Right to the city - never mind the papers
We are people living in Hamburg. We are refugees struggling on a daily basis with the bad living situation in overcrowded and isolated camps, we are neighbors fighting against our displacement from overpriced neighborhoods, and we are activists recapturing our right to the city. We are organized refugees of the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg”. We are unionists who know that as wage-earners, we can only be strong if we unite with the wage-earners working under the poorest working conditions. We are students who cannot tolerate that quality education is only for rich people. We are people who cannot accept that inalienable human rights do not apply to our neighbors. We are fighting for solidarity in Hamburg and everywhere. We take care of each other and we will become stronger by uniting our struggles. We know that in this city there is enough room for everybody except for those people who try to take away our rights and to enrich themselves at our expense.
On February 15th, it is Election Day in Hamburg. Up for election is a SPD senate who thinks they did everything the right way. We disagree and accuse the senate of mistreating refugees in Hamburg. We will raise our voices and put as much pressure on the senate as we can to change their refugee policy.
“For one and a half years now, the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg” has been part of this city. We work here, we live here and we are organized. Our struggle for our right to stay is supported by thousands of people in Hamburg, but the senate ignores us.”
“We are refugees from countries from all over the world. We fled from wars, fought with German weapons, and from avoidable hunger and poverty. We live in containers and tents. Traumatized by our escape, we live in very close proximity to each other without privacy, appropriate medical treatment or simply a place to cook. Many people of Hamburg help us where they can, but the senate seems to be surprised by our arrival and pretends to do everything they can while doing almost nothing to improve our situation, although they got all the resources to do so. We are furious and every day, more and more people protest against this treatment.”
We work together - we fight together
In this city, we, who own German passports, work together with people for whom it is very difficult if not impossible to get a work permit. Many people are banned from working because they did not assist their own deportation. Many people are not allowed to work at all, or are only allowed to work if no one with a German passport wants to do this job. Other people are forced to work under poor working conditions because, if they do not work under these conditions, their right to stay will be revoked. Some people are not allowed to work because officially, they do not exist, like, for example, us from the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg” who have a right to stay in another country of the European Union but cannot make a living there because there are no jobs for us. We know that under these conditions, we are forced to get welfare payments or work illegally, where working conditions are poor, wages are low and labor laws do not exist. We do not want that. We do not want to be responsible for undermining minimum wages. We are forced to do that. We know that there is an actual need in Hamburg for migrant workers, for both skilled and unskilled labor. Many employers support and profit from the exploitation of unprotected illegal workers. On whose behalf does the senate act, when they accept this system of exploitation?
We just demand our human rights:
- the right to work and to professional training, irrespective of the legal status
- a work permit for everybody who lives in Hamburg
Right to humane living conditions
We, the people who have no papers, who are rejected because of our skin color or our name, who live in beat-up places for overpriced rent or who are not allowed to rent places at all, who are told to our faces “we do not rent to foreigners”, unite with the people who have been fighting for years against overpriced rents and the expulsion of poorer people to the outer districts of the city. We fight together with homeless people, not against them. We fight for our right to the city, knowing that the profits of real estate owners are more important in this city than the needs of the general public. Housing is an existential need and not merchandise for real estate owners. The senate says that they cannot do anything about that although the city owns the municipal housing development agency that can provide living space. They could also turn empty office spaces into living spaces.
- no housing in tents, containers, tents or ships but in flats for everybody
- change vacant places to living spaces
- more affordable housing
We are here to stay:
Many of us, who live and work in this city, are only tolerated officially. We have to apply every three to six months for an extension of this toleration. It is almost impossible for us to get permanent residency. The German government passed a new law which makes it even more complicated to become a permanent resident. We have to go through a long, nontransparent and unfair assessment of our request to get permanent residency, which usually ends with a demand to leave. Although the senate and the city of Hamburg have other legal options to handle our requests, they are not used. The result is that many of us become illegal, which means we are forced to live here without any social rights, excluded from many things that are self-evident for most people who live here, like for example medical treatment.
- access to medical care for everybody
- the right to stay for all people who live in Hamburg - it is possible!
- stop deportations now and forever
We are all part of this city. Our government and their legislation forces many of us to become illegal, to accept poor working conditions and denies us social rights. The senate forces people to live in tents, which is an outrage in a rich city like Hamburg. We know that they are lying to us when they say that they cannot change anything. They could influence federal legislation, they could improve living conditions and they could give a right to stay to all refugees. Lampedusa in Hamburg – they are here to stay. We know that the election will not improve the situation in general. That is why we have to act now. The struggle for a right to stay of the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg” showed to us that many people in Hamburg are discontented with the senate and would like to make everybody feel welcome in Hamburg. We will continue our fight for a right to stay for everybody, for better housing conditions and for political and social rights for everybody. Politicians of all parties should know that if they continue to deny rights to refugees, they will have to deal with massive social protests in Hamburg. We want to live in a city where all human beings have the same rights, never mind their legal status.
Sa, 31.1., 13 Uhr, Landungsbrücken, Hamburg
Arbeitskreis Hamburg Postkolonial, AStA der Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften, ASUIHA – African Survival in Hamburg, BDP Hamburg e.V., Bündnis Mietenwahnsinn stoppen, Café Exil, Café Knallhart, Dachverband autonomer Wohnprojekte Hamburg, DKP Hamburg, Einwohnerverein St. Georg von 1987 e.V., Fanclub “Frau Dörte Becker” des FC Sankt Pauli, Feministisches Institut Hamburg, Flüchtlingsrat Hamburg, Friday meeting of activists from and with Lampedusa in Hamburg, GEW Studis Hamburg, Gruppe für den organisierten Widerspruch, HAJe (Hamburgs Aktive Jurastudent_innen), Hamburger Bündnis gegen Rechts, Horst.AG, HVV umsonst!, Infoladen Wilhelmsburg, Interventionistische Linke Hamburg, Jugenddruck, kein mensch ist illegal Hamburg, Kontrabar, Lampedusa in Hamburg, Supporters of the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg”, Medibüro Hamburg, Mujeres sin fronteras, Notgemeinschaft Breite Straße, Organisierte Erzieher*innen i.d. Ausbildung, Projekt Revolutionäre Perspektive (PRP), Regenbogen/Alternative Linke Uni Hamburg, Rolf Becker, SAM, ver.di Jugend Hamburg, ver.di Perspektive U35 Hamburg, Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes – Bund der Antifaschistinnen und Antifaschisten (VVN-BdA) Hamburg, Verlag Assoziation A, vivanto, weltRAUM e.V., Wagengruppe Zomia, Wilhelmsburg supporters group, Willkommensinitiative “Refugees Welcome“ Harburg