On Friday the initiative „Welcome Frankfurt“ held a meeting with human rights organisations, supporters, press and other interested people.
This meeting was supposed to discuss the situation in the mass quarter for refugees, which we will call simply „Neckermann“, as it is the old store and office building of the catalog company Neckermann. This building is as huge to possibly place more than 2000 people, but the facilities are not suitable for such a mass quarter, as people were working and not living there.
Around 1600 refugees must stay in this quarter and wait for the handling of their asylum cases. According to the asylum package No. 1, which passed parliament end of last year, staying in such camps is possible up to 6 months.
The initiative „Welcome Frankfurt“ is against this law and against mass quartering of refugees. We think it is not possible to organise humane living conditions in this way, especially not for children. Now there are around 400 children in „Neckermann“.
As long as the children stay in this quarter they are not obliged to go to school, if they are in school age. Normally this is an obligation by law. But it seems that there is a special law for children whose families are refugees.
* The first demand of our initiative is to install an independent observary group for „Neckermann“. This seems to be needed in other refugee camps too, as supporters reported at the meeting.
Different NGOs and Human Rights Organisations like Pro Asyl, Hessischer Flüchtlingsrat, Kinderschutzbund show their willingness to support this demand.
*Also we demand a meeting point in the camps, so that resident population, migrants, refugees and all supporters can meet and talk openly about the existing problems and possible solutions. It is very important to break the isolation in the camps. Refugees in „Neckermann“ call the camp a prison. This situation must end.
*Furthermore we demand an independent counceling for refugees in the camp. They should have the possibility to get information on asylum law and procedures.
*Children must go to school. The United Nations Children‘s Rights Convention contains the right of every child to go to school. Even if the children are in camps just for a short time it is better for them to have a place like school where they can be among children, learn and play. This is also needed to disburden the parents for a while and to encourage parents to take care of their asylum case and other administrative duties.
This week the initiative „Welcome Frankfurt“ is invited by the provincial government of Hessen to visit the camp. We are planning to go to the camp on thursday.
Step by step – pracitical solidarity will hopefully show results.