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Auftaktveranstaltung Bündnis Menschenrecht_Plakat

„Solidariity in the crisis?“

Kick-off event of the alliance „human rights without borders “

The kick-off event to the day of human rights was a presence event on 18th November in the Faust Warenannahme.

  Jürgen Castendyk | 04.12.2020

The event was live, but of course with a limited number of participants and under strict hygiene regulations. The employees of Faust designed the stage and the room to be inviting for the participants.

Kathrin Apelt, at kargah e. V. ,responsible for culture and Jutta Meyer-Wiedenbach from the society Janusz Korczak - humanitäre Flüchtlingshilfe greeted the participants and gave tips about the whole alliance to the yearly day of human rights on 10th December (Link).

Hanna Legatis, actress and former editor at NDR, Funkhaus Hannover, took over the moderation of the panel discussion - as always competent and committed. As guests on the podium she welcomed: Johanna Joachim, medical student from Hanover and helper in the refugee camp on Samos, Joanna Mechnich, employee of the Lower Saxony state center for political education, Thomas Jatzkowski, author, social city guide and distributor of the magazine “Asphalt” and Sepehr Sardar Amiri , Local politician (CDU) in Sehnde, Hanover region, and founder of Corona aid initiatives in his community.

In order to make the course of the panel discussion legible, the various statements of the discussants are summarized:

Johanna Joachim: "You came to Europe full of hope and are disappointed every day."

Over 8,000 refugees live in a tent camp on the Greek island of Samos. It was built for 2,500 refugees. Joachim described the situation in the camp. The refugees have to wait in line for hours to eat; also in front of toilets and showers. The schools set up by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are closed due to Corona. Likewise the makeshift hospital. There used to be 20 doctors from NGOs. Now there are only a few due to Corona. What is left is a small outpatient clinic without the necessary medical equipment. Joachim called it basic medicine. The sick report briefly on their complaints. A doctor will listen to this, take a quick look at the patient and distribute medication. There is no more time. The line of people waiting is long. Due to the miserable hygienic conditions, many refugees have scabies on their skin. The traumas suffered in the countries of origin and on the run and the lack of prospects in the camp lead to mental illnesses with somatic consequences. You cannot be treated. The suicide rate is high. The young people who have fled alone lack support from their families. Without schools and leisure activities, the propensity for violence increases. Children are more likely to adapt and make toys for themselves. However, there are also children who are unable or unwilling to speak due to traumatic experiences. When Legatis asked whether she would help again in the camp on Samos despite the catastrophic conditions, Joachim said clearly: "Yes, I would fly back out of solidarity."

Joanna Mechnich: „We want to make politics understandable .“

The Lower Saxony Central for Political Education is under control of CDU led Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur.

The state headquarters operates throughout Lower Saxony and offers a variety of seminars on political topics. "We want to get people excited about democracy," said Mechnich. That is part of the mission statement of the state headquarters. This also includes topics that come from people's lives, but which at first glance are not seen as political. When asked about the increasing discrimination against immigrants, Mechnich pointed out that during the first Corona wave, people from Asian countries were increasingly exposed to racist attacks, including in Hanover. There are still people who believed the virus came from Asia. But there are also structural problems. The police use racial profiling to increasingly control suspicious people based on external characteristics. That is not acceptable. Mechnich made it clear that the state headquarters would address all forms of racism in its seminars and emphasize the importance of solidarity.

The municipality of Sehnde has 25 thousand inhabitants. Since there was a lack of volunteer workers for the Tafel due to Corona, Amiri began to win over young people who were willing to help risk groups through home visits and via social media. 100 helpful citizens came together. This created a wave of solidarity. Amiri gave examples: Shopping for elderly people and their dogs “walking”. The collection of used laptops for students who have to study at home but had no end devices; Enable tutoring and visits to grandparents whose relatives were unable to visit them. “This solidarity is perhaps more possible in small communities because you know each other through close neighbourhoods, clubs and school attendance together. And after a year the willingness to help still continues, ”explained Amiri.

Thomas Jatzkowski: "The homeless are afraid of winter."

After the first corona wave, solidarity with the homeless would have waned, regretted Jatzkowski. In the second wave, the fear of getting infected would have grown. The homeless are considered a high risk group. But so far there have been no cases of corona. Nevertheless, the number of suicides has risen. "The situation of the homeless has always been dire," Jatzkowski emphasized, "but now there is panic." Winter would come and the city would have closed the Naturfreundehaus in Eilenriede and homeless people could no longer stay overnight in the youth hostel for free. There is simply a lack of urban funding. Two homeless people officially died from the cold last winter. Unofficially, there would have been 22 deaths from cold. The city provides 250 emergency sleeping places. And that for 800 homeless people. They could not understand: refugees would be housed, poor people like them would not. Gentrification would also result in fewer and fewer social housing. Homeless people wouldn't have a chance to get one. "Yes, solidarity is in crisis," said Jatzkowski. More education about the situation of the homeless is necessary and, above all, quick action by those politically responsible.

Sepehr Sardar Amiri: "There was a wave of solidarity in Sehnde."

The municipality of Sehnde has 25 thousand inhabitants. Since there was a lack of volunteer workers for the Tafel due to Corona, Amiri began to win over young people who were willing to help risk groups through home visits and via social media. 100 helpful citizens came together. This created a wave of solidarity. Amiri gave examples: Shopping for elderly people and their dogs “walking”. The collection of used laptops for students who have to study at home but had no end devices; Enable tutoring and visits to grandparents whose relatives were unable to visit them. “This solidarity is perhaps more possible in small communities because you know each other through close neighborhoods, clubs and school attendance together. And after a year the willingness to help still continues, ”explained Amiri.

Closing discussion

The questions from the audience and based on questions in the e-mails that were sent dealt with fundamental problems: Is charity possible without religion? Is the consistently high level of acceptance of the corona regulations a sign of an authority-fixated character in the population? Are restrictions on fundamental rights in favor of protection against health risks legitimate and how long can they apply? Are stricter requirements also justifiable at Christmas? Should we donate vaccine doses to risk groups in the poor south? Is solidarity also possible by renouncing consumption and human encounters?

Due to time constraints, the questions of the discussants on the podium could only be answered in key words. At the end there was lively applause. The opening event for Human Rights Day was a success.

Welt-in-Hannover.de bedankt sich herzlich für die tolle Unterstützung bei den vielen ehrenamtlichen Helferinnen und Helfern, sowie zahlreichen Organisationen und hofft auf weitere gute Zusammenarbeit.

Schirmherrin des Projekts Welt-in-Hannover.de ist Frau Doris Schröder-Köpf, Landesbeauftragte für Migration und Teilhabe.

kargah e. V. - Verein für interkulturelle Kommunikation, Migrations- und Flüchtlingsarbeit    Kulturzentrum Faust e. V.    Landeshauptstadt Hannover