Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Conspiracy to Divide Bolivia Must Be Denounced

The process of changes in favor of the Bolivian majority is at risk of being brutally restrained. The rise to power of an Indigenous president with unprecedented support in that country and his programs of popular benefits and recovery of the natural resources have had to face the conspiracies of the oligarchy and United States interference from the very beginning.

In recent days the increase in conspiracy has reached its climax. The subversive and unconstitutional actions of the oligarchic groups to try to divide the Bolivian nation reflect the racist and elitist minds of these sectors and constitute a very dangerous precedent not only for the country’s integrity, but for other countries in our region.

History shows with ample eloquence, the terrible consequences that the divisionary and separatist processes supported and induced by foreign interests have had for humanity.

Faced with this situation the signers below would like to express their support for the government of Evo Morales Ayma, for his policies for change and for the sovereign constituent process of the Bolivian people. At the same time we reject the so-called Santa Cruz Autonomy Statute due to its unconstitutionality and the attempt against the unity of a nation of our America.

Please sign the petition in support of the Bolivian government HERE

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tibet – the background: from brutal theocracy to socialist liberation to capitalist nightmare

7 April 2008. A World to Win News Service. The following abridged article is from the 6 April, 2008 issue of Revolution, voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.

The communist revolution led by Mao Tsetung liberated China in 1949. Before this, Tibet (located in the remote, far western part of China) was ruled by a feudal Buddhist theocracy – headed by the Dalai Lama – that brutally exploited and suppressed the people. Most land suitable for farming was owned by high-ranking lamas (Buddhist clerics) and non-Lamaist aristocracy. Fewer than 700 of these top monks and other secular feudal lords controlled 93 percent of the land and wealth.

Most of the people in Tibet’s rural areas were serfs who were bonded [made servants] for life to the top monks and secular aristocracy. The feudal owners dictated what crops the serfs could grow, and then took most of the harvested grain while driving the peasants ever deeper into debt. They demanded unpaid forced labour from the serfs and subjected them to onerous taxes, like taxes on newborn children. Girls were often taken from serf families to serve as servants for the aristocrats, and many boys were forced into monasteries to be trained as monks. (Accounts of pre-1949 Tibet can be found, among other works, in A. Tom Grunfeld, The Making of Modern Tibet, M.E. Sharpe, 1996; Anna Louise Strong, Tibetan Interviews, Peking New World Press, 1929; Michael Parenti, “Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth,” July 7, 2003,

About five percent of Tibetans were outright slaves (mainly domestic servants) who had no right to grow anything for themselves and who were often worked or beaten to death. The lower-level monks (about a tenth of the population) were also basically slaves, bound to the monasteries and forced to serve the high-ranking lamas.

The feudal lords enforced the social order with their small professional army and armed gangs. Any non-compliance, let alone open resistance, was met with sadistic punishment that included torture and mutilation, such as gouging out of eyes.

The reactionary ideology of Lamaism, the form of Buddhism in Tibet, was key in this whole set-up. Central to Lamaism is the belief that humans have a soul that is born and reborn many times (reincarnation), and that a person’s position in the world has been predetermined by what he/she did in a previous life (karma). Being born a woman, for example, was considered punishment for sinful behaviour in the past life. Such religious untrue myths and superstitions were used by the rulers to justify extreme oppression and to keep the masses of people resigned to their situation.

The victory of the revolution led by Mao in 1949 brought a new day to China. The U.S. and other imperialists quickly moved to try to crush this revolution. By 1950, for example, U.S. invasion forces had landed in Korea and were moving toward the Chinese border.

The Maoists aimed to bring Tibet (and other remote regions of China) into the revolutionary process – to transform the oppressive relations there, and to prevent imperialist intrigue and intervention on China’s borders. In 1951, China’s revolutionary state signed a treaty with Tibet’s rulers, and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) marched peacefully into Lhasa, the Tibetan capital. Under the agreement, there was self-government for Tibet under the Dalai Lama, while the central government controlled military and foreign affairs (like in other national minority autonomous areas) and could promote social reforms. The monastic properties remained intact and the feudal lords continued to dominate the peasants. But usury was abolished, roads and hospitals were built, and a secular school system began to take root. (Felix Greene, A Curtain of Ignorance, Doubleday, 1961; Pradyumna P. Karan, The Changing Face of Tibet: The Impact of Chinese Communist Ideology on the Landscape, University Press of Kentucky, 1976)

In 1956-57, feudal landowners – backed by the CIA – organized armed revolts. This was part of the intensifying imperialist encirclement of and pressures on the People’s Republic of China. In 1959 armed monks and Tibetan soldiers launched a full-scale counter-revolutionary uprising, which had little support among the people and crumbled fairly quickly. The Dalai Lama escaped to India in a CIA covert operation, taking with him enormous wealth that represented the blood of oppressed people. Large sections of the top clergy and feudal aristocracy followed him into exile. (Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison, The CIA’s Secret War in Tibet, University of Kansas Press, 2002; Richard M. Bennett, “Tibet, the ‘great game’ and the CIA,” Asia Times, 25 March, 2008)

A new phase of radical and sweeping changes followed. There were mass meetings and mobilizations of peasants, with women taking an active role. Slavery and unpaid serf labour were abolished. Large tracts of land controlled by the feudal owners were distributed to former serfs and landless peasants. Roads, schools, the medical system, and other infrastructure were further built up. There was new freedom to not believe in mind-enslaving religious dogma. (Felix Greene, A Curtain of Ignorance, Doubleday, 1961; Grunfeld, The Making of Modern Tibet)

Beginning in the mid-1960s, momentous upheavals rocked all of China – the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Revisionist (phoney “communist”) forces right within the Communist Party had seized key positions of power and were threatening to bring capitalism back to China. Mao’s answer was a revolution within the revolution – he called on the masses in the hundreds of millions to seize power back from the capitalist-roaders and in the process further revolutionize society.

The Cultural Revolution brought profound changes to Tibet. Agricultural communes were organized, irrigation projects were undertaken, and food production was expanded. “Barefoot doctors” – medical workers trained from among the masses – brought regular health care to many rural areas for the first time. Half the barefoot doctors were women, previously forbidden under Buddhist doctrine to practise medicine. Literacy and basic scientific knowledge were spread among the people, and ideological struggle was waged against feudal customs and values.

There is much distortion spread by various forces about “cultural genocide” in Tibet during the Cultural Revolution. One charge levelled against the Cultural Revolution is that Mao ordered the large-scale desecration and destruction by Han Chinese Red Guards. But the truth of the matter is different. While there was destruction of monasteries and shrines, this was largely carried out by native Tibetan activists and Red Guard youth, not (as often alleged) by “invading” non-Tibetan Red Guards. (Mobo Gao, The Battle for China’s Past, Pluto, 2008) While there were excesses, it is important to understand this in the context of the larger struggle against the past and continuing influence of the reactionary Lamaist superstitions and their symbols, as well as the remaining wealth of the feudal masters in the form of monastic holdings. And there were attempts to rein in some of these kinds of excesses by the Maoist forces.

The revolutionary forces were confronted with a complex contradiction. On the one hand there was the right of minority nationalities, like the Tibetans, to their national culture. But in Tibet, this culture was very closely intertwined with the Lamaist religion, which was a heavy chain on the people. There is much more to be learned about how the Maoists handled this contradiction, and there is need to further synthesize what was done right and what mistakes were made in order to do better with contradictions like this in future socialist societies. What can be said is that the Maoist forces waged struggle against Han (the majority nationality in China) chauvinism and for equality among the various nationalities and cultures. At the same time, they led the struggle against the “four olds” – the old ideas, customs, culture, and habits of the reactionary feudal society. There was a blossoming of Tibetan culture during the Cultural Revolution: a single Tibetan dialect was promoted; Tibetan typewriters were developed; traditional Tibetan medicine was studied; there was research into Tibetan history. By 1975, half the top leaders in Tibet were native Tibetans.

The standard claim spread from “Free Tibet” organizations is that 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed since 1950, and especially during the Cultural Revolution. Writing in a New York Times Op-ed, Patrick French, former head of the pro-Dalai Lama group Free Tibet Campaign, said that after extensive research, he “found that there was no evidence to support that figure.” And contrary to claims about forced sterilization in Tibet during the Mao years, the actual policy was that there was education about family planning and that birth control was made available on a voluntary basis. There was recognition of the particular situation of minority nationality areas, which had suffered much greater infant mortality rates and epidemic diseases than Han areas. Tibet’s population – which had been markedly declining before liberation – seems to have increased during the Mao years. (Han Suyin, Lhasa, the Open City – A Journey to Tibet, Putnam, 1977; China Reconstructs, “Tibet – From Serfdom to Socialism,” March 1976; Peking Review, “Tibet’s Big Leap – No Return to the Old System,” July 4, 1975)

The death of Mao in 1976 brought another big change in China – this time, a giant reactionary leap backward. The revisionists seized power through a coup and restored capitalism to China – even as they continued to call themselves “communist” and claimed that China was still “socialist.” In Tibet, as throughout China, the capitalist rulers have dismantled collective farming and other socialist relations and institutions. Polarization has intensified throughout society – between rich and poor, between urban and rural areas, between men and women, and so on. Semi-feudal agriculture has re-emerged along with capitalism linked to international capital. Development of mining and timber industries has led to devastating ecological consequences. And there has been an uncorking of Han chauvinism, as the capitalist rulers and their government have moved to step up domination of Tibet and other minority areas.

The protests in Tibet and the discontent below

7 April 2008. A World to Win News Service.
Protests in London and Paris and expected actions in San Francisco against China’s treatment of Tibet have kept attention focused on this issue. In reaction, in a BBC interview international law professor and upcoming UN Human Rights Commission investigator Richard Falk pointed out that criticism of China in regard to Tibet and Darfur is considered acceptable, while criticism of Israel for its collective punishment of the population of Gaza is not. It is probably more than coincidence that at the same moment when France’s president Nicholas Sarkozy stepped into the lead in lashing out at China, he announced that he would send more troops to help the U.S occupy Afghanistan. And where is the clamour from most officially-recognized guardians of human rights for Western streets to shake with protests against what is undoubtedly the world’s biggest human rights violation today, the occupation of Iraq? Yet despite this pro-imperialist selectivity, China’s actions in Tibet do demand protest. The Chinese government’s unjust and oppressive policies reflect the criminal and capitalist nature of those who overthrew socialism and sold that country to the global imperialist system, a subject that demands clarity.

The following is abridged from an article signed by Li Onesto in the 6 April 2008 issue of Revolution, voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. ( Also see the accompanying background article.

Starting 14 March, days of protests and rebellion broke out in Tibet against the reactionary Chinese government. It is difficult to get reliable news about these developments because most reports are from the Chinese government or unverified individual accounts. But this appears to be the biggest outbreak of anti-government protests in Tibet in 20 years.

This conflict in Tibet is very complex, involving different class forces and interests and different political forces, including religious reactionary groups tied to U.S. imperialism.

On the one hand this struggle is about the national oppression of the Tibetan people by a regime that calls itself “socialist” and “communist” – which it is not. The Chinese government is reactionary and capitalist. On the other hand, this struggle is taking place against a bigger international backdrop. The United States is aggressively setting out to extend and tighten the global dominance of U.S. imperialism. And Tibet is in a geostrategically important region of the world where there are big stakes for the U.S. in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. The U.S. has a long history of backing reactionary forces in Tibet – the CIA has worked with and directly supported the Dalai Lama. And today, sections of the U.S. ruling class are championing the Dalai Lama and using his movement to try and pressure, destabilize, and even tear China apart because they consider it a long-term strategic, economic, political, and military rival to U.S. global power. Attempts by U.S. imperialism to interfere in Tibet must be opposed.

The Tibetan people are an ethnic minority in China that is oppressed by the capitalist system in China – and this oppression has greatly intensified in recent years. To understand this, it is first of all important to understand that the history of Tibet (officially designated as the Tibetan Autonomous Region) is not, as most mainstream news reports would have us believe, one unbroken history where the Tibetan people have faced the same government since 1949.

There are basically three distinct stages in the modern history of Tibet. Before 1949 Tibet was not, as is sometimes portrayed, a Shangri-la of harmony and peace. It was a brutal theocracy where Buddhist doctrine reinforced class order and social oppression. From 1951-1976, with the victory of the Chinese communist revolution, Tibet became part of the revolutionary process of building socialism with sweeping and liberating economic and social changes. Then since 1976, with the restoration of capitalism in China, the Tibetan people have been subjected to exploitation, subjugation as a people, and suppression of their culture and fast-paced capitalist development that threatens the environment. While the Chinese government is repressing Buddhist religious forces (including reactionary theocratic supporters of the Dalai Lama who are tied to U.S. imperialism), this is part of and in the context of the larger, overall national oppression and suppression the Tibetan people face.

A lot of what people in the United States know and think about Tibet comes from what they have read in the news about the Dalai Lama. And a lot of people see the Dalai Lama as a symbol of “peace and non-violence”. But in reality, the Dalai Lama and his family were feudal owners and oppressors in Tibet. And since he fled Tibet in 1959 he has been the religious leader of a pro-U.S., pro-imperialist movement among exiled Tibetans. His vision for Tibet today is one that straddles the fence between accommodation with the Chinese regime (and its programme of capitalist development); and more direct integration of Tibet into the designs of western, particularly U.S., imperialism.

The main character and contours of these protests are hard to determine at this point because of the difficulty in getting reliable reports. But some things can be said at this point about the different class forces that are a part of this upsurge.

Support for the Dalai Lama and the issue of religious freedom is only one factor in the current upheaval in Tibet. There is real repression of those who support the Dalai Lama and call for independence. For example, Tibetan government employees are reportedly pressured (or even required) to denounce the Dalai Lama, and it is illegal to fly the Tibetan flag. As a part of the overall oppression of the Tibetan people, there is certainly suppression of Tibetan Buddhist religion and Tibetan culture. And the different religious and independence forces, which include those who support the Dalai Lama, have clearly been a big part of those who have been protesting. But what is not mainly covered in the mainstream press, and what is not so immediately apparent, is that there are bigger and deeper economic and political issues that are giving rise to the massive, widespread discontent in Tibet, now erupting into violent confrontations with the Chinese government forces.

The crowds of angry Tibetans, which included unemployed youth, attacked and burned symbols of capitalist development, like a branch of the Bank of China. They targeted hotels and other facilities that cater to tourists. And they also targeted Han and Hui Chinese shopkeepers, which can seem like the most visible and immediate reflection of the discrimination Tibetans face. The Han Chinese are the majority people in China, and the Hui are Muslim Chinese who also play a prominent role in Tibetan commercial life. And over the last two decades, and especially in the last few years, Han and Hui Chinese have been coming into Tibet as a key part of building up a capitalist economic infrastructure and social structure in which the Tibetan people are highly discriminated against. And the more than a million tourists a year who come to Tibet are mainly Han Chinese.

In Tibet and the neighbouring provinces of Qinghai, Gansu, and Sichuan, the Tibetan people intersect with and live near the thousands of Han people who have been moving in, enticed by a wave of state-driven investment and state subsidies for capitalist ventures. But there are two separate and unequal worlds – where many Han have blatant disdain and distrust for Tibetans, who they consider inferior. And among the Tibetan people there are deep feelings of resentment and anger against the oppression and subjugation they face. Privilege and power in Tibet is overwhelmingly the preserve of the Han, and a lot of businesses are owned by Han and Hui Chinese. Meanwhile the masses of Tibetans are subjected to discrimination, treated as inferior, and largely confined to poor districts in the cities and impoverished villages in the rural areas.

Capitalist China, even as it is dependent upon and subordinate to imperialism, has regional and larger world ambitions. And the program of the Chinese government for Tibet is in line with the economic and social programme being implemented throughout the whole country – fast-paced capitalist “modernization.”

For the masses of Tibetan people, as with the masses of people throughout China, this means increased exploitation and misery. And it means a widening gap between rich and poor, haves and have-nots. The restoration of capitalism has been and continues to be a nightmare for the masses of people living in China, including and especially for oppressed nationalities like the Tibetan people. It will take nothing less than another revolution and the establishment of a genuine socialist society to liberate all the people living in China.

There are many dimensions to how capitalist exploitation and oppression, along with national oppression, is taking place in Tibet. But one thing that illustrates this very sharply is the much-celebrated railroad that now links Tibet to the rest of China. This railway, completed in 2006 at a cost of $4.1 billion, was touted as vital to developing the Tibetan economy. There were hopes among the Tibetan people that this would bring jobs, lower prices for consumer goods, and a higher standard of living. But in fact, unemployment among Tibetans remains very high – as is generally the case, most new jobs (or at least the good ones) went to Han Chinese. There has been little improvement for the majority of the Tibetan people who mainly live in the rural areas. Reckless economic development in the area is also intensifying threats to the environment. As a number of analysts have pointed out, along with all this has come the usual and unbridled corruption among government officials and businessmen.

A big part of the reason for building the railway is that the central government, with an eye towards developing cheap sources of raw materials for a profit-driven development, wants to create a more efficient transport system to be able to extract and transport the rich deposits of copper, iron, lead and other minerals in the large unspoiled Tibetan highlands.

In the past, mining in Tibet was largely carried out on a small scale by world standards. But Chinese metal and processing industries are now operating according to competitive world scale standards and are looking to world markets and importing vast quantities of minerals. Gabriel Laffitte is a development consultant who works with reactionary Tibetan exiles around the Dalai Lama who support capitalist development. But an article he wrote about the mining industry in Tibet is revealing. He says: “Chinese steel mills and copper smelters, in deciding whether to locate a mine and perhaps a smelter as well, in Tibet, will make their choice by comparing costs of extraction from Tibet with the costs of a similar plant in Brazil or Canada or Australia or Orissa... Tibetan mineral deposits that until now seemed too distant, expensive and complicated for China’s largely coastal metal manufacturers, may now be profitable, due to the worldwide price rises and shortages of energy and minerals.” (“China’s 100 billion spending spree in Tibet,” Tibetan Bulletin, January-April 2007, available at

The development of mining is only one snapshot of the kinds of interests and demands that globalized capitalism are imposing and that are setting the terms for investment in Tibet – and driving and shaping economic development. In addition, the central government is pushing tourism as a major component of profit-based development in Tibet. And here too, the results are harmful to the Tibetan people, with industry that caters to non-Tibetans and a lot of development focused in the city. All of this contributes to greater inequalities, like between city and countryside and between those working in the cities and peasants in the poor countryside.

For the Tibetan people, all this has meant a deepening of super-exploitation, inequality, and discrimination. And this is giving rise to profound discontent and anger that has erupted in the streets.

Help Cuneyt Ertus!

Fifteen-year-old Cuneyt Ertus was arrested by police after Newroz (New Year) demonstrations on 22 March in the south-eastern city of Hakkari. He was apparently ill-treated during and after his arrest and is currently being held on remand at Bitlis Prison. He has been charged with offences including resisting arrest and making propaganda for a terrorist organization.

Television footage apparently shows plainclothes police officers injuring Cuneyt Ertus' arm while he was under their control and not resisting arrest [] Amnesty International is calling for Cuneyt Ertus to be given an urgent independent medical examination and appropriate treatment.

This call follows official medical reports which have apparently not found his arm to be seriously injured. Concerns for his health are heightened by reports that after he was taken into police custody, Cuneyt Ertus was allegedly punched, slapped and verbally abused by police officers.


Newroz (Kurdish)/ Nevruz (Turkish) is the traditional festival of New Year in the Persian calendar which celebrates the arrival of spring at the March 21 equinox and which is celebrated especially by the Kurdish community in Turkey.

Violent protests occurred in the south-eastern cities of Hakkari, Siirt, Van, and Yuksekova after local authorities refused to permit traditional Newroz celebrations. There were widespread allegations of the use of excessive force and ill-treatment by police officers in demonstrations that left three people dead. A large number of people, including some police officers were also
reportedly injured during the demonstrations. In other cities where permission was granted, demonstrations took place without incident.

Under international law it is the duty of the Turkish authorities to ensure that the policing of demonstrations is carried out in a manner that complies with the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment and international standards on the use of force. Article 3 of the United Nations (UN) Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (UN Code of Conduct) states that: "Law enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty".

Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English or your own language:

- urging the Turkish authorities to ensure that Cuneyt Ertus has access to an independent medical examination and can access appropriate medical treatment;

- calling for a prompt, impartial and effective investigation into claims that Cuneyt Ertus was ill-treated by police officers during and after his arrest and for those responsible to be brought to justice;

- acknowledging that governments have the right and responsibility to prosecute those suspected of a recognizably criminal offence but reminding the authorities of their obligation to uphold the absolute prohibition of the use of torture and other ill-treatment under the Convention against Torture and their obligations to under the Convention of the Rights of the Child which apply to Cuneyt Ertus who is a minor under national and international law;

- calling for demonstrations to be policed within the confines of international law and as such for force only to be used where strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.


Minister of the Interior:
Mr Besir Atalay
Ministry of the Interior
Içisleri Bakanligi
06644 Ankara
Fax: +90 312 418 1795 /418 3284
Salutation: Dear Minister


Minister of State and Deputy Prime Minister
Mr Cemil Çiçek
Office of the Prime Minister
06573 Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 417 0476
Salutation: Dear Minister

and to diplomatic representatives of Turkey accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 20 May 2008.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Mistreatment of Kurdish children by Turkish authorities

Munich, 28.03.08

Ladies and Gentlemen,
this year again numerous children and young persons in Turkey became brutally arrested, abused, kidnapped and tortured by members of the Turkish police, constabulary and military and special operation units during the Newroz celebrations . Defense by a lawyer and medical care for the victims are prevented.

There are numerous photographs and videos from the incidents. On videos attached by us is to be seen how members of the civil police and/or the Turkish secret service, members of special-purpose forces in civilian clothes, are breaking through the arm of the 15-year-old Cuneyit Ertus in front of the unit's running camera.

They call: „We break the arms which throw stones.“ The Turkish idiom, originally used by the former Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller: "We break the hands which rise against Turkey, the tongue which speaks against us is cut off".

According to our information, Cuneyit Ertus is still kept captive without medical care since the incident on 23.03.2008 in Hakkari/Yüksekova. More children and youngsters in Turkey suffer the same in this very moment. Right now we have received news from a member of the bar association of Hakkari that another kid apparently has lost both eyes and suffered a scull fracture. The boy has been brought for emergency operation to Ankara.

The arrested children must be helped immediately.

Therefore we are addressing to you. Please pass on the information to your contact-lists and communicate us quickly who got involved in the matter.

If you need further information, you can contact us at any time. We ourselves are for the moment depending on publications in the Internet and the abroad working Kurdish media etc. We have the information about the whereabouts of
Cuneyit Ertus over Roj TV, a Kurdish television station, which referred to the information from the child's father. If we get informations about the other children we will inform you.

In hope, Yours sincerely

Memo Arikan

Directorate of Kurdish Community Bavaria &
Member of Munich Foreigners' Council
Kurdische Gemeinde Bayern
Bergmannstr.35, 80339 München,
Mobil: 0171/5324986

Cüneyit Ertus Video
Weitere Links mit Videos von Misshandlungen von Kindern:

Links des Menschenrechtsberichte von IHD Türkei auf Englisch:

The Nigerian Embassy as a Deportation Agency

Support the Fax-Campaign!

The Nigerian embassy in Germany is actively supporting the deportation of Nigerian and other African refugees and migrants. They are doing embassy hearings for issuing traveling documents (TCs) which are needed to carry out deportations.

It has come to an extent that such embassy hearings with the Nigerian embassy are taking place every month, each time in another region and another city of Germany. The Nigerian embassy officials were in Munich in August 2007, in January 2008 they were in Halberstadt, in February they were in Dortmund and in March they were in Ludwigsburg.

The aim of the German authorities is clear: Accelerating massive deportation of Nigerian citizens! And not only of Nigerian citizens: Even people from other African countries, like Liberia, Togo or Sudan, are forced to attend these hearings, with the aim to deport them to Nigeria as well. It seems as if the Nigerian embassy has become a central agency for the deportation of African migrants and refugees!

Therefore, the Munich group of the Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants calls for a campaign of massive pressure against the Nigerian embassy to stop them from carrying out this shameful deportation business.

Fax protest letter that you can sign and send to the Nigerian embassy in Berlin (if you can write your own protest letter, even better!):

Adress of the Nigerian embassy in Germany for protest:
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
Neue Jakobstr. 4
10179 Berlin
Fax: +49-(030) 21230212

Report about Nigerian embassy hearing in March 2008 in Ludwigsburg by an activist of The Voice Refugee Forum/Baden Würtemberg:

Background article

The Nigerian Embassy as a Deportation Agency

Whose Ambassadors are these?

By Olushola Adeagbo, Maxim Kammerer & Gerit Boekbinder
Nigeria Village Square Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Over the last few years, European governments have managed to tighten their immigration laws leading ultimately to the construction of “fortress Europe”. As a result, refugees as a rule are routinely denied asylum. According to Spiegel magazine (a leading German newsmagazine) only one in a thousand African refugees is offered asylum in Germany. Those whose asylum applications have been denied have to be deported back to their countries of origin, forcefully and against their will.

We would like to point out that all the countries in Europe and Africa are signatories to the United Nations Organisation (UNO) Declaration on Human Rights and the Geneva Convention on Refugees. This declaration recognises the right of Asylum as a fundamental human right. However, with the new immigration laws of the western European countries, especially Germany, this fundamental human right is being denied to refugees and other legal immigrants are also facing hard times. And the embassies of African countries, especially the Nigerian embassy, are playing a shameful role supporting this deportation policy:

While most asylum seekers do not have any travel or identification documents, it therefore becomes necessary for these refugees to be identified by their countries’ embassies so as to issue travel documents which will facilitate their deportation. Without this identification and issuance of a travel document, no refugee can be deported. It is one of the most shocking aspects of the treatment of African refugees in Germany that the embassies of African countries are collaborating in this desecration of fundamental human rights. The most prominent of these collaborators is the Nigerian embassy in Germany. In order to facilitate the quick deportation of Nigerian refugees living in Germany, the German authorities are conniving with Nigerian embassy officials by bringing these officials all the way from Berlin to different places all over Germany, where Nigerians are forced to attend so-called Identification hearings with these officials for the purpose of issuing travel documents for their deportation, against their will. It has come to an extent that such embassy hearings with the Nigerian embassy are taking place every month, each time in another region and another city of Germany. The Nigerian embassy officials were in Munich in August 2007, in January 2008 they were in Halberstadt, in February they were in Dortmund and in March they were in Ludwigsburg.

The aim of the German authorities is clear: Accelerating massive deportation of Nigerian citizens! And not only of Nigerian citizens: Even people from other African countries, like Liberia, Togo or Sudan, are forced to attend these hearings, with the aim to deport them to Nigeria as well. It seems as if the Nigerian embassy has become a central agency for the deportation of African migrants and refugees!

Why do the Nigerian embassy officials allow themselves to be used in this way? The answer is that for every refugee that is issued a travel document thereby paving the way for his eventual forceful deportation, the embassy is paid a certain sum of money by the German authorities: They receive 250 Euro for every interview and 250 Euro more for every travel document! This means a total of 500 Euros for every refugee that is invited and finally issued a travel document. It would be interesting to know what happens to the money these embassy officials receive from the German authorities. Does it go into the federal government account or into the pockets of the embassy officials?

The invited refugees are not informed about the purpose of these invitations and are even forced through various repressive means, including imprisonment, by the local German authorities to attend these hearings. So the truth is that the embassy officials receive money to facilitate the denial of fundamental human rights by a foreign country to Nigerian and other African citizens living in this foreign country.

One common argument by the Nigerian government is that Nigerians disgrace the country by living abroad illegally and that they should all come home since there is no Problem in Nigeria. In terms of security of life and property, is Nigeria safer after Obasanjo’s two terms as President? What is the current state of the Nigerian Police force? What is the current state of the Nigerian Prison system considering the fact that Obasanjo himself was a guest there shortly before he was handpicked by his political godfathers and catapulted into Aso-Rock?

On the political level, we all witnessed the last elections which ushered in our current President, Umaru Yar’Adua. Was it a free and fair election? Is it not shameful that the freest and fairest election in Nigerian history held on June 12, 1993 was annulled? Is it not shameful that during elections in Nigeria hundreds of people have to lose their lives and the last one was no exception? Have we found out who killed our former Justice Minister (whose wife incidentally was also a Justice of the Federal Appeal Court) Chief Bola Ige? Is there peace today in the Niger-Delta after two terms of “Democracy” in Nigeria? If an eminent international figure like Chief Bola Ige who was Nigerian Justice Minister to boot could be killed and nobody could be held responsible, then who is actually safe in Nigeria? Is it the common man on the streets who is safe?

The truth of the matter is that Nigerian leaders have been the most significant source of shame for Nigeria as a nation and not refugees who flee for political, economic or whatever reasons. Simply put, our leaders have failed us. It is therefore revolting, to say the least, for these same leaders to turn back and accuse refugees who are fleeing their inhuman and failed leadership adventures of bringing shame to the country. A classic case of the farmer who did not discover the thief on time thereby giving the thief the chance to accuse the farmer of stealing!

On June 9, 2007 a 23 years old Nigerian, Osamuyiwa Aikpitanhi was killed by Spanish police officers during a forced deportation. They handcuffed him, chained his legs, gagged him with his mouth completely closed with industrial strength rubber or duck-tape and put a twine-bag or sack over his head, once out of public view, they pummelled him, until he suffocated and asphyxiated. One does need to add that this kind of treatment is inhuman to say the least and negates all UN and EU conventions on human rights to which Spain and Nigeria are signatories. It also needs no saying that this deportation would not have been possible without the active co-operation of the Nigerian embassy in Spain. Till now, we are yet to hear of any official complaints for this dastardly act from the Nigerian government and the Nigerian embassy in Spain or even any explanation or apology from the Spanish side. We wonder how the officials who received money to sign for the deportation of this young man would be feeling now, assuming they have any conscience…..which we seriously doubt.

A recent study by an organ of the UN reported that the total annual development aid given by western nations to Africa was less than half of the total cash remittances to Africa by Africans living outside Africa. This means that Africans living in the western world actually contribute more to the economic stability of their countries than even the African governments and Western governments. There is virtually no Nigerian family that does not have a relative living abroad! This fact is of course lost to Nigerian embassy officials in Germany who as usual are only thinking about whatever money they can make from colluding in the deportation of fellow Nigerians against all known national and international human rights regulations.

This phenomenon is a sad reminder of the era of slavery when local chiefs and community leaders sold fellow Africans to European slavers. Now Africans who fled to Europe to escape hunger, wars and the irresponsible leadership of their elite are being deported from Europe by the same irresponsible elite who caused them to flee in the first place. It is indeed a shame that 200 years after the official end of slavery and 50 years after the official end of colonialism, the African elite is still being used as a tool by the West for the subjugation and oppression of the African people.

It is therefore with a great sense of shame and disappointment that we witness the recent flurry of visits by the Nigerian embassy officials to various German cities in order to collude with German authorities in facilitating mass deportations of Nigerians from Germany. We wonder how many Nigerians will have to suffer the type of humiliating death that Mr Aikpitanhi died before our embassy officials stop putting ill-gotten wealth ahead of their humanity and reason.

We hereby call on all Nigerians and other Africans to protest this atrocious action by embassy officials who are supposed to be representing the interest of their citizens in a foreign land but who end up signing the death warrants of these citizens. It is not a crime to be a refugee especially when you come from a country where visionless, callous and kleptomaniac leaders reign!

Olushola Adeagbo, Maxim Kammerer & Gerit Boekbinder

Munich, Germany