Sorry, this entry is only available in Deutsch.
Sorry, this entry is only available in Deutsch.
Press release by the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg” concerning the ban of containers on church property in St. Pauli:
Senate escalates situation and relies on inhuman blackmail
Hamburg, 01.10.2013. Exactly five months ago the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg” publicly stepped into action for the first time. Since then a wave of humanity and solidarity has spread through Hamburg and thousands of people are actively supporting the refugees of war from Libya in their struggle for a residence permit, which in contrast to the claims made by the Senate and Department of Interior would always be legally possible.
For months now the members of the group, all recognized refugees of war in Italy, are publicly only demanding the recognition of their basic rights: free access to the labour market, to housing, to medical and social care, to education and the right to freely choose their residence within the EU.
This struggle for basic human rights has reached a new level of escalation and the Senate of Hamburg is alone responsible for this. It has evaded its responsibility for months with unfounded arguments and now wants to use the cold of the coming winter to inhumanely blackmail the fighters of the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg”.
According to latest media reports, the Senate headed by Olaf Scholz forbids the St. Pauli Church to set up fully self-financed heatable containers for the refugees of the group sleeping on the cold church floor. The senate is thus actively threatening the life of the people accommodated in the church. The members of the group are also banned from the “winter emergency program” and the city is only ready to provide saving accommodation if the refugees hand over their papers and agree to be deported.
“We don’t ask for much in Germany, two years after the NATO-war in Libya we just want to be able to lead a normal life again. But instead we are again chased away like dogs. The senate is planning to blackmail us in cold blood and is risking our lives!
In case anyone forgot, we are the innocent civilians that Germany pretended to protect when it participated in the war in Libya. We never had intention to come to Europe. Before the NATO-bombs forced us to leave we had a good life in Libya. Do the European governments think they can bomb any country on our continent Africa at will, that they can destroy our lives and then hide from their responsibility? We are here to demand our basic human rights and don’t understand, why we are faced with such wickedness. Or don’t these human rights exist for black people in Germany?”
Instead of contributing to a humanitarian solution for the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg” the senate rather wants to promote the racist sealing-off of the “cosmopolitan” city of Hamburg over the heads of the refugees. These inhuman politics will not be accepted by the group, as explained in the press release of the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg”:
Situation of the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg” still not solved after failed talks
Hamburg, 26.09.2013.In the past week the senate has made its ignorant position clear once more and blocked a humanitarian solution for the group „Lampedusa in Hamburg“ mediated by the Nordkirche. As the senate continues to refuse all responsibility for the fate of the refugees, a network of supporters set up by the people of Hamburg has been providing overwhelming humanitarian aid since May, and there is still no end in sight.
In talks between representatives of the church and the Department of Interior there had been an agreement in the past, that the authorities would accept anonymous and exemplary facts of the cases for further examination. The church gave this information to the group and three extensively reasoned and detailed applications for residence on humanitarian grounds were submitted to the Department of Interior on the 10.09.2013, including one application made with a full name. On the 12.09.2013 the head of the General Policy Department of the Foreigners Authority explicitely confirmed the willingness of the Department of Interior to talk in a letter. In this letter he said that the applications are understood “in accordance to the last agreements made with church representatives as basis for further talks“.
According to the press releases of the church this basis for discussion was cast off only shortly afterwards, in a talk with church representatives on the 16.09.2013. The Department of Interior explained, that it does not see any scope for the right of residence.
The representatives of the group „Lampedusa in Hamburg“ and also their lawyers were not involved in any of these talks. But still the group had done everything in their power to make a way out of their desperate situation possible.
Affo Tchassei, speaker of the group LiH regarding the current situation:
„We know that a humanitarian solution is legally possible, for example with §23. But for this political will is necessary but the senate lacks this will. More than two years after the war in Libya and the beginning of our flight, we are still left with nothing and the senate is responsible for that.
The senate seems to hope that the frustration and the cold will demoralize us. But there is no „going back“ for us. We will continue to fight for our rights and hope for the solidarity of the people of Hamburg. Yesterday the third Wednesday-Demo took place in heavy rain and was again attended by over 150 people. We will continue to take to the streets on Wednesdays for the weeks to come. We are additionally preparing another big demonstration and other actions for the beginning of November. We now need the support of the people of Hamburg more than ever!“
The senate still has the responsibility to fulfill basic humanitarian rights and has to find a solution for the residence of the group „Lampedusa in Hamburg“. Its members have been publicly active from the beginning on and their stay in Hamburg is de facto tolerated. The names of the speakers of the group are known and they are contactable. The same goes for the lawyers working together with the group. Further talks are only possible with these representatives of the group and are explicitly welcome.
A publication of the press release issued on the 12.09.13 by the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg” regarding the recent developements. A more detailed statement will follow next week.
First Wednesday-Demonstration – decisive developments expected
Hamburg, 12.09.2013. Yesterday the first demonstration according to the motto “Lampedusa in Hamburg – We’re staying here!”, planned to take place weekly from now on, marched through Hamburg’s city center. The demonstration with over 150 participants headed for the town hall, distributing flyers along the way and loudly demanding a solution for the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg”. The political pressure on the streets of Hamburg is maintained, also in respect of an upcoming decision by the ministry of interior regarding the representative applications for residence on humanitarian grounds made on Tuesday by the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg”.
After over four months of struggle and conscious of the strong solidarity of the people of Hamburg the group had decided to make this step, in order to end the life-threatening ignorance by the senate of Hamburg. The applications are exemplary for the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg”. A quote from Asuquo Udo, one of the speakers of the group:
“We are very grateful for the understanding of the people of Hamburg and the great support we experience every day. In our desperate situation, this gives us the power to get up again and again and to fight for our rights.
We cannot wait any longer, the situation is threatening our health and our lives. The situation makes us sick and many need medical attention. The cold weather makes it even worse. We suffer from the uncertainty and the forced passivity, this psychologically stresses us very badly. Together with our lawyers we have decided to make representative applications for a residence on humanitarian grounds. Now the senate cannot escape its responsibiliy any longer.
But we make it very clear: The applications are exemplary for the whole group, we won’t be played off against each other! The ignorance and political games by the responsible officials are threatening our lifes, this has to end! We were forced to leave two countries, the european policies have destroyed our lifes twice. We cannot go back, we’re staying here!”
At the end of a summer of resistance it has become a little calmer around “Lampedusa in Hamburg”. The successful demonstration on the 17.08. with more than 2500 people was a clear signal of strength and gives confidence. Because by now it should also have reached the senate:
Lampedusa in Hamburg – WE ARE HERE TO STAY!
We are still not at all tired and there are many ideas to maintain the political pressure in the next weeks: A big music-festival on St.Pauli, another demonstration, information events at schools etc.
As always this is only possible with the energetic support by the countless people in solidarity in Hamburg and elsewhere! Together we fight for a better future for everyone!
New infos will be published on this blog. If you also want to support the struggle, just contact lampedusa-in-hamburg[ät]riseup.net or the St. Pauli church.
For the meantime, here’s a video by the “Caravan for the rights of the refugees and migrants” with impressions from the past months.
More than 2500 people joined the demonstration “Lampedusa in Hamburg: We fight for our right!” on Saturday 17.08.13! Another demonstration called for by the refugees of the group “Lampedusa in Berlin” with 300 participants took place in Berlin.
A clear signal to the senate of Hamburg and the German government in the struggle for a residence permit for the refugees of war.
DER KAMPF GEHT WEITER – THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES
We worked and lived in Libya, a country on our African continent that gave us the possibility of a secure existence. We never had the intention to come to Europe. Because of the NATO-intervention, officially for the „protection of the civil population“, the war escalated and we lost everything.
Many people lost their lives. Some of us were sent with overcrowded boats over the Mediterranean. This is how we got to Lampedusa. Many died in the Mediterranean.
In Italy we lived under severe conditions until we received the refugee status. Afterwards there was nothing for us and Italy prompted us to go to other European countries. Now we are France, Switzerland, Germany and other European countries living on the streets without means or rights.
The European Union and the member states of the NATO are all responsible for our destiny. We are around 300 survivors of the war in Libya here in Hamburg. We united and demand a political solution and the (our) recognition according to § 23 Aufenthaltsgesetz (residence law). We would not be here if it wasn’t for the war in Libya and the catastrophic conditions of human rights for refugees in Italy. We are exhausted and worn out from a long involuntary and horrible journey. We seek for an end of the refusal of our right to live.
We are here to stay.
We hope for your solidarity.
Last week a first talk between representatives of the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg” and representatives of the ministry of interior of Hamburg took place. The results of this talk show the shameful ignorance of the senate of Hamburg, which wants to continue to play the hardliner.
We quote the press release of the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg” on the talks:
Ministry of Interior stays on hardliner-course – but the protest is getting stronger
Hamburg, 12.08.2013. In the past week the Ministry of Interior of Hamburg has made their Hardliner Position clear once more and ignores the demands of the refugee group “Lampedusa in Hamburg” – free access to job market, to education, to medical and social care and the right to freely choose their residence in the EU. But the protest of the group that has persisted for over 3 month is growing stronger. Now the workers unions ver.di and GEW are officially calling their members to participate in the Demonstration “Lampedusa in Hamburg-We fight for our right!”.
On the 6.8.2013 there was – on the initiative of the diakonie hamburg – a first talk between representatives of the Ministry of Interior and representatives of the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg”.
The ministry only used these talks to repeat its negative stance. It made clear that:
- in her view the situation in Italy alone does not give any reason to grant the right to stay to members of the group; there seem to be no reasons to assume that there is a failure of the protection of european refugee-protection in Italy
- the right to stay will only be considered in special cases, i.e. for pregnant women, sick and underaged
This makes clear that the result of the examitation of all single cases, as promised by the senate in the past, is already clear: Applications for the grant of a right to stay for humanitarian reasons will be declined , with very limites exceptions
Refugees could take legal action against the negative decision of the authorities. In reply to a question a representative of the ministry of Interior made clear that the authorities are not even ready to suspend a deportation in case of legal action against a negative decision by the affected refugee.
Protection from deportation is then only possible via emergency procedures. This procedure is not suitable to clear out fundamental questions and furthermore it is not guaranteed that legal protection can be obtained in time.
The lawyer Daniela Hödl comments on the talks with the ministry of Interior:
“The examination of single cases as promised by the senate is ultimately only an instrument to deport the concerned persons. The only offer that the represantatives of the ministry of interior had was the willingness to increase the commonly provided financial return assistance for the refugees of the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg”. What Hamburg is offering us is therefore the same as Italy had done: one gives the refugees money and drives them out of the country.”
Press release as PDF