office, it was on the left. I entered inside and I found one lady and I told her where I am from and what I need, which was protection in an asylum center. She said nothing, just gave me a paper and she told me to write my name and my country, and all that information. 30 min after that, one man came and asked me to go with him to another office upstairs. On the 3rd floor this man looked me in a room. After that they took my finger prints, took a photo and then searched my body and my bag. They wrote down everything what I had.

After that the same man with two girls from that office they took me on a car. I was thinking that they’re taking me to an asylum center. But I found myself in big blocked building which was court. The judge was a women, she spoke nice English. She told me that I entered Serbia illegally so I must pay 90 euro and if I don’t have this amount I must go to jail for 9 or 10 days. She said after that, they will give me a paper with which I have a chance of three days to leave Serbia or to go to any asylum center. Well, I spent those 10 days in prison near the closed camp, Padinska Skela. And I found many people from Syria and Palestine who were there before me and then others came from Pakistan. Anyway my ten days finished, but they didn’t free me, they just transferred me to that closed camp -Padinska Skela. It was a place where they put people to fulfill the number that a police car can take – which is around 18 – and then deport them. In that place whatever you speak no one will hear you.  No way, deportation is the only law there…Even they will not let you sleep when you want, you have to make your bad, and sit when it s not time for sleeping. If you ask for a phone call, they won’t say no, but the phone box inside does not work.  Some people started to stop eating. It was Ramadan, they did not take any food. After a few days one of the police officers came and he asked what they want. They said they are asylum seekers and they have the right to be in asylum camp. He was laughing, he told there is no camp, and that they will be deported. After, how time was passing, and we were still imprisoned some of us for weeks, the people started to ask to deport them, just to leave that place and get free.

After staying there 6 days, they took ever evidence from us that we had been in Serbia, even our Serbian money. With that money they bought things for us, like water, coca, biscuits…We had to took off even the etiquettes from the bottles, because it was written in Serbian language. And…they took us back to Macedonia. It wasn’t easy. It was very difficult there, because the police of Macedonia is very brutal, they caught many of us and also take us back to Greece. Any way, it took from me another two months to come here again. But the second time I was lucky, so that I entered Bogovadja camp. I stayed almost 3 months there. Then problems started to rise up again. The manager kicked me out from the camp and the reason was cause as he said I stayed too long in the camp. I asked to transfer me to another camp, he said go alone, even he refused to give me my police paper. So I started to sleep in broken houses near the camp. And it was cold, so after sleeping like ten days outside, I felt if this situation continues like this I will die from the cold. So I went to one hotel. Because I didn’t have the police paper, I went again to that police station and brought new one. The next day the police came to the Hotel and took all of us to that closed camp, Padinska Skela. Me with my new, valid paper and another 17 people who had been in the same Hotel – all the Syrians with their police papers – the police deported us to Macedonia. It was winter and very cold weather.

 I can’t say I am strong and I didn’t lose hope so I came back again, but I can say the truth: I don’t have another place to go, so I am forced to come again. And i don’t know whether I will be deported for the third time or God will help me to settle in a good place, because I feel I will lose my mind.

Finaly S. had “luck” and after a while he left Serbia.

               This testimony clarifies the dysfunctionality of the serbian migration policy. There is no guaranteed  protection for migrants even with the valid “police paper” (valid just for 72 hours), they don’t have any chance to claim asylum inside prisons, they are not consider as asylum seekers once they are imprisoned, and they can be deported any time if they don’t get a chance to stay in asylum centers. From our perspective all deportations are irregular, but the ones described above are irregular even according to the deportation laws. First of all there are cases when asylum seekers properly sought asylum and got deported, another aspect is; if  a migrant was not arrested on the border (as it was the case of S. ), on which basis can she/he be deported back to Macedonia? One could enter Serbia  from  Montenegro or Bulgaria, Rumania etc.. The police  precisely clear away  all the proof of these deportations, so there is no evidence that the person had ever been in Serbia. It seems that  the police officers are also aware of the absurdity of the practice they do, which is the  consequence of the dysfunctional migration policy.

WE DEMAND :

STOP ALL DEPORTATIONS!!!                                                                                                          SHUT DOWN ALL DETENTIONS!                                                                                                   STOP THE CRIMINALIZATION OF MIGRANTS!

in serbian:

 Svedočenje: zatvaranje tražioca azila u Padinskoj Skeli i deportacije iz Srbije

U Padinskoj Skeli se nalazi „Prihvatilište za Strance” koje je u stvari zatvor gde se migranti drže pre nego što će biti deportovani. Migranti i tražioci azila mogu biti pritvoreni u okružnim zatvorima širom zemlje, najčešće u blizini mesta gde su uhapšeni. Privode se na sud zbog “ ilegalnog” ulaska ili boravka na teritoriji Srbije. Zakon o stranancima na osnovu prekršaja iz člana 84 – “ilegalni” ulazak u zemlju – izriče kaznu između 10.000 i 50.000 dinara (100 – 500 evra), a prema članu 85 zbog ilegalnog boravka, osoba se može kazniti novčanom kaznom od 6000-30.000 dinara ( 60 – 300 eur). U slučaju da osoba ne može platiti kaznu, osuđuje se na zatvorsku kaznu od 3-30dana. Nakon izvršenja zatvorske kazne ministarstvo unutrašnjih poslova odlučuje o tome šta će se dalje desiti sa migrantima. Na osnovu čega se donosi  ta odluka nije poznato. Prema poznatim slučajevima tri ishoda su moguća: prvi, omigrant/kinja će biti pušten/a sa otpusnim listićem, na kojem piše da je odslužio/la predviđenu kaznu.  Druga mogućnost je, da će ga/je policija odvesti u “Prihvatište za strance” u Padinsku Skelu, gde će provesti još neko vreme u pritvoru, a zatim se migranti odavde najčešće deportuju u Makedoniju. Treći mogući razvoj događaja je – da migrant/knju direktno deportuju u Makedoniju. Pošto između Srbije i Makedonije postoji ugovor o readmisiji svi građani treće zemlje koji su “ilegalno” ušli u zemlju mogu biti vraćeni u Makedoniju. Pošto je Makedonija isto potpisala ugovor o readmisiji sa Grčkom, postoji opasnost od lančane deportacije za Grčku ( uprkos tome da je u celoj Evropi zabranjeno vraćanje migranata u Grčku ).

S., tražilac azila u Srbiji  je iskusio opisana zatvaranja i deportacije od strane srpske vlasti.

Njegovo svedočenje:

Sve je počelo kada sam čuo da u Srbiji postoji centar za izbeglice (tražioce azila), i da se može dobiti lična karta tražioca azila. Krenuo sam na put iz Grčke za Srbiju, jer je u Grčkoj život postao teži i opasniji.                                                                                                   Stigao sam do jednog srpskog grada, udaljenog 50 km od Beograda. Zatim sam taxijem došao do Beograda. Pitao sam ljude na ulici gde se nalazi kamp za izbeglice. Konačno su me uputili u veliku policijsku stanicu roze boje. Policajac mi je pokazao kancelariju koja je bila sa leve strane. Ušao sam. Unutra je bila jedna gospođa, rekao sam joj odakle sam, i da mi je potrebna zaštita u centru za tražioce azila. Nije rekla ništa, samo mi je dala neki papir i rekla je da napišem svoje ime, državu i sve te informacije. 30 minuta kasnije, jedan čovek je došao i rekao da pođem s njim u drugu kancelario na spratu. Zatvorili su me u sobu na na trećem spratu. Posle su mi uzeli otiske prstiju, slikali su me, pretlesli i pregledali moju torbu. Zapisali su sve što sam imao sa sobom.                                                                      Posle toga, isti čovek  zajedno sa dve gospođe me je odvezao do kola. Mislio sam da će me odvesti u centar za tražioce azila, ali sam dospeo u veliku zatvorenu zgradu, bio je to sud. Sudija je bila žena, i  dobro je govorila engleski. Rekla mi je da sam ušao u Srbiju “ ilegalno” i zbog toga moram da platim kaznu od 90 eura. Ako nemam taj novac, moram ići u zatvor na 9 ili 10dana. Rekla je da ću posle odslužene kazne dobiti jedan papir sa kojim ću imati šanse da u roku od tri dana napustim Srbiju ili da odem u jedan od kampova.                                                                                                                                                   Tako sam proveo tih 10 dana u zatvoru u Padinskoj Skeli, veoma blizu  tzv. “zatvorenog kampa” (Prihvatilište za Strance/ Padinska Skela). Sreo sam puno ljudi iz Sirije i Palestine, koji su bili tu već pre mene, a posle je došlo još ljudi iz Pakistana. No, kako god bilo, mojih deset dana su isteklo, ali me nisu pustili na slobodu. Prebacili su me u zatvoreni kamp u Padinskoj Skeli. To je mesto gde zatvaraju ljude, dok se ne skupi toliko zatvorenika koliko može stati u kola marice – oko 18 – a zatim ih deportuju.                                                              Na tom mestu niko te neće slušati što god ima da kažeš. Nema zakona koji će te zaštititi, nema drugog izlaza, deportacija je neizbežna… Čak te neće ostaviti ni da spavaš kad želiš, krevet se mora uredno namestiti, moraš da sediš uspravno ako nije vreme za spavanje koji su oni odredili. Ako ih pitaš za telefonski poziv, neće reći da ne može, pokazaće ti  telefonsku govornicu koja ne radi. Neki ljudi su prestali da uzimaju hranu. Bio je Ramadan, nisu jeli ništa. Posle nekoliko dana jedan od policijskih službenika je došao i pitao je šta žele postići. Rekli su mu da nisu kriminalci, da su tražioci azila i da imaju pravo da budu u kampu za izbeglice a ne u zatvoru. On se smejao, rekao je da nema nikakvog kampa i da će svi biti deportovani. Kako je vreme prolazilo, a mi smo još uvek bili zatvoreni neki od nas već nedeljama, ljudi su počeli da traže da ih deportuju, samo da bi izašli odatle.                                                                                                                                               Posle 6 dana, uzeli su od nas sve što može da posluži kao dokaz da smo ikad bili u Srbiji. Čak i naše srpske novčanice. Od tog novca kupili su nam vodu, koka-kolu, neke kekse “za put”. Terali su nas da skidamo čak i nalepnice sa flaša, jer su bile na srpskom jeziku. I…vratili su nas nazad u Makedoniju. Nije bilo lako… Bilo je veoma teško, makedonska policija je brutalna, mnoge iz naše grupe su uhvatili i deportovali nazad u Grčku. Trebalo mi je 2 meseca da se ponovo vratim u Srbiju. Ovoga puta sam imao sreće, ušao sam u izbeglički kamp u Bogovađi. Ostao sam tamo skoro 3 meseca. Onda su ponovo krenuli problemi. Upravnik centra me je izbacio iz kampa, a razlog  je bio prema njegovim rečima da sam predugo ostao u kampu. Tražio sam od njega da me prebaci u drugi kamp, rekao je – idi sam- čak je odbio da mi vrati moj papir sa policije ( potvrda o izraženoj nameri za azil ). Spavao sam u šumi u nekim ruševinama blizu kampa. Bila je zima i veoma hladno. Posle deset noći provedenih napolju, osećao sam, ako se ovo i dalje nastavi ovako, umreću od hladnoće. Nisam mogao više da izdržim i otišao sam u jedan hotel u susednom gradu. Pošto nisam imao nikakve papire sa sobom, ponovo sam otišao u policijsku stanicu i uzeo novu potvrdu. Sledećeg dana bila je policijska kontrola u hotelu, sve su nas pokupili i odneli u “zatvoreni kamp”u  Padinskoj Skeli. Mene, sa svojom novom potvrdom od policije, i ostalih 17 ljudi koji su bili u istom hotelu – sve sirijce sa novim potvrdama – sve su nas deportovali ponovo nazad u Makedoniju. Bilo je mnogo hladno.                                                 Ne mogu reći da sam jaka osoba, da nisam gubio nadu i da sam se zato vratio. Mogu da kažem samo istinu: ja nemam drugo mesto kuda bih išao, prisiljen sam da se vratim. Ne znam da li će me deportovati i treći put ili će me Bog sačuvati i pomoći da se naselim na nekom bezbednom, dobrom mestu…Osećam da ću  izgubiti svoj razum…

S. je  posle kraćeg vremena nakon našeg sustreta napustio Srbiju.

Ovo svedočenje ukazuje na potpunu disfunkcionalnost srpske migraciona politike. Migranti nemaju zagarantovanu  zaštitu čak ni sa validnim potvrdama o izraženoj nameri za azil (te potvrde su inače validne samo 72 časa). Nakon pritvaranja više se ne prepoznaju kao  tražioci azila. U zatvorima nemaju nikakve šanse da zatraže azil. Pored toga, u svakom trenutku im preti opasnost od hapšenja i deportacije ako su van centra za tražioce azila.           Iz naše perspektive svaka deportacija neregularna i mstramo je zločinom. Međutim, gore opisane deportacije su  neregularne čak i prema zakonu. Osobe su po propisu zatražile azil i uprkos tome bile deportovane. Ako migrant nije uhvaćen u blizini granice ( kao što  je bio  slučaj S.-a, koji je zatražio azil u Beogradu ) -  na kojoj osnovi se migrant deportuje  nazad u Makedoniju? On/ona je mogao/la da uđe u Srbiju iz Crne Gore, Bugarske, Rumunije ili neke druge zemlje…Policija precizno uklanja sve dokaze ovakvih deportacija, tako da ne postoji ništa što bi ukazalo na to da je osoba  ikad boravila u Srbiji.

NAŠI ZAHTEVI:

ZAUSTAVLJANJE SVIH DEPORTACIJA!                                                                                     STOP PRITVORU I KRIMINALIZACIJI MIGRANATA !

bez granice, bez nacije,                                                                                                                           sloboda kretanja za sve!

Posted in testimonies

Solidarity action in front of the israeli embassy

Press release
(serbian below)

stop detentions!mala

Today, January 22nd, a spontaneous solidarity action took place in front of the Israeli embassy in Belgrade. The participants were protesting against the policies of the Israeli government towards refugees and expressed their solidarity and support with the refugee movement  in Israel.                                                                                       

22nd January was called out to be the worldwide day of solidarity dedicated to the recent refugee struggles in Israel. In many other cities such action took place ( Stockholm, Berlin, Paris, New York, Roma…).
Since December  11th, a new amendment allows a year in prison followed by indefinite detention without trial due to what Israel calls an “open structure” , which should be called a prison. According to this amendment loads of asylum seekers were arrested and imprisoned in the detention centers in the Negev desert. That’s why refugees, mostly from Africa, started a march for freedom followed by a three-day general strike.  The largest protests took place in Tel Aviv, when on January fifth 30 000 refugees went to the streets, demanding the fulfillment of their rights and their freedom.
The refugees demand Israel to stop its policies of imprisonment, to release all asylum seekers form prison, to recognize them as refugees and to respect their human rights. (see the letter below “To the People of Israel”)                                                                                

The solidarity action in front of the embassy in Belgrade was interrupted by first by the security service of the embassy and then ended by the police. The solidarity letter addressed to the government of Israel, in which the Serbian citizens ask upon Israel to fulfill the demands of the struggling refugees, was rejected. In the same letter they expressed their solidarity with the people of Palestine and called upon Israel to stop its violent politics and occupation.

These protests are important since racist policies and limitation of freedom of movement are not only in practice in Israel, but worldwide. Participant of the action, student from Belgrade states:
“Today we have gathered here to express our solidarity with the refugees in Israel, but it’s important to highlight that refugees are facing the same problems also in other countries. They are criminalized and detained in all countries of the European Union, also in the neighboring ones such as Hungary, Bulgaria and in Serbia.”

Links of other solidarity actions and news about the protests:
https://www.facebook.com/events/245791575598080/?ref=22
http://rt.com/news/israel-african-migrants-protest-203/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYBumMUrqtM

in serbian:

Danas,  22. januara,  oko podneva,  spontana akcija solidarnosti je održana i u Beogradu ispred izraelske ambasade. Građani su protestovali protiv politike izraelske vlade prema izbeglicama i izrazili svoju solidarnost i podršku pokretu izbeglica u Izraelu.              Povodom dana međunarodne solidarnosti sa pokretom izbeglica u Izraelu, širom sveta su se održale slične akcije  u različitim gradovima (Štokholm, Berlin, Pariz, New York, Rim). 

Zbog progona migranata u Izraelu, borba samo-oganizovanog  pokreta izbeglica je poslednjih meseci kulminirala u masovne proteste. Nova dopuna zakona (donešena 11. decembra prošle godine) dozvoljava zatvorski pritvor izbeglica na godinu dana, a pritvor može da bude produžen na neodređeno vreme, bez sudskog postupka. Izraelska vlada ove zatvore naziva objektima sa ” otvorenom strukturom”. Nakon hapšenja mnogih tražilaca azila I njihovog pritvora u zatvore pustinje Negev, izbeglice većinom iz Afrike, pokrenuli su marš za slobodu i održali su trodnevni generalni štrajk. Do sada najmasovniji protesti i manifestacije izbegličkog bunta  dogodile su se  5. januara u Tel Avivu, gradu u kojem se okupilo 30 000 izbeglica odlučno zahtevajući od vlasti  slobodu i pravdu.                         

Izbeglice zahtevaju da Izraelska vlada prekine njihovo zatvaranje, da oslobodi sve tražioce azila iz pritvora, da poštuje i postupa prema ljudskim pravima izbeglica. ( videti njihovo pismo “To the People of Israel” ispod teksta)

Spontana akcija solidarnosti ispred ambasade Izraela u Beogradu prekinuta je intervencijom obezbeđenja ambasade, a zatim i patrole žandarmerije. Pismo solidarnosti upućeno vladi Izraela u kojem su građani Srbije tražili  da izraelska vlada ispuni zahteve izbeglica koji već mesecima protestuju na ulicama,  odbijena je od strane ambasade.  U istom pismu građani su izrazili i svoju podršku palestinskom narodu i pozvali Izrael da prekine svoju nasilničku politiku i okupaciju.

Ovakvi protesti su bitni zbog rasističke politike i ograničavanja slobode kretanja  koji se ne vrše samo u Izraelu, već u celom svetu. Učesnica akcije, studentkinja iz Beograda  je naglasila: “Danas smo se okupili ovde, da bi izrazili solidarnost sa izbeglicama u Izraelu, ali je bitno istaknuti da se izbeglice suočavaju sa istim problemima i u drugim zemaljama.  Oni su kriminalizovani  i bivaju pritvarani u svim državama  EU kao i u susednim zemljama, npr. Mađarskoj, Bugarskoj, pa  i u Srbiji.“

Linkovi ostalih akcija solidarnosti i vesti o protestima:
https://www.facebook.com/events/245791575598080/?ref=22
http://rt.com/news/israel-african-migrants-protest-203/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYBumMUrqtM

——————————————————————————————
original letter:

To the People of Israel,

In the last few weeks, a range of unprecedented policy changes towards African asylum seekers and refugees have caused us to take drastic measures by striking from our work to display our discontent, frustration and fear.

About 50,000 African asylum seekers and refugees live in Israel. We have fled persecution, forced military conscription, dictatorship, civil wars and genocide. Instead of being treated as refugees by the government of Israel, we have been treated as criminals.

On December 11, 2013 the government of Israel passed a new amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration law, in response to the recent High Court of Justice (HCJ) decision that overturned previous amendments to the law. In its decision, the Court called the law “a grave and disproportionate abuse of the right to personal freedom” and against Israel’s basic laws.

The new amendments allow for one year of closed detention followed by indefinite detention without judicial review in what Israel calls an open facility and what should be called a prison, named Holot, in the Negev desert far from population centers. Individuals held in Holot are banned from working and are subjected to roll call three times each day, restricting travel outside of the immediate area. Holot is closed at night. The law gives the staff of the facility the ability to demand identification as well as to search, prevent entry, apprehend and remove individuals. If an individual breaches or is accused of intending to breach a condition of the ‘open’ facility, or is alleged to endanger the security of public peace, he can be transferred to a closed prison for 3-12 months.

Inspectors from the Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA) have begun to arrest and detain hundreds of asylum seekers in Tel Aviv. In the last week of December 2013, PIBA announced its plan to require thousands of asylum seekers and refugees to register at Holot within 30 days. Despite assurances given by the Ministry of Interior that families would not be separated, tens of men with wives and children have been summoned. Panic has spread among the asylum seekers community in Israel, as immigration authorities have increasingly limited the ability to renew visas, leaving people vulnerable to losing their jobs and being arrested.

In the past two weeks, thousands of African asylum seekers and refugees took to the street in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to march for freedom, to oppose arrests, imprisonment and the disregard for refugee rights. In another appeal to the Israeli government and the international community, we are organizing a three day strike from 5 to 7 January 2014 to demonstrate our fear of imprisonment and deportation and create a pressure that will cause the government to change their inhumane policies. Instead of detaining and deporting us, Israel should be respecting our basic human rights as refugees.

We ask the Government of Israel to:
1. Cancel the new amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration Law; stop all arrests; and release all asylum seekers and refugees from prisons.                                                                          2. Start respecting the rights of refugees, including social rights, health and welfare benefits.
3. Check individual asylum claims in a fair and transparent way.

We kindly ask you to support us in our struggle for refugee rights. Feel free to join us over the next few days, for more details check us out on facebook: _______________.

Thank you for your understanding.

Kind Regards,
African Asylum Seekers Community in Israel

Posted in articles

Replacement of warden in reception center of Obrenovac

This is what M*., migrant from the reception center of Obrenovac reported to us:

There are rumors going around about complain letter written from the migrants staying in reception center. Someone wrote about the wardens behavior, and discrimination that he showed towards the migrants. About non-justified kicking out of migrants from the reception center, and that  he accepts in only ‘white new comers’, telling how ‘blacks are problematic’…

This complains come out in public. M. told us that someone from UN was visiting the center and he thinks that they take complains in consideration which brings the wardens position in question.

The warden itself starts to make ‘campaign’ in order to collect positive comments about himself. Something like a petition, said M., to collect signatures of migrants inside of the camp not to replace him.

Today another person was replacing the warden. We don`t know it this will stay like this.

*Initials have been changed in order to preserve anonymity.

Posted in ZINE: Externalisation of EU migration politics

Transfer to Tutin

Yesterday early in the morning an unexpected transfer of migrants took place. Around 100 migants were transferred from the reception centers of Obrenovac and Bogovadja to the new opened reception center in Tutin.

In the last ten days in Bogovadja many migrants from the ‘jungle’ were let inside the reception center. Now most of these people had been transferred. Migrants form Bogovadja were assuming that this was decided just to ”collect” them on one place in order to transfer them easier.

In the reception center of Obrenovac the warden had stopped accepting new migrants inside. That’s why many migrants decided to hide inside the reception center. The migrants showed solidarity to each other and found places for the migrants who were staying outside. Many of them where also sleeping in the reception hall of Hotel Obrenovac. All of those people who were hiding and who were not on the official list for receiving food inside were transported.

The two Wardens from both reception centres and the police woke up the migrants around 5 o’clock in the morning and ordered them to go into buses which were waiting for them. No one did explain to them what was happening at all and where they were planing to take them. One of the migrant told us that they even didn’t let them take their bags with their belongings. Police was physically violent, by hitting them. J. told us that he was hit on his solder when the police forcing him to live the room. A pregnant and sick woman was threatened to be send to the Jungle if she hadn’t obey to go on the bus.

Now, the situation in Tutin is quiet ok. One of migrant who had been transferred there, told us that he was satisfied with the conditions in the new reception center, even though it is so isolated. After their arrival, he said , they couldn’t go outside of the facilities for few ours. Now the reception center is open from 7 o’clock in the morning till 21 o’clock in the evening. They were told that from the Monday on, it would be possible to get a permission to leave the the place for three days. Also, that police would come in order to take their finger prints to arrange for their asylum-ID-cards.

Further, he described a good welcoming atmosphere in Tutin from the local population. We have been told that locals are nicely greeting migrants on the street.

Posted in ZINE: Externalisation of EU migration politics

Testimony: Refugee riot in the closed detention camp Békéscsaba

 Most of the asylum seekers in Hungary are kept in closed camps, forced to wait in detention for the result of their asylum claim. There are also so called “open camps”, where asylum seekers are placed[1]. The decision on whether a refugee will be brought to an open or a closed camp, depends on her or his country of origin but also on the gender. Generalizing the cases of persons from same countries, refugees from states that have better chances to get asylum in Hungary (like Eritrea, Afghanistan and other countries) are ‘accommodated’ in open camps for asylum seekers, whereas others, whose asylum chances are considered to be bad due to their state of origin, are kept in detention for a uncertain period of time. The capacities of the immigration jails are: around 200 in Debrecen, around 200 in Békéscsaba, and around 130 people in Nyírbátor. This is a permanent violation of human rights by the Hungarian state and the European Union. After the detention of asylum seekers as general common standard in Hungary had been temporarily interrupted, it was re-established again in 2013. There are two ways how people usually get into a detention center in Hungary: On the one hand, there are people who were arrested in Hungary after crossing the border so that they are forced to apply for asylum in Hungary. On the other hand, there are those who were deported to Hungary from other EU-countries based on Dublin II-convention because they have finger prints in Hungary.

After a Hungerstrike of refugees of in October 2013 and a new wave of deportations the refugees started a riot inside the closed camp of Békéscsaba in November 2013, showing their frustration about being detained without reason, the inhuman conditions in the detention camp and the daily danger of sudden push back to Serbia. Their struggle for a freedom of movement, without being kept like prisoners, for the possibility to live without the threat to be deported from the EU, is a strong form of resistance of refugees against the european border system. M. is one of the 192 refugees who were there during the protest. A testimony…

Many times we made some small protests inside the camp in order to improve our conditions inside. For example we organized to reject food collectively.

It started all when they took us to the closed camp. After our asylum application we were brought there. In front of court they extend the cases for at least 2 months. Afterwards they keep us waiting. The closed camp is like a prison. In Békéscsaba there were about 200 people, distributed to 2 buildings. The conditions were quite bad. We couldn’t decide when to take food, or how much. It was also often bad food, or cold.

Then we heard that if one stays in the camp for 6 months they will deport us back [to outside of the EU/Serbia]. We didn’t know exactly what would happen after this 2 months that our case was extended. During this period I have seen that they deported people who have been there for 4 months (from Pakistan, Algeria, and other countries). They [the wardens, the police] would just come, without informing before and deporting them the same night or the early morning of the next day. The people were angry that they just deport us back. We came to seek for asylum and they would just push us back to Serbia. Some of the people who were deported didn’t even have a negative asylum decision.

We talked about it and what to do. When some refugees from Mali came new to the camp, they asked around what is going on. Why we are kept in detention: we are not criminals we are refugees. Then they started hungerstrike for freedom. It started the 10 of October 2013 and lasted for 8 days. On the 14 of October about 55 people from different countries joined the hungerstrike. The camp authorities came and said they should stop the hungerstrike immediately. The director promised that if they stop their hunger strike, he will accelerate their asylum procedure. But they didn’t trust these empty promises. After the 8th day of the hungerstrike- one on the guys fainted. He was brought to hospital. I also saw that there were people from the media, trying to get access to the camp for interviews.

After that they stopped the hungerstrike. 

Surprisingly after one week 7 of the 8 Malians, who had first started the hungerstrike, recived a negative asylum decision. To one of them they gave a positive answer. It was a direct reaction on their protest. If you get a negative decision in your asylum case you have 3 days time to make an appeal against that, in order to achieve that your case is checked by the court again. This means you have to wait one month more in the closed camp. But many of us don’t know that. Only one of the 7 made an appeal, the other 6 guys got deported to Serbia 4 days after. 

The situation now was the same as before. I only saw 2 people who had the possibilities to change from the prison camp to an open refugee-camp. In their case it was because of health problems. Girls are generally put to open camps. 

After about 2 weeks we organized a protest against our deportation and for freedom. It was after an incident, where they deported 3 Pakistanis that had been there 4 months.  The same happened to a group of Senegalese. It was without reason.  Some time after we heard that because of the cold in Serbia where they have no place to stay, one of them died. He froze to death, sleeping outside in the Serbian forests. Almost everyone participated in the protest. We stood outside in the yard, holding up signst were we wrote “no deport” and other slogans. It was a tense atmosphere, people were annoyed, standing up, protesting, shouting but everything stayed peaceful.  Our action was to invisible to the ‘o– it was directed to the authorities of the detention camp. The chiefs of the camp and the staff came and they told us they cannot do anything. They said, that they are like prison keepers. The order comes from Budapest and our protest wouldn’t change anything. Even they recommend us to cancel our asylum and leave Hungary. They told us our fingerprints would then only be registered in Hungary and we could claim asylum in another EU country. Even though we were peaceful many police came with dogs and stayed inside the camp until 3 am of the next day. I remember the police commissioner (head of police) of Békéscsaba city saying: if he would be in our position he would do the same.

We refused to give our names to the camp authorities and police, when they required a list of refugees who made the protest. The 8 hungerstrikers had done this before and we knew what had happened to them. During this protest there was no media present. But how could we address the public with our demands?

On the 11 of November, again 3 people got informed that they would be deported. I know it was a Monday. They reacted very angrily. The majority of refugees in Békéscsaba stood behind them. It was too much this time. Everything happened fastly. There was a meeting and after the lunch the riot started: things inside the prison were destroyed, glass broke, people were breaking the cameras and one of the buildings was set on fire. All the time everybody was saying ‘we need freedom’. I don’t know it exactly, I guess around 100 people from many different countries participated in the uprising. 2 people escaped at that time. 

All the staff from the camp, they ran away, even the security-guards. The reason why the asylum seekers did not run was that the detentions center authorities kept all our belongings and our money. Also the camp is far from the city. Some of us tried to break the gate to go out, so people outside could see them and hear their demands, simply make their feelings heard, but after one hour the police came. They kept people from going out. At first they evaquated the people that had not taken part in the riot. I saw many many police, completely armed, with dogs the entering, shouting that everybody should stop.

The same day the police transferred all of us to other closed camps all over Hungary, saying that the camp was not secure anymore. They didn’t allow some of us to pack their personal belongings. After one week we were were brought back to Békéscsaba. In the meantime one of the buildings had been renovated. When we came back the security-guards were behaving much stricter than before. The conditions had not changed, it had gotten worse.  Now they don’t tell people anymore in advance that they are facing deportation.  Before the riot, a person would be informed the same day about the upcoming forceful replacement, but now they just come, pick the asylum seekers up and deport them. 

For some time it seemed as if they would treat us better, maybe to prevent another protest of asylum seekers. The milk in the morning was now warm, and not anymore served cold. But still, the situation inside the detention is very bad. Even they forbid you to take another meal if you are still hungry.

 Everything happened without public attention. The riot and its revolutionary potential did’t leave the walls of the asylum-prison. The few reports focused on ‘the good work of the hungarian firefighters’, reproducing racist views on the migration issue and not contextualizing the refugee-riot as a as a collective and self-organized step to fight the border system. The border can be anywhere for illegalized people. It is a cruel system that divides people into those that have papers and those who have not, leaving the last group completely marginalized. But a dehumanisied society is a society that harms everyone. The fact that asylum seekeers that are kept in closed detention-centres needs more critical attention. To scandalize the bad conditions can’t be enough.

*M  decided to stay in the detention center, but he, like many other  refugees arriving in Hungary, didn’t get the chance to have a fair  asylum procedure. He was expulsed of the country by the Hungarian police  illegally, not having received the final negative asylum decision.

[1] the other two reception centres are in Debrecen and Bicske—so called non-secure facilities- where asylum seekers are able to freely leave these facilities during the day, for up to 24 hours.

 

 

Posted in ZINE: Externalisation of EU migration politics

Repressive behavior in the camp of Hotel Obrenovac

This night around two o`clock the warden Marko and the police officers were controlling the rooms of the camp. Those who were hiding themselves inside and those who helped them, were kicked out from the camp. Altogether around 15 people. They spent the night outside or in the bar of the Hotel Obrenovac which they needed to leave in the morning.

Yesterday a group of asylum seekers came back to the camp, they were told that they can`t get back their places.  They had a permission to stay outside the camp in the period of three days, and the permission had not been expired. It seems that the person who asks for a permission will be excluded from the camp permanently.

Another case when a person was kicked out from the camp was one of migrants who verbally insulted the Serbian state in the moment of anger. Someone from the camp reported to the warden what he had said, later on he was expelled.

Among the people who were sleeping outside last night, was a girl who lost her place in the camp. It happened because of the fight with another girl she was involved in.

Asylum seekers from the camp in Obrenovac are complaining about warden Marko`s psychical   instability and his consummation  of alcohol.

The threat from being expelled violates the solidarity and trust among the asylum seekers.

Posted in ZINE: Externalisation of EU migration politics