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HUNGER STRIKE June 19th - 22nd Berlin -against the criminal practice of deportation

on June 19th - 22nd, 2004 at "Gendarmenmarkt" in Berlin/Mitte

against the criminal practice of deportation and the persecution
of Togolese and Cameroonian political exile opposition
by the German state.

Since the beginning of this year the persecution and deportation of refugees from Togo has increased massively. The peak level so far was the mass-deportation of 18 people from Togo and 26 from Cameroon, who were deported from Amsterdam under participation of Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France and the UK. Germany was involved with the deportation of 15 persons. During the night of May 25th/26th the political refugees from Togo and Cameroon were forced, against their protest, to enter a plane (Eyewitnesses stated it was a KLM airplane from the Netherlands) by the use of beating, pepper spray, dogs, plastic shackles and the new model of the "Deportation-Torture-Helmet" (These new models were presented by the German Home Office, after Amir Ageeb had died of suffocation because of being brutalized by border police and the use of a bike-helmet during his deportation in 1999).
In the run-up a heavy mob of battle like police squad had invaded the deportation section of the JVA Fühlsbüttel, thrown the prisoners forcefully out of their bed onto the floor and shackeled them. Right after that the officers chose the ones to be deported on the basis of photos. Altogether four persons from Togo have been deported from this prison in Hamburg. It was announced before that one of the prisoner should undergo a medical examination before the deportation that the northern German Refugee Councils (Flüchtlingsräte) and AIDS-Aid-Stations had demanded in cooperation with his lawyer. In the case of another prisoner from Togo, the embassy of Togo had not issued any papers. Both prisoners were deported in this cloak-and-dagger operation despite of all that. During the two following days other refugees were deported to Togo.
In the meantime the absolute majority of applications for asylum are rejected by the Federal Office and the administrative courts. Some of the refugees who were accepted according to § 51 and who have been living in Germany for years are withdrawn their recognition for asylum and asked to leave the country.
April 27th 2004 Berlin march to the ministery for foreign affairs

Since the middle of last year, big parts of the Togolese opposition in exile have been protesting against the German deportation policies and against the dictatorship of General Gnassingbé Eyadéma. After members of the opposition and civilians had been massacred during the presidential elections in 2003, the Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants ("Karawane für die Rechte der Flüchtlinge und MigrantInnen") and opposition groups from Togo have launched a campaign against the dictatorship of Eyadéma and against the German collaboration that includes many public activities for political education. At the same time the political persons in charge were confronted with information about the situation in Togo and with the demands of the Togolese refugees. All political authorities were adequately or very well informed about the dramatic humanrights conditions and the persecution of the opposition in Togo. But neither the Department for Foreign Affaires nor the Home Offices of the federal states were willing to stop the deportations to Togo and reject all responsibilities.
At the same time the Department for Foreign Affaires claims to have no tangible indications of the persecution of Togolese refugees after their deportation. In contrast to that, Togolese opposition parties, lawyers and refugee-organisations counter that they have a number of proofs for torture and persecution after deportations that have also been presented to the Department for Foreign Affaires.
Barbara Ginsberg, a lawyer from Cologne (Köln), who is specialised in asylum proceedings, for example states:
"I met a number of Togolese people who were arrested and tortured after their deportation but
could afterwards escape to Germany once again. They were predominantly critically traumatised, in parts there were also apparent traces of torture. A woman for example, who was pregnant for three months when she was deported, had scars of whippings on her belly when she returned. She was in her 8th month at that time. A man had regular scars on his belly which did not heal even after years because these cuts had been done with a knife and chilly was sprinkled into them afterwards. Electroshocks and other methods of torture are also exercised "as and when required". Even yesterday I spoke to a client, who was brought to Africa with an accumulative-deportation flight. He was then imprisoned for 15 months in Togo, with the charge of having befouled the name of his president Eyadéma when he was in Germany. But the Department for Foreign Affaires still holds to the lie that they have no information about cases of Togolese who had suffered from state-repression after their deportation. I myself have provided evidence to the Department for Foreign Affaires that Togolese were arrested, tortured, killed or have disappeared without a trace after their deportation or unsolicited return to Togo. Even the fact that some of those who could escape once again to Germany have been accepted in their asylum proceedings in the meantime, cannot change the false information of the Foreign Office."
The Togolese opposition member in exile, Tchedré Abdou Gafar, who was visiting relatives in Ghana in March/April, had to hide right there in Ghana, because the bloodhounds of the regime searched for him in the neighbouring state. During the search of Mr. Tchedré the militia showed photos of him, that were taken on demonstrations and assembly of the Togolese opposition in Germany.
Nov. Jena 2003 Protest during the conferences of the german ministers of interiour

The deportees from Germany and Holland of May 26, 2004 were immediately threatened on their arrival in Lomé. After extended interrogation about their activities and contacts in Germany they were released and notified that they would be called in the near future and that in the case of absence their families would get "problems".
The Cameroonian regime opponent who was deported from Germany was arrested directly at the airport in Douala. Since then no one has had contact with him.
A further deportation charter plane to Togo left on the 27.05.2004 from Langenhagen/ Hannover. One of the deportees and his fiance had applied in February for permission to marry. Instead of extending his residence permit they arrested him at the beginning of May two weeks before his permit expired and he was deported despite all protests. Also in this case the victims complained about being roughly treated by the German security. In Togo they were arrested. It is still unknown whether they were all released.
The demand for an immediate and general cessation of deportation to Togo came after April 14, 2004. On this day a conference of the EU and AKP states took place in Brussels. The subject of the conference was the blockade of Article 9 of the Cotonou Agreement regarding democracy and human rights by the Togolese regime. The regime accepted a comprehensive catalogue of commitments which were to be implemented within a pre-ordained time limit. This catalogue makes clear that in Togo not even a rudimentary democratisation process has been implemented. The country is still governed by absolute dictatorial power.
The commitments include, amongst others, the release of prisoners, the abolishment of torture, the admittance of opposition parties and media, reforms of the judicial and electoral system as well as constitutional reforms.
Already, the regime has shown in practice that it will not implement the commitments. The time limit for the release of political prisoners who are incarcerated because of statements they made, was six weeks and has already elapsed. The regime stated that there were no political prisoners.
Instead of an immediate suspension of deportation after the Brussels conference there has been an increase of refusals of political asylum and forced deportations to dictatorial Togo.

Against this background the Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants and sections of the Togolese opposition in exile resolved to conduct a four-day hunger strike in Berlin to inform the public about the human rights abuses in Germany and Togo. The German government and its subordinate organisations are responisble for the fate of the
deportees and we demand accountability.

We demand:

1. the immediate cessation of deportation and issuance of a general deportation stop to Togo.
2. the immediate release of all Togolese refugees in deportation prisons.
3. the unconditional recognition of the right of political asylum for all who have fled from the Eyadema regime.
4. the correction of the incorrect and incomplete situational reports of the Foreign Office which are the basis for the crucial asylum decisions of the administrative courts. The Togolese exile opposition and different humanrights organisations offer their cooperation for these purposes.
5. not to hinder the political activities of exile opposition movement for democracy and justice; neither through laws in breach of the constitution such as the so-called Residenzpflicht residence law and other human rights abusive legal regulations which asylum seekers in Germany are subjected to nor through discriminatory and arbitrary police controls and maltreatment nor through other governmental checks and restriction.
6. that the German government bears the responsibility for any consequences for body and life resulting from the denial of the right of political asylum and deportation.
7. that meeting like the Brussels conference on the Cotonou agreement not be used to initiate new relationships with the Eyadema regime.

Points 1 to 6 are to be applied as well to refugees
from Cameroon and South Cameroon.

until now supported by: Karawane (bundesweites Netzwerk), the Voice Refugee Forum Jena, Antirassistische Initiative Berlin, Brot & Rosen diak.Basisgem. HH, Niedersächsische Flüchtlingsrat, Rotfuchsgruppe HH, Red. GEGENWIND Kiel, Yucom HH, Naturfreundejugend Berlin, FIAN-Gruppe HH, Initiative gegen Abschiebehaft Berlin, Kathrin Edel, Stefan Meier, Michael Begoll, Arbeitskreis Asyl Friedrichsdorf, Anticolonial Africa Conference 2004, ...


June 19 - 22, 2004
Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin/Mitte
(Begin Saturday, 12°°)

Stop the criminal deportation practises and the persecution of Togolese and Cameroon oppositional exiles by the German state!

Karawane für die Rechte der Flüchtlinge und MigrantInnen
Sektion Nord / Koordinationskreis Hamburg Tel: 0049-(0)40-43 18 90 37
c/o Brigittenstrasse 5 Fax: 0049-(0)40-43 18 90 38
20359 Hamburg mail: /

There is an urgent need for financial support:
Antirassist. Initiative Berlin; Bank für Sozialwirtschaft; Kto: 30 39 606; BLZ: 100 205 00