Day 10 | 17th September 2010
Ten days after the start of the hunger strike in the refugee camp in Horst (a small town approximately 100 km east of Hamburg), the refugees gathered again in the canteen to emphasize their demands.
Although the hunger strike has left its mark on the refugees, they are still determined. The camp management is trying to break their resolve with repression, threats and isolation. While at the beginning of the hunger strike, the management started to cancel the work opportunities for the refugees and closed the common rooms, they now resort to taking down the details of those who speak to the press. They also openly threaten with deportation. Despite all this, a lot of people have been showing solidarity with their struggeling neighbors. Also ctivists from various cities are among the supporters.
During the past year, the refugees have managed to draw attention to their disastrous situation. More and more media are arriving at the camp to get a picture of the situation. On Saturday, Mehmed Yildis, a member of the Hamburg Parliament from the party “Die Linke”, visited the refugee camp together with journalists. However, they we were denied access, and so far no journalists or anyone else have been allowed in.
So the supporters had to gather in the parking lot next to the camp. In the many conversations that were held through the fence, the seriousness of the situation for the refugees became clear. The biggest concern is the medical situation. Many refugees report that the only remedy for any medical condition has been Paracetamol (a plain painkiller).
A young man told the story of his visit to the doctor in a nearby town, after he had collapsed in the camp. After a long examination, the doctor told him to exercise more, and maybe cycle. When he replied that he couldn’t afford a bike, the young man was told: “You’re out of luck”.
We met a family with two children, one of whom is disabled, already has had 5 operations and is likely to require more. Still, the family is held in the camp, where there is no adequate medical care available.
We agree with the refugees that Horst, as well as all other camps, has to be closed down. We will continue to stand alongside the people in the camp and support them in their struggle – before, during and after the hunger strike. We learned today, how important support is for the people and we are hoping for many more people to join.
Tomorrow there will be a visit by officials from the state government. We saw many deliveries being made to the camp today – apparently to create the image of a “humane accommodation for asylum seekes” (according to the camp manager).
Freedom of Movement and the right to stay for all!