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 shortly about the situation in Choucha. We would kindly ask you to sign the open letter adressed to Ms Ursla Schulze Aboubacar, representative of UNHCR/Tunisia, that you find attached. This letter supports the protest of refugees in choucha, as we will explain in the next lines.
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 – but beginning the new year the protest is going to start.
We wrote an open letter to the Tunisian representative of UNHCR, Ms Ursula Schulze Aboubacar, which you find attached. This letter contains 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 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 need your signatures as fast as possible, because we are planning to send out the open letter to Ms Schulze Aboubacar in the first week of January.
As the protest has not started yet, this letter is not meant to be published in a wider range. Nevertheless, feel free to circulate it and the information within solidary circles.
In case you would like to further support the protest, please send us an e-mail. Also for further questions, contacts to the protesting refugees or other information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.