Date: Thursday, 29 November 2018
In October, 13 Eritrean refugees were brought from Libya to Munich. Four of them talk about the conditions in the camps, the flight and their wishes for the future.
When the conversation comes to the conditions in the internment camps in Libya, it feels in one fell swoop, five degrees colder in the room. "We lived like animals," says Filmon Tesfamichael, a cap with the umbrella on his head. 40people would have had to sleep there in confined space, food was given only once a day, humiliation and violence had been the order of the day, "everything that is bad, we have seen". Then he is silent, the other three are looking at the ground. "We have no words to explain that," says Filmon Tesfamichael.
An interpreter translated from the Tigrin, the mother tongue of the four young Eritreans, two men and two women sitting in the small office space of "Save me", a project of the Munich Refugee Council. A lifebuoy hangs above the door, a piece of paper on a wall that someone wrote: "Make Resettlement Great Again". Resettlement means resettlement, the United Nations program is about creating safe and legal escape routes for particularly vulnerable refugees. People like Filmon Tesfamichael, 25 , Biniam Abraha, 26 , Meron Mebrahtom, 20 , and Simret Kifle, 21 . In part, they spent two years in the camps in Libya.
Nina Klofac leads the project "Save me". Help for resettlement refugees often ends with their arrival, she complains.(Photo: Robert Haas)
It is currently being talked about the terrible conditions that prevail there. Tens of thousands of people have been detained for years, abused, tortured, raped and even sold as slaves. "Sheer horror and caprice" was stated by the United Nations in its latest report on the camps.
In July, the Federal Ministry of the Interior ordered the admission of up to 300people, who were initially transferred from Libya to Niger. At 15 . On 24 October, 247 refugees arrived in Germany. From a collective housing in Lower Saxony, they were distributed to the municipalities, 13 landed in Munich, including the four, who now sit at "Save me", together with the project manager Nina Klofac. Since her arrival a month ago, Klofac is the most important person for her. Again and again, they emphasize how grateful they are to her and her colleagues. On this day they came to the classification for the language course.
"Hinterbärenbadstraße" they can all already pronounce, there, in Sendling, is the dormitory of the government of Upper Bavaria, where they are housed. All four attended school in Eritrea up to the eleventh grade. Filmon Tesfamichael has already studied mechanical engineering for three years. He left Eritrea in 2017 and came to Libya via Sudan. "We knew how the conditions are there," he says, "but we had no choice." In Eritrea there is no freedom, no future. His compatriot Biniam Abraha has already left the country in 2011 , years later he started an attempt to escape in a boat from Libya. They were on the road for four hours before the Coast Guard stopped them.
And then there are the two young women, who would easily go over as teenagers. In fact, Meron Mebrahtom was not even of age, Simret Kifle just as they left their parents' home and their country in 2015 . In Eritrea, she has already started to learn the profession of hairdressing, says Meron Mebrahtom, she could imagine that in Germany. "But of course I want to learn the language first." They can hardly wait for their course to start, but probably it will not be that long before January. Simret Kifle wants to be a pharmacist, she was always interested in that. And she is happy that her fiancé comes to Munich at the end of December with the resettlement program.
After all, Nina Klofac and her colleagues already know the date. Often, they would be informed shortly before when the refugees arrive, she says. Just like last year, when 36 people arrived three days before Christmas . In 2008 , the campaign "Save me", which depends on donations for its work, gave the starting signal from Munich for Germany to participate in the United Nations Resettlement Program. In 2018 and 2019 with the admission of 10 200 people, most of them Syrians, who come in the course of the EU-Turkey deal. 24Refugees from this contingent have so far come to Munich. Nina Klofac complains that help in many places often ends with the arrival and people are then left to themselves or the help of volunteers - especially in smaller communities. There are no projects like "Save me", whose staff accompany the refugees, put them in front of sponsors, fill in applications, get tickets and organize language courses.
The prerequisites for integration with the resettlement refugees are actually best, says Nina Klofac. You do not have to go through an asylum procedure, you have a safe residence permit for three years and theoretically you are allowed to work immediately. The family reunion is also relieved, Filmon Tesfamichael and Biniam Abraha, for example, want to catch up with their wife. However, this special form of migration and the rights of these refugees are often barely known to authorities and authorities in Bavaria, according to Klofac. "There would have to happen much more from the state side, for example, a clearly defined contact point would have to be created," she says. Migration advice centers would need to be trained accordingly. She hopes that the city of Munich will do what it has thanks to "Save me":