Also in the past second Corona year, the Circle of Friends of Refugee Solidarity looks back on successful work. Press releases informed, solidarity was practiced and we positioned ourselves against the government's refugee policy. Together with SI, we informed about the work of the Circle of Friends with information stands in Stuttgart. An important public relations work is done by the refugees in their camps, where they make the Circle of Friends known among their fellow residents and encourage them to get advice and help and to organize themselves in the Circle of Friends. In this way, inquiries often reach the Circle of Friends and the Refugees members develop into counsellors themselves.
A first highlight of the public relations work was undoubtedly the trial of Alassa against the state of Baden-Württemberg. In February, a whole series of information rallies took place in the run-up to the trial. On the day of the trial itself, the Circle of Friends, together with Solidarity International, organized a rally and demonstration parallel to the trial. On the outcome, we subsequently announced:
"The court upheld the claim for a declaration of illegality of the police deployment in the initial reception center Ellwangen (LEA Ellwangen) in important parts: The judgment states that the police action was unlawful as far as it concerned the plaintiff Alassa Mfouapon. However, since all residents of the LEA were treated similarly that night, it would follow from this, according to common sense, that the entire operation was unlawful. However, the court rejected the lawyer's point of view, and also that of other courts in Germany, that a room in a refugee accommodation is a dwelling to which the protection of Article 13 of the Constitution of Germany on the inviolability of the dwelling applies and therefore an appeal process is necessary. But an appeal was allowed before the Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg in Mannheim..” (from the PM of 26.3.21). The continuation of the trial will probably take place in Mannheim in 2022, which we will again prepare accordingly.
With great effort, especially from the friends from Baden-Württemberg, we managed to get our Circle of Friends homepage up and running in time. It is still in need of improvement and we are working on it. Use this opportunity to inform yourself, but also to write your own reports and especially to encourage refugees to tell their stories. (https://freunde-fluechtlingssolidaritaet.org/)
On 26.2. 21, our counseling lawyers informed about the application to the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into "the EU's inhumane refugee policy, which has led to the deaths of thousands of people in the Mediterranean, and the inhumane conditions in EU detention camps such as Moria/Kara Tepe: "The motion is directed against the main perpetrators of the reactionary EU refugee policy such as the President of the EU Commission von der Leyen, Chancellor Merkel, the French President Macron or the head of the EU border police FRONTEX. "
Also due to the initiative from the Southern Regional Group, a video campaign for the Corona vaccination for all was created in May 21. It had turned out that many refugees had a big problem with this because they feared being abused and not being informed correctly. Unfortunately, this video is not getting the distribution it needs – it is still relevant and helpful:
In July, members of the Circle of Friends supported a protest rally in Sigmaringen because of the long period of barracking in the LEA there without prospects for learning and work.
On 6 August, Alassa's lawyers informed us that his asylum application had been rejected and that he was threatened with deportation. We immediately became active in many ways to organize solidarity. The lawyers' appeal in combination with the broad public relations work was successful: on 17.9 we learned of the stop of the deportation threat against Alassa by the Administrative Court of Sigmaringen. A victory for the great solidarity that had unfolded with rallies like the one in Stuttgart and many declarations of solidarity!
Also in September, we were able to prevent the threatened deportation of our severely diabetic friend Jacob.
When we heard about Isaiah Ehrauyi's planned asylum trial on October 28, we immediately spread the word and started to prepare our solidarity actions. The trial was canceled by the court on 19 October. Until today we do not know the actual reason and no new date.
We were also able to strengthen ourselves organisationally: In May we were happy about the foundation of a local group of the Friends of Refugee Solidarity in Essen, in September about the new group in Cologne and at the foundation in Mannheim in December a representative of the spokespersons from the South was present.
At the finally possible regional meeting of the southern members of the Circle of Friends on 23.10. in Stuttgart, the previous speaker committee reported, a new speaker group was elected with a total of 5 refugees! A great development towards a real self-organization of the refugees.
The new spokespersons also became directly active and implemented a decision of the assembly to write a letter to the representatives of the new governing parties' coalition with the demands of the refugees. Essential points from this letter have been implemented in the coalition agreement. It is now necessary to measure the actual policy against these declarations of intent! A second refugee congress in summer 22 would be well suited for this.
The new spokespersons feel the need to actively take to the streets, especially against deportation policies – which unfortunately continue unchanged under the new government – and to put more emphasis on regular work in refugee shelters. A letter will also be sent to network partners and friendly organizations to encourage them to actively support refugees in their search for jobs and their efforts to acquire language skills and work permits.
On 20 November, there was another real highlight: the visit of Michalis Aiwaliotis from Lesvos, who reported on his work and our cooperation in the solidarity pact between SI and "Stand by me Lesvos". A concrete result was the decision to collect for a Christmas joy for every child in the camp and also in the surrounding villages and that we were able to give him a big donation directly.
With this in mind, we wish all friends a peaceful christmas days and a successful start into a fighting year 2022!