We are activists who got onto the topic of Choucha refugee camp through
the Boats4People project. In Choucha the situation for refugees is
increasingly getting worse — that is what we want to indicate with a
publicity and support campaign. In this mail, we want to inform you
about our ideas and sincerely invite you to participate.
Since almost two years Choucha refugee camp exists close to the
tunisian-libyan border. After UNHCR offered an asylum procedure to those
fleeing the libyan conflict, almost 2000 people were able to travel via
the resettlement programme to safe third countries. Up to date there are
another 2000 persons remaining in Choucha. Many of those did not receive
the refugee status and bewail numerous mistakes performed by UNHCR
during their procedures. Others received the refugee status, but were
refused to access the resettlement programme. Both affected groups
lament their increasingly precarious situation in the refugee camp. From
octobre 2012 on, rejected refugees are refused access to nutrition and
medical support. All refugees living in Choucha are furthermore
prohibited to move freely in Tunisia.
The refugee camp is supposed to be closed around june 2013. What will
happen to those without access to the resettlement programme remains
unclear. The UNHCR is not offering any solution whatsoever.
Engaging for a durable solution
For this reason, many refugees of Choucha camp got together, developed
common demands and decided to resist against their lack of prospects.
Their recent demands are for example a verification of rejected
asylum-cases, the resumption of supply for all of those remaining in
Choucha as well as an enlargement of the resettlement programme. Some
press conferences by supportive organisations as well as self organised
protests in Choucha served as a forum for those demands untill now.
Starting with the new year, many refugees of Choucha want to intensify
their protest. The detailed plans are still being discussed – it looms
though as if a lot of expenses and struggles are approaching the protesters.
To support this protest effectively, we want to start now with the
preparation of a publicity and support campaign for the protest of the
forgotten refugees of Choucha. And we especially look forward to your
Open letter to tunisian UNHCR
For a start, we are preparing an open letter to the Tunisian
representative of UNHCR, Mrs Ursula Schulze Aboubacar. This letter will
contain a critique of the humanitarian politics of ignorance, towards
the already expressed demands of the refugees. The central message of
the letter is, that we as european (and african?) activists and
organisations in the field of migration know about the situation of
those remaining in Choucha and to state clearly that we support the
refugees demands. It is obviously of major importance that as many
organisations and individuals as possible sign this letter! We will send
the letter to you on 28th of december – asking you to answer as fast as
possible – so that we can send out the letter, decorated with many
signitures on January 6th to Mrs Aboubacar.
Furthermore, there is supposed to be an international fax-campagin in
the first weeks of January. Everybody who is interested is then called
to indicate to their national UNHCR offices the situation of Choucha and
to show solidarity with the refugees demands! A prepared fax-letter,
which of course can also be handed over as a normal letter directly to
UNHCR representatives, will be send to you in the beginning of January
and will be found online. Here aswell, we ask you kindly to spread the
To make the protest in Tunisia possible, the refugees are dependent on
donations. For example there will be costs for transportation of the
participants, for food aswell as for publicity work – meaning
mobilephone-credit and internet-access. To spread call-outs for
donations widely, we are once again dependend on your support and your
Events, actions and publicity concerning Choucha
In January and February there will be discussion events on the topic of
Choucha, the UNHCR and the upcoming protests in several places.
Specifically there is an event planned in the end of January in
Frankfurt am Main aswell as another one in February in Berlin. If you
are interested in organising an event concerning Choucha in your town,
we will do our best to facilitate contributors!
Additionally, we will call out for solidarity actions at UNHCR offices
all over Europe, as soon as the protest in Tunisia started. We hope for
active participation and especially for your willingness to organise
such an action and mobilise for it in your local area!
Many things to be done!
We look forward to your participation and are on your disposal
concerning any questions!
Further information and voices from Choucha camp you can find here: