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10 Years Anniversairy of the CARAVAN in Thuringia - Germany

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10-jähriges Jubiläum der Karawane für die Rechte der Flüchtlinge und MigrantInnen

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Celebrating ten years of resistance and international solidarity

The Caravan-for the rights of refugees and migrants celebrates its 10 years of existence from 2nd to 5th October, 2008 in Weimar/Jena, Thuringia. With the motto “10 years of resistance and international solidarity” we invite all interested people to come to Jena to support and show solidarity with the current protests of The VOICE Refugge Forum with the refugees in Thuringia against the state repression of the refugee struggles and to exchange experiences and plan for the future.

The development of the Caravan
The history of the Caravan started with a six-week protest tour through 44 cities in the summer of 1998 with the slogan: “we have no vote, but a voice!” Buoyed by the solidarity of comrades and colleagues from different continents, we attacked the racist consensus in Germany just before the general elections in 1998. With this slogan we highlighted the deplorable condition of refugees in Germany as we openly spoke about and condemned our inhuman treatment here and the conditions that led to our flight from our various home countries. The tour also marked the first coordinated nationwide struggle against the state-organized, institutional and societal system of racist exclusion, persecution and the deportation of refugees to a host of countries in different regions of the world. Through our continued engagement we have exposed the sore and horror that is the German-led EU asylum politics and demonstrated our spirit of resistance and solidarity against the daily attacks on our human dignity as well as attacks on our children and families.

Since our formation 10 years ago, we have maintained a constant campaign in defense of our rights as human beings. In countless actions and various campaigns, we have fought against the continuation of colonial structures and the racist mind-set, against deportations and the racist special laws like “residence obligation law” (residenzpflicht), isolation camps, police brutality and against Germany’s collaboration with the regimes we fled from. We have never stopped denouncing the strengthening of the European wall which costs thousands of lives every year. We have never forgotten the people we left behind in our home countries, the kind of misery they have to live in and what the roots of this misery are.

In these 10 years, we have lost several friends and comrades. While some of our sisters were raped by the police in their station before being deported (with countless pictures of such ignoble acts taken), others were suffocated to death in their deportation process, and some were shot and killed by the police or mysteriously burnt to death in police custody.

Other friends managed to defend their right to stay here. With lots of support, they had the possibility to fight against the authorities and win. But in many cases, this was only possible due to long lasting determination and heavy struggles. In the midst of these struggles, we also had the opportunity to find a lot of new friends and supporters and to encourage more refugees to fight. But we have made a lot of experiences at the same time with the repression that comes in reaction to our struggle. Punishments, sanctions and deportations are well known means by the authorities against refugees who resist the situation we are forced to live in. Our determination to defend ourselves and stand up unbowed for the principles of our struggle, coupled with the genuine solidarity that we attract, has ensured that we overcome and outlive all repressive methods of the state and continue our quest for justice and respect for our human dignity.

What we are fighting against
Beginning with the passage of the “ABLG” in 1982, the German government has systematically and deliberately negated and circumvented the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights-a convention it signed and ratified. With more strident asylum restrictions and the enforcement of the so-called anti-terror laws, the right to asylum was virtually abolished by the German government as its capitalist dominance intensified. The reasons for which asylum was originally granted a few years ago have become the very reasons today why already accepted asylum is withdrawn.

Parallel to this, the government created the legal basis for its worldwide military activities. So, when Germany again started a war of aggression in 1999 by the bombing of Yugoslavia, fortress Europe was already a far advanced project. The German government played and plays a major role in the Europeanization of human right abuses against refugees and is the main driving force in strengthening the European borders by intensive militarization after the de-facto abolition of asylum rights 15 years ago and in circumvention of the Geneva convention as it was adopted by the individual states.

As the leading power in Europe Germany exports the culture of deportation prisons, isolation camps and militarization not only to the countries of Europe but as well to the neighboring countries of North Africa and eastern Europe. It drills the police in these countries and in many other African and Asian countries to control the people and eliminate grass root movements for self determination. The German bureaucracy organizes European wide deportations and advises the new member countries of the European Union to secure the outer borders of Europe. These walls are only there to secure and defend the wealth which has been stolen from the people of the World during the last 500 years.

Coming from countries that have seen mass scale destruction and exploitation as a result of Western imperialism and the obscene collaboration between brutal dictators and Western powers, many of us already had concrete horrible experiences. When we arrived here, we realized that not only were we not in safety, we realized that we were facing the same system we are used to experiencing as a blood-sucking monster, attacking and destroying our countries in order to suck our natural wealth and resources and enslave us. The Caravan expounded its beliefs and understandings of these situations in its two main slogans: “We are here because you destroy our countries” and “Asylum right is a human right and not a privilege.” And these slogans we hold as self-evident truth.

And 10 years on….the resistance and solidarity continues…
From the very beginning, self organisation and the solidarity with refugee struggle has been the core of the Caravan-network. Without the leading role of active refugees, the caravan would not exist as we know it. In the past 10 years we have learned an indisputable fact: solidarity is one of our major weapons. As a result, we will continue to welcome and nurture genuine solidarity that is devoid of paternalism and ulterior motives.

For this reason we are mobilizing to Thüringen for our 10 years anniversary to support and show solidarity with refugee activists and friends at the different Camps. Our activities will start with a rally in Weimar where the centre of Thuningia’s anti-refugee-authorities is located. Besides activities in support of refugees there, we will share the experiences of the caravan network with refugees, migrants and all other open minded people. We want to boost self organisation and build a larger network of support and solidarity to confront the inhuman system of isolation and deportation. We want to express our political position and our perspectives and we want to discuss our path leading to the coming years. The program you will find below.
Just before the activities in October, the refugees in Thuringia are organizing together with The VOICE Refugee Forum a meeting titled “We are closing the isolation camp Katzhütte” on September 14, 2008. It is the aim of the refugees to create a stronger unity and to develop solutions for our struggle for the abolition of isolation camps.


October 2, 2008
11:00 Press conference in Weimar, at Jugend- und Kulturzentrum mon ami, Goetheplatz 11, Weimar
14:00 Manifestation in support of the refugee struggle in Thüringen: Rally and Demonstration to the Thuringia "Anti - Refugee" Regional Administrative Center in Weimar, Goetheplatz
19:00 opening event with exhibition, film and music. Place: Kasseturm, Goetheplatz, Weimar

October 3, 2008
10:00 Solidarity visit to the Refugee–Isolation-Camps in Katzhütte and Gelhberg and to the refugee activists in Apolda, Thüringen

19:30 Nigerian Nollywood, Film “ASYLUM” - Memorial Psychiatric Hospital
Movie Trailer on youtube

October 4, 2008
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Carl-Zeiss-Str. 3, Jena

link to city map
10:00 Brunch and exchange
12:00 Seminars on Self-organization protest of refugees in Thüringen, campaigning, the role of Germany in the european war against refugees, the slogan „We are here because you destroy our countries!“ and final plenum on perspectives
20:00 Anniversairy event with concert (Jericho Walls, Reggae, Dortmund) and other cultural activities

more information soon here and on

For questions or how you can contribute contact the local caravan groups or the office of the VOICE Refugee Forum in Jena:

The VOICE Refugee Forum Jena
Schillergäßchen 5, 07745 Jena
Telefon: 017624568988
E-Mail: thevoicefoum {ät}

For the daily work, for mobilisation and preparation and for the support of refugee struggles and for our campaigns we need your financial support.
Donations to:
The Voice e.V. Göttingen
Konto: 140061
Blz: 260 500 01
Sparkasse Göttingen
Stichwort „10Jahre“

Local group: