florian schneider on Mon, 24 Apr 2000 16:15:10 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

[Nettime-bold] Refugee congress in Jena

Refugee congress in Jena (Germany) started

Several hundred refugees from all over Germany
and many different european countries gathered
this weekend in Jena, to start a ten days 
congress under the slogan: "Unite against
deportations and social exclusion".

The programm of the congress from april 20th 
till may 1st can be found at:


The congress journal reports about the events,
main speeches and workgroups:



The caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants

  The `Caravan' movement started in 1998 just before the German 
elections. With the slogan `we have no vote but we have a voice'  we
travelled to 44 German cities in 35 days and enabled tens of  thousands
of refugees to express themselves politically. It laid the  basis for
refugees and migrants originating from Africa, Asia,  Middle East, South
America and German anti-racist groups to  come together in a principled
unity. It was not only the common  threat of deportation and commonly
felt racism that brought us  together. 

  The Caravan Hunger Strike in Köln with the slogan `we are here 
because you destroy our countries' expressed another important  aspect
of our politics. With this hunger-strike refugees from all  over the
world accused the representatives of the richest countries  in the world
who met in Germany during the European Union and  the G7 summits in
1999, that in order to maximise their profits  they are supporting
dictators and fascist regimes in the lands of  our origin thus laying
the basis for our suffering and our flight. 

  When we came forward to fight for our rights we faced extra 
repression. But in the past year and a half the Caravan movement  has
been successful in defending those who endangered  themselves by joining
the struggle. Further, the caravan  movement has started to operate
successfully as a network  connecting different cities and nationalities
together and laying the  initial foundation stones for a serious

  Yet the struggle is being continuously moved on to higher planes  by
the industrialised nations, with increasingly advanced  technology being
added to the arsenal of repression for the  exclusion and removal of
`foreign criminals'. While more and more  sophisticated propaganda is
mobilised to justify and cover up the  pillage of the countries of
origin and the brutal repression of any  resistance which permits them
to do so. 

  It is now time we feel for reflection as well of action. We must on 
the one hand consolidate and build on our achievements but also 
consider new strategies of survival and resistance. As the  Kafkaesque
fortress Europe becomes an all too real nightmare for  foreigners and
when `ordinary' European Citizens are encouraged  to become spies and
special militias to combat the supposed  enemy from without; more than
ever before the fate of the struggle  of our brothers and sisters in our
countries of origin will be  determined by our effective solidarity and
the strategies we  develop. But deportation and isolation destroy the
possibility of  such solidarity being built. It is in this context that
the caravan for  the rights of refugees and migrants will organise a ten
day  congress aimed at gathering forces to build an effective unity 
against deportations and social exclusion. 

  Deportation is a gross violation of human rights not only because  it
means that refugees fleeing persecution torture and death are  cynically
handed over to their executioners but also because it is  the violation
of the freedom of movement from poor to rich  countries which has come
to symbolise the creation of a  world-wide system of apartheid between
the few entitled to enjoy  the fruits of neo-liberalism and the many,
who in the words of a  Tamil poet, `bear our destiny seared on our
foreheads like a mark  of Cain'. The small number of us who manage the
come into the  fortress Europe are now facing increasing pressure and
such  humiliation, to make our lives so difficult that we leave

  Social exclusion has two dimension, on the one hand it prevents  any
human contact between the refugees and migrants and the  local
population, to say nothing of integration. But it is also an  attempt to
lock foreigners in a political vacuum and make it  impossible for us to
counter the vicious propaganda spread by the  industrialised powers of
the reality in our countries of origin or of  effectively expressing
their solidarity with the resistance of their  brothers and sisters. 

  We feel that the theme of fighting against deportation and social 
exclusion brings together all the strands of our struggle. When we 
fight deportations we fight not only for our human rights to be  treated
as equals but we also tear asunder painted veil of lies and  corruption
with which industrialised nations attempt to obscure  their pillage of
our lands and the resistance of our brothers and  sisters and legitimise
the brutal regimes whose only legitimacy is  that of being partners in
this crime. 

  When we fight against social exclusion we fight not only for our 
right to be part of human society and not be herded into the  ghettos of
our times but also to be able to be truly in solidarity  with those who
resist and fight in the lands we left behind. 

  This unforgiving onslaught on our rights has not broken our spirit. 
>From the isolated prisons called refugee camps we will come out 
fighting. This massive conference, co-ordinated by the Voice  Africa
Forum - which is the core of the Caravan group in Jena, will  show the
seriousness in which we will 'Unite Against Deportation  and Social

  Although this is called a refugee congress and is organised 
fundamentally by the refugees, all serious anti-racists are  encouraged
to prepare themselves now so that you have the 21  April to the 1st May
in the year 2000 free to participate in this  important event. Your
contribution will be a necessary part to the  building of a successful
fight-back. Further we call on all refugees,  migrants and anti-racists
at this early stage to contribute your  ideas to the content of the
congress as the program is still fairly  open.

Nettime-bold mailing list