<m2m-eng> Press release Boats4people on Choucha camp, Tunisia/Libya border]

jo van der spek jo at xs4all.nl
Sun Jul 15 18:02:09 CEST 2012

Aan de pers,

Onderstaand  (en als bijlage) is een persbericht over het  bezoek van
Boats4people/B4P aan het choucha-vluchtelingenkamp. Aan deze delegatie
hebben ook twee deelnemers uit Nederland deelgenomen: vincent de jong en
Emmanuel Mbolela (beiden van All Included Amsterdam).

Wij wijzen tevens op andere persberichten (oa getuigenis gezonken boot
afgelopen dinsdag in Tunesie en monitoring middels onze B4P-boot de
Oloferne) tijdens onze reis:
http://www.boats4people.org/index.php/fr/actualite/communiques (volledige
lijst hier in het frans)
Nederlandstqlige info en blog over B4P:

Wij zijn vandaag te bereiken op
Emmanuel Mbolela tel 0021629001591
Vincent de Jong tel 0021629001592
Wij keren morgen terug naar NL en zijl dan te bereiken via
Vincent de Jong 06-59087174
Emmanuel Mbolela 06-43158930

Vriendelijke groet,
vincent en emmanuel

Press release Boats4people on Choucha camp, Tunisia/Libya border

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


Around 3000 migrants and refugees who fled the war in Libya in 2011 are
still living under inhuman conditions in the refugee camp at Choucha
(Tunisia) near the Libyan border.  Most come from Sub-Saharan Africa but
there are also nationals of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Palestine and Iraq.

Some in the camp have been accepted as refugees and are awaiting
resettlement. Others are waiting for UNHCR’s decision on their case to be
accepted. Hundreds are denied any status at all because their cases were
not processed properly and they have not had access to lawyers or to good

For a large number of newcomers, among them many boat people pushed back
to sea, no processing will be started. Those not accepted as refugees are
threatened by UNHCR and the military with being sent back to Libya or to
their countries of origin, without considering their different kinds of
problems there. If they do not go, they can be arrested at any time and
put in prison.

Everyone in the camp, among them small children, must endure harsh living
conditions in a desert region where daytime temperatures can reach over 40
°C and sandstorms are frequent.  For example:

•	Insufficient drinking water (only one bottle per day)
•	No showers and only broken toilets without any privacy, especially for
•	There are snakes, scorpions, mosquitoes and rats in the camp and people
have no protection against them
•	Food is of very poor quality, without meat or vegetables, and quantities
are insufficient
•	People do not receive money and clothing
•	Medical treatment is very poor, with no provision for people who have
been traumatized by torture and war in Libya or in their countries of

The camp is under military control and does not admit visitors without
official permission from the Ministry of Defence.  Migrants cannot even
move around inside Tunisia without risk of being arrested. Most camp
residents, among them small children, have been in Choucha camp for more
than 18 months. Some have tried to go back to Libya but were arrested and
tortured there. Others have become so desperate that they have tried to
reach Europe by boat but been pushed back or died at sea.

In recent months, the camp residents have started to organise protests in
the name of the »Voice of Choucha«. Migrants’ demands are:

-	A review of cases for those whose applications for refugee status have
been rejected
-	Faster processing and resettlement for more people
-	Humane treatment and living conditions, which is not possible in a camp
like Choucha
-	Freedom of movement inside and outside Tunisia
-	Equal rights for everyone without discrimination

Those who took part in the protests have been threatened by UNHCR and the
military, and they are frightened because some migrants were beaten and
killed by soldiers in May 2011. Boats4People and the workshop “Migrants’
rights” at the Forum in Monastir support their struggle and demand that EU
governments open their borders to the migrants and refugees from Choucha
and elsewhere. They must immediately find a human solution for all in
cooperation with the UNHCR and the Tunisian government!
This is a very urgent case and we are calling for urgent action!

info at allincluded.nl
Plantage Doklaan 12
1018 CM Amsterdam
tel 020-3795236

good work Vinz!

Like a Somali!    facebook.com/JoM2M

______   _______   ________   _________   _____

Jo van der Spek
Stichting M2M. Migrant to Migrant
m2m at streamtime.org


no borders between us
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