Choucha – Monastir 11.-13.07.2012
On the 11th of July 2012, a delegation of eleven activists from nine African and European countries went to the refugee camp of Choucha at the Tunisian/Libyan border. We wanted to invite eight representatives of different communities to Monastir, where a Forum is going on to prepare the World Social Forum, which will take place in Tunisia in 2013.
Our delegation was prevented by the military to enter the camp and we got to know that the UNHCR had called the Tunisian Ministry of Defense to do so. It was announced in the media, that visits to the camp are only possible with an official permission of this ministry. We explained to the soldiers that we wanted to talk to refugees officially invited some weeks ago by the Forum to come to Monastir and to arrange their transport. We were asked to give them the names of these refugees, but we refused and called them on our own. We could meet the refugees under the trees in front of the camp, but some of those who were invited, could not go to Monastir because of appointments with the UNHCR or dared not to go because of fear to be punished, others could not be reached by phone. After some discussions, eight people decided to go and represent the refugees of Choucha in Monastir: two women and one man from Ethopia, men from Chad, Sudan, Darfur, Somalia and Bangladesh, almost all of them rejected asylum seekers. Together with some of them, we wrote a press release about the actual situtation in Choucha, the struggles and the demands of the refugees (see attachment). On the way and during the Forum, the refugees told us their stories and about the unbearable conditions in the camp. They asked us urgently to support them in order to find a human solution for all of them, because they cannot stand it in this camp any more.
Together with the refugees, who had to return to Choucha today, we call on all of you to think about ways to put pressure on the governments of European states, to open their borders and, in cooperation with the UNCHR and the Tunisian government, give protection, rights and human living conditions to all refugees and migrants. Camps like Choucha have to be closed down and freedom of movement must be a human right for everybody!
Boats4People and participants of the workshop „Migrants‘ rights“ on the 13th of July 2012 in Monastir