Kompass-Newsletter No. 79 - 06/2019




WatchTheMed Alarm Phone: Contested routes in the Mediterranean +++ Sea Watch free again after rescue operation and confiscation +++ 11-14 June in Kiel: Conference of Youth without borders and on 12 June demonstration at the conference of interior ministers +++ 13-14 June in Berlin: Congress "Safe harbours - Cast off for communal reception" +++ 18.6. in Hamburg: Families have a right to live together +++ 28-30 June in Munich: Solidarity City Conference +++ 9-14 July near Nantes/France: Transborder Summer Camp +++ New scandalisation of pushbacks at the Croatian-Bosnian border +++ New reports from bordermonitoring.eu +++ Review: Action in Berlin: A life jacket for "Molecule Man" +++ Outlook: August 24: big demonstration in Saxony; August 31 in Büren: big demonstration against 100 years of deportation detention

Dear friends!

As already in the last two months we start the newsletter again at one of the most contested routes - in the central Mediterranean.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 10 p.m.: A distress call from a satellite phone reaches the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone. A boat with 90 to 100 people. They send a GPS position which shows that they have already travelled 90 miles from the Libyan coast, but are still about ten miles from the Maltese search and rescue zone. The shift team learns that the Moonbird, Sea Watch's reconnaissance aircraft, had already reported the same boat to the official rescue authorities in Rome and Malta as an SOS in the morning. Moonbird had also seen a nearby Italian naval ship from the air, but despite several requests, it refused to rescue it. About 12 hours later the boat calls the Alarm Phone for help. The engine has failed, they are drifting. Despite urgent calls, emails and Twitter the authorities in Rome and Valetta refuse their responsibility and refer to Libya. As almost always in recent weeks. The Alarm Phone team remains in hourly contact with the boat throughout the night, calming down and encouraging the people and insisting on the authorities' obligation to rescue them to Europe. In the morning, journalists in Italy take up the case, and members of parliament also intervene. Public pressure grows and at 9.05 a.m. the completely exhausted people from the boat report to the Alarm Phone with the news that an Italian ship has now arrived and is rescuing them. 15 minutes later the confirmation via Italian media. The same Italian Navy ship that had refused the rescue the day before.

Non assistance of a person in danger, dying at sea, interception to Libya at any cost: that remains the dominant reality in the central Mediterranean. At the same time, more and more boats are making it near to Malta or even to the Sicilian coast on their own. And the above-mentioned boat had also fought its way so far north that Libyan militias could hardly reach it and, in view of the public pressure, an obvious drowning was not possible. The survival and rescue of 100 people as a small victory in a sea of injustice, in a Europe where letting die as a means of deterrence has become the norm. 

The Alarm Phone had supported two boats in the Aegean in the same night, in the days before the same between Morocco and Spain. Daily practices in the fight against the EU border regime. Never give up as the motto of the refugees and migrants as well as the support networks. We fight for every life, for the right to come - and to stay.

Hamburg, 18 May: Solidarity City and Citizens Asylum groups meet at the right to city forum for germanwide exchange. The Envilago, a pavilion with exhibition materials set up by New Hamburg, offers an informative meeting space for a productive series of workshops: on Citizens' asylum, on protection spaces and welcome centres, on city maps and city IDs. Ten cities and diverse experiences are represented, with the focus on practical questions, problems and opportunities. How do we block the deportation terror? How do we create better structures to provide housing and access to social rights for illegalized peole? How can we develop contacts and cooperation in and with the communities? Which projects bring different social groups together? 

A weekend before, on 12 and 13 May, there were simultaneous decentralised demonstrations and rallies in front of all German deportation prisons. "100 years of deportation imprisonment - 100 years of innocent imprisonment", is the title of the campaign. In addition the suitable current result of a specialized lawyer: “... Since 2001 I represented country widely 1,809 clients in deportation detention procedures. 873 of these clients (i.e. almost 50 %) were illegally detained according to the legally binding decisions available here (some "only" for one day, others for months). Added together, the 873 clients have twenty-two thousand seven hundred seventy one (22,771 in figures) illegal days of imprisonment (i.e. about 62 years of illegal imprisonment!). On average, each client was unjustly detained in just under 4 weeks (26.1 days)...". Abolish deportation custody! In addition there were in the last weeks meetings and films in over 30 cities, which mobilize now for 31 August to a common demonstration in front of the prison in Büren. 

Thus back to the future: More than 500 active people have registered for the Transborder Summer Camp in France in July. For exchange and strategical debates, more transnational than ever, with groups across Europe and from numerous African countries. Central theme: corridors of solidarity. Or more concretely: the establishment and expansion of infrastructures along all routes of flight and migration. With rescue ships and alarm phones, with rented rest houses, occupied centres and social meeting points, with advice in transit and multilingual information guides. The right to freedom of movement is spelled out practically and transnationally in times of acute social polarisation, not only in France and Germany. 

Matching this: for 24 August, Unteilbar, We'llCome United and Seebrücken are drumming for a big demonstration in Dresden. Now more than ever! With reference to the European and municipal election results in Saxony. The AfD especially in the smaller cities are still on the upswing, despite "Ibizagate" of the model party FPÖ in Austria. Hard to grasp and certainly not acceptable. 

In the Mediterranean, in the cities, in front of deprotation prisons, in Saxony as in Nantes: Build up (infra)structures! Solidarity must become practical. 

In this spirit, the Kompass Team