<m2m-eng> Thursday 29-11: Final happening at Camp Osdorp

Jo van der Spek jo at xs4all.nl
Wed Nov 28 09:19:30 CET 2012

We Are Here, for our Right to Be

Refused refugees living on the streets of the Netherlands struggle  
for life

Eviction of protest camp in Amsterdam expected this Friday November  
30, 2012

The Mayor of Amsterdam, capital city of the Netherlands, has ordered  
the eviction of the protest camp of refugees in the western suburb of  
Amsterdam called Osdorp. A verdict by the court will be announced on  
Wednesday 28th at 9 a.m. The approximately 100 refugees demonstrating  
in the camp are determined to stay where they are and face the police  
force and subsequent detention. They call on all people to witness  
this show down and show support in a manifestation in front of the  
camp and on the streets of Amsterdam. This event starts Thursday 29th  
of November at 2 p.m.. The eviction can be expected the morning  
after. We call for witnesses, observers and comapssionate citizens to  
join and demand the rigo a Theatre of Hope.

Info: +31.686263381

email: m2migrant at gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/169302156549604/
Twitter: @WeAreHere
Website: http://wijzijnhier.org
Blog: http://kamposdorp.blogspot.nl/
If you want, you can call us:

el mouthena :0685602714

younes :0685270643

mustafa :0684566733

bayisa : 0684482895 mamadou : 0684997713

There will be a press conference in the Camp on Wednesday 28th of  
November at 5 p.m. (Central European Time)

Location: Notweg 32, NL1068 LL Amsterdam, The Netherlands


In Amsterdam and The Hague rejected refugees from Africa and the  
Middle East are enduring the harsh weather in make shift tent camps  
where they demonstrate against the Dutch way of treating rejected  
refugees since September 4th (Amsterdam) and 19th (The Hague). Since  
2010 asylum seekers who have been rejected are no longer entitled to  
basic rights such as shelter and food. Even when it is impossible to  
return to their countries of origin, the Dutch government argues that  
they can leave voluntarily. Denying them access to reception centers,  
putting them in prison and forcing them to survive in parks, railway  
stations and insecure hiding places, that is the way to convince them  
to leave this country. In the first half of 2012 4.680 asylum seekers  
have been dumped on the street without any life support, according to  
the International Network of Local Initiatives with Asylum seekers  
(INLIA). These self-organized action by the refugees have highlighted  
a humanitarian problem that has been growing for years and was hidden  
from the public eye. Now these people have made themselves visible  
and seek solutions by entering in dialogue with civil society and  
democratic representatives.  To realize their aims they need to be  
together, safe and visible. Apparently the authorities want to make  
them disappear again. The only offer is for some of the refugees to  
go for 30 days in dispersed shelters for homeless people. After that  
they would again be on their own, insecure and invisible. A growing  
number of supporters is trying to create sustainable ways to continue  
this struggle for human rights. One way would be to make a space  
available as a meeting point for refugees, a House of Hope.

On their blog, the refugees that camp out in Amsterdam declared:

"We are here because our life is in danger. There are many reasons  
for this. War is the most important one. There are several armed  
conflicts in Africa that cost many lives, disrupt families and  
livelihoods. Political violence and oppression, religious division,  
problems between tribes and clans add to make solutions complicated.  
Drought, famine and other economic factors also push people to find a  
better future elsewhere. All these cases are inter-related. We can  
see this in the extremist movements. They make life impossible for  
you if you do not conform to strict rules. Having a drink can cost  
you your life. Being a member of another tribe, or of another  
religion, can bring you into deep trouble. So we are here because we  
face persecution and danger in our countries. We need to be in the  
Netherlands because this country is a free country where our lives  
are safe and we could build a future. "

We want your help. We want to get out of this situation. We want your  
help, not just with food and drinks, but with the broader issues.  
Help us with publicity, be creative: think about how you could help.  
Whether you're politically active, or a journalist, everyone can help  
in their own way. We have 5 representatives you can talk to, to  
explain our situation.

The name “Refugees-on-the-Street” was coined when they started  
organizing in the spring of 2011 in Utrecht, with support of the STIL  
Foundation, a solidarity group for migrants without a residence  
permit. They are people who fled their home country, asked for asylum  
but were denied permission. The capstone of the asylum procedure is  
deportation. Undocumented migrants are systematically held in  
administrative detention for up to 18 months and this can be repeated  
endlessly. If they cannot be deported they are put on the street  
without any title of right, no shelter no care, nothing at all. Most  
of them go in hiding, including women with children. They depend on  
charity, on good will (or bad will) of private people. But more and  
more refuse to hide and they fight for a decent life, for hope.

Since the big tent camp in ter Apel everybody knows they are here.  
Through their demonstrations and actions, by their presence in the  
media and in politics they have joined the public debate. In  
Amsterdam the Camp against the Cold started on the 4th of September  
where a growing number of refugees find shelter, food, safety and  
medical care. With their slogan  “WE ARE HERE” (WIJ ZIJN HIER) they  
show that WE are human beings, WE have nowhere to go, WE stay here  
until we have a solution that respects our human rights. In the camp  
at Notweg 32 in Amsterdam Osdorp are mainly African men and women  
(children are not allowed by the Mayor of Amsterdam) from Somalia,  
Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenia, and francophone people from Congo,  
Mauretania, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Mali and Guinee. There are  
individuals from Yemen (2), China and Armenia.

In Den Haag a group of Iraqi (mostly Kurdish) refugees is camping  
near the central Staion in open tents in worse conditions than in  
Amsterdam. They carry the name RIGHT TO EXIST.


The two actual groups of activists continue previous actions, notably  
the massive protest camp of last May in front of the Deportation  
Complex in the northern village of Ter Apel. Most of the 400 refugees  
of this camp are still lodged in various reception centers, where  
they enjoy limited freedom and are not able to demonstrate. The  
activists share their experiences and views by mutual visits, mobile  
phones, and some via Facebook and email. Around the camps a network  
of helpers, supporters and activists (type Occupy), artists,  
academics etc. gather to provide direct aid, temporary solutions and  
advice en optuions for more structural and political tactics.

M2M (Migrant to Migrant) Foundation initiated the project WE ARE HERE  
right after the eviction of the big camp in Ter Apel. The aim was to  
collect all graphic material from the camp and make collabaritively a  
selection to produce a mobile exhibition for a wide audience. An  
underlying purpose was to maintain the communication between the  
dispersed groups and to reflect on the experiences of the self- 
managed camp.

Parliament of Refugees

On September 1st 2012 M2M organized a work conference in Arnhem with  
30 participants from the Ter Apel camp and 3 academic supporters. By  
elaborating on the values of the experiences en putting them in a  
perspective of future solutions the concept arose of a parliament of  
refugees. This body could articulate the common ground and the vision  
of the various groups of refugees and undocumented migrants into a  
coherent discourse and enter into a dialogue with society and  
authorities. This would help a lot, because a sustainable approach to  
the global complex of migration cannot be elaborated without the  
equal participation of all stakeholders.

Theatre of Hope

“I don’t want to die. I need life, I need hope.” These are the words  
of the Ethiopean woman Meskeren to mayor Kompier of Vlagtwedde during  
one of her visits to the tent camp of Refugees-on-the-Street in Ter  
Apel (May 2012)

The Theatre of Hope is a building in Amsterdam where refugees-on-the- 
street can live and demonstrate as the face and the voice of a  
growing group of outlawed people. It is a stage for dialogue with  
Dutch society in search for a normal life. A ring of supporters  
around the tent camp in Osdorp provides the building and a supporting  
structure to enable the users to manage the building and the program  
of activities. This is how the initiators hope to contribute to the  
self-organization, communication and participation of the Refugees-on- 
the-Street.  This project is about empowerment and democracy in a  
situation that pushes thousands of people over the brink of civilized  
life. The democratic process in the Netherlands has created a  
substantial infringement on the human rights and the dignity of  
migrants. The Theatre of Hope is a step towards a solution. The  
creation of a public space is a vital contribution to repairing the  
present gap of democracy and human rights in our own country today.

Design the Future
The concept of the Theatre of Hope was born in the first workshop  
called Design the Future on October 13th in the camp itself, again  
with thirty participants and some ten professional artists,  
architects and social designers.  This workshop was a co-creation of  
M2M and The Beach of social designer Diana Krabbendam. The Theatre of  
Hope in the House of Hope will meet the two most urgent needs of the  
refugees: a place to stay in the winter and a space to develop their  

In the last two months the Theatre of Hope and the Parliament of  
Refugees have actually already started in practice. The camps attract  
wide media exposure and negotiations are going on with council  
member, mayors, ministers, members of parliament and diplomats. The  
internal organization and procedures for decision making are in  
place: general meetings when needed bring all campers together, and  
every week a public General Assembly ratifies the steps proposed in  
the workshops. Recently, on October 23rd. A round table meeting with  
6 parties who form together a progressive minority in Parliament was  
prepared by a team of Women against deportation, bringing to the fore  
the voice of the women in the camp with their gender specific issues  
and stories. In this manner the process of articulating an  
independent and coherent discourse the first steps towards a creating  
a representative body have been taken.

The tent camps are a public manifestation, a stage for direct and  
mediated exchange with neighbors and society at large. Demonstrations  
and public actions at offices of the Immigration Service and in front  
of the Parliament are equally public performances of presence,  
passion and power.

The Theatre of Hope was first presented on October 20th in  
collaboration with the Sandberg Academy of Design within the  
framework of a public debate on Soft Power.

Every Saturday the workshops Design the Future will continue to  
provide a structure for building both the community and intensifying  
communication and collaborations with supporters.

As you can imagine, this campaign costs a lot of money. We welcome  
any help at:
Bank account: St. M2M, Amsterdam Ref. WE
Triodos Bank, Postbus 55, 3700 AB Zeist
IBAN: NL03 TRIO 0390 2719 18

Jo van der Spek
Director of the Migrant 2 Migrant Foundation (M2M)

More information to be found at:

facebook: Wij Zijn Hier (We Are Here)
twitter:  @WeAreHere
email: m2migrant at gmail.com
Tel.  +31(0)651069318 or +31(0)686263381
skype: jo-streamtime
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