Protest camp at BER wants to prevent deportation center: “Migration is brutal”

Rex Osa takes care of refugees who have been deported to Nigeria.

Rex Osa takes care of refugees who have been deported to Nigeria.Maria Haussler

It’s so crowded that the people at the back can’t even sit in the tent, but have to stand in front of the entrance to listen. They listened intently to a lecture on “Soli-Asyl”, which means offering a room to someone who is threatened with deportation. Behind them, people sit on the lawn and eat, wash up, brush their teeth or disappear into one of the composting toilets.

Around 500 activists came to the “Stop Deportation Camp” in Kiekebusch near BER Airport this Saturday. “We are bursting at the seams,” says Amy Amoakuh, spokeswoman for the “Prevent deportation center at BER” ​​initiative, which helped organize the protest camp.

Many other organizations are taking part in the campaign, including “You are no security!” and “No Border Assembly”. The participants are here from June 2nd to 6th to network and learn from each other. The common goal: to avert the construction of the planned entry and exit center at Terminal 5.

In addition to a functional and judiciary building, a detention and transit building for 120 inmates is to be built here by 2026. In addition, a repatriation building for processing deportations. The Federal Police and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) are to move in as long-term subtenants. Because all authorities are in one place, fast-track procedures should be able to be handled more efficiently. Pro Asyl describes this as “highly problematic under the rule of law”.

The building will be built by an investor, and the state of Brandenburg will then rent it. The budget provides for rents of 315 million euros from 2026. Research by rbb and “Ask the State” has shown that the decision to rent this model was made because otherwise the former left-wing state finance minister Christian Görke would have prevented construction.

The authorities wanted to prevent the camp

“Because of these circumstances, we also see the possibility of preventing the deportation center,” says Amoakuh. She has to speak loudly because of a plane that is about to land near the camp. The activist is convinced that the government will plan to carry out more deportations in the future.

She sees the migration packages that the traffic light has launched as a plan to enable regular migration of trained people and at the same time to limit irregular migration more strongly. “Asylum procedures should increasingly take place at the external borders in the future,” says Amoakuh. She fears that the deportation center in Berlin could serve as a model for other places in Europe where deportations are handled on a larger scale.

The assembly authority of the Brandenburg police had rejected the first location for the camp due to ammunition contamination in the ground. After the second area was also not to be approved due to concerns about nature conservation, the organizers complained and won the case before the Higher Regional Administrative Court. A festival is to take place at the same location a few months later and quad tours can also be booked here, says Amoakuh.

The blue and white color of the information tent is reminiscent of the refugee protests on Oranienplatz.

The blue and white color of the information tent is reminiscent of the refugee protests on Oranienplatz.Maria Haussler

It leads through the camp: there are solar cells on a meadow, a woman transports used dishwater in a bicycle trailer and banners are hanging on some tents with the demand to stop the deportation practice.

The mood is relaxed. People with piercings, buttons and brightly colored hair stroll through the campsite, many of whom are not white. A woman laughs as the car drives past the three police cars parked not far from the camp – a lot of presence for little rioting. Actions of civil disobedience are not planned, says Amoakuh, under certain circumstances this could jeopardize the right to stay of the refugees who are among them and are threatened with deportation.

Create an open space

Activist Rex Osa from Stuttgart thinks there are still too few refugees in the camp. “That’s missing,” he says. “I was at my first camp just for fun: free food and making friends.” It’s about creating an open space in which awareness of the issues arises. He describes this place as a “powerhouse” where members of the various organizations meet again after a long time and start again after the exchange. “It’s actually a place for me,” he says. “But I can’t sleep here because of my pollen allergy.”

The activist is involved in his country of origin Nigeria, among other things, takes care of deported people after their arrival and explains “how brutal migration is”. Everyone has the right to migrate, but he wants to prepare people for what could come their way. “Seventy percent are traumatized after the flight, many become mentally ill,” he says.

The twin siblings (centre) were about to graduate from high school.  Then they were deported to Nigeria with their siblings.

The twin siblings (centre) were about to graduate from high school. Then they were deported to Nigeria with their siblings.Refugees for refugees

50-year-old Rex Osa opens his soda with his teeth, he talks at length about the asylum system and less about his own experience. He too was threatened with deportation for three and a half years until he denied permanent residence in the second asylum procedure. He gets the minimum income for his activist work at Refugees for Refugees from the “Movement Foundation”.

Osa was recently in the capital Lagos and organized a shelter for a family: four children and their mother were deported from Kempten. Osa pulls out his cell phone and shows photos and videos of four young people and their mother. The twins Viktor and Viktoria are 17 years old, he says, and they are about to graduate from school. All four children were born in Germany. “Nigeria is a foreign country to them,” he says. Refugees often arrive in Lagos at night, and then they sleep on the streets without a clue, Osa says. He wants to do something about it. Also with his work here in the camp.

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