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25 years of struggle for self-empowerment and solidarity call for Jena

The VOICE 25th Anniversary of Refugee Struggle in Germany
December 5 to 7, 2019 Jena


With pride and joy, respect and gratitude, we long for the 25th birthday of THE VOICE Refugee Forum and invite you all, sisters and brothers, friends and companions, to celebrate 25 years of solidarity and humanity with us in Jena. We want to come together there and experience what we have learned from the members of THE VOICE African Forum over the past 25 years, later renamed THE VOICE Refugee Forum.

In 1994, some refugees from African countries decided to break out of the isolation they had been forced to live in, to break the shackles of the colonial residence obligation law (Residenzpflicht), to leave the fences and barbed wires of the isolation camps behind them, not to capitulate to the inhuman deportations. 25 years ago, shortly after the actual abolition of the right of asylum, only a short time after the arson attacks in Mölln and Solingen, after the cowardly attacks in Hoyerswerda, they decided not to wait any longer but to act and to exercise their fundamental rights. The right to freedom of movement and the right to social and political association have always been the hallmarks of human progress and no law can prevent upright and thinking people from exercising them, thought the then young activists of THE VOICE. So they went out and exchanged ideas with other refugees and people. They wanted to regain the rights that the German asylum procedure had taken away from them.

In the last 25 years THE VOICE Refugee Forum has inspired many people not only in Germany through the political struggle of its members. Numerous initiatives and networks today owe their foundation to the active intervention of VOICE activists. The 1998 KARAWANE tour in the run-up to the Bundestag elections was also co-organized by VOICE activists. As a result of this tour, the network of the CARAVAN for the rights of refugees and migrants was founded. In addition to refugees, it also included migrants living here and German friends.

But not only self-organisations owe their foundation or existence to THE VOICE Refugee Forum today, but also many non-governmental organisations and associations. These were able to find their place in the space created by The VOICE Refugee Forum. They founded associations, foundations or advisory and meeting places. But among the most oppressed people, THE VOICE Refugee Forum remained. It promoted everywhere the fight of the refugees for self-empowerment. It consistently demanded the place of refugees in the discussions and categorically rejected any paternalism. Through their daily struggles and the many challenges in the forums and encounters created by them and others, VOICE members always focused the struggle on deportations and their colonial character.

They themselves, however, were always in the forefront of the fight against the attacks on the lives of refugees organized by the German state, whether it was about deportations, restrictions on freedom of movement or speech, police brutality or breaking through isolation in the camps.

Now the friends are calling for Jena to share the lessons they learned of the 25 years with everyone and celebrate them at the same time. We are happy not only to forward this invitation to everyone, but also to supplement it with a request to contribute to this meeting. For example, you can send your experiences with THE VOICE Refugee Forum in any form in advance or send or bring a RefugeeBlackBox installation or a photo to Jena. If you can't come but can donate some money, you can help the organization of the meeting and also those who can't pay for the trip to Jena themselves. You can transfer donations to the following account:

Recipient: Förderverein The VOICE e.V.
IBAN: DE97 2605 0001 0000 1278 29
Code: 25yrs

If you are from the Wuppertal area, you can contact us. Perhaps we can already exchange experiences on the way there or talk about past experiences and see how we can apply them today.


  • Arrival on Thursday 5 December 2019
  • Starts on Friday, December 6, 2019 at 10:00 am: Video installation "RBB" in the HolzMarkt Jena:
    - The VOICE Symposium on refugee grassroots community "Assembly" in Germany
    - FightBack! Disrupt, disobey and organise against the regulated Dublin-deportations of refugees from Germany!
  • Saturday, 7 December 2019: Presentation | RefugeeBlackBox Parade | Music | Gyration and Performance
    There will be a RefugeeBlackBox parade against the deportation crimes and against the colonial racism of Europe on 7th Saturday, December 2019.

For more information please see also:
The VOICE 25th Anniversary of Refugee Struggle in Germany:

With solidarity greetings from Wuppertal
CARAVAN for the rights of refugees and migrants

CARAVAN for the rights of refugees and migrants
Wuppertal Office, Marienstraße 52, 42103 Wuppertal
Phone: +49 202 27 27 95 34

Local group: