Horst in times of Corona

Last Sunday on April 26th we were in Horst again. It was our first visit in Corona-times. Our conclusion: the problems are part of the system.

Everyday life in the reception camps

For those, who cannot imagine the every day life in a reception center like Horst: People live in multi-bed rooms on the site of an old NVA barrack in the former border strip between East and West Germany.

A family currently lives in one room, two to four single people live in one room. In the houses, people are sorted according to countries of origin. The same applies to all possible "compensation offers" with which the lack of freedom is to be brushed nicely: "school workshops" instead of compulsory school attendance, fitness rooms, women's café, TV room, "hairdresser". These offers do not take place due to corona containment efforts right now. In the case of a corona infection, all contact persons are put together in one house. They share bathrooms and have nothing to do.

To pass the time, only the Internet remains. The internet signal is too weak for all, who cannot afford an own SIM card. So often up to twenty people sit together in the corridor to use the internet close to the WLAN router. This always means: Too less provacy. Who likes to talk on the phone with his family and 20 strangers listening in? Imagine: The smartphone as the only contact to your own children, loved ones, friends in a life situation in which loneliness is a constant companion. Currently this raises the risk of an infection with Covid-19.

The operators are located in another building, and the state office for internal administration (responsible for paying and cutting money, organizing deportations and medical care, which reports to the Ministry of the Interior MV) and the BAMF, which is responsible for processing the asylum applications, are located separately in another building . There is also a state police department on the Camp site.

And there are two canteens. One for the residents: the same food, warmed tea and cell phone ban every day. Another canteen for employees of all institutions: with a different meal. Residents told us that they could not keep the minimum distance of 1.5 meters in the canteen or in the shared bathrooms. It's just too tight.

Nostorf-Horst: A closed system

During almost all manifestations, the head of the operator deployed in Horst is present at the entrance to the facility. Sunday afternoon - one might think it is actually a strange time for a manager to be in the facility. And also a strange order from the operator: She speaks to residents about why they go to the manifestations. She also watches very closely who visits the manifestations. Again and again - and also last Sunday - we hear that people don't come to the manifestation, because they fear informal sanctions. We described the mechanism of action of the closed system and informal sanctions a year ago.

The criticism of the “AnkER Center” concept is not welcome. It has been new since the beginning of the year that the State Office for Internal Administration (Landesamt) appears in person at the manifestations. The head of the department apparently wants to know what's happening on site. On Sunday, this led to a chain of Landesamt, Ordnungsamt and police shielding the manifestation towards the reception center. When pointing out that this could keep off people from coming to the manifestation, one of the officials replied: "Well, then we have achieved our goal, höhö."

If this bad joke were not so sad and anti-democratic, we could happy one in a time about transparency from an authority subordinate to the interior ministry of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
The question remains: What is the State Office for Internal Administration on site for? In contrast to the police and Ordnungsamt, it does not fulfill any of the functions provided for in assembly law. It only expands the all-embracing view of the control of the reception center: who belongs to whom? Who visits the manifestation? Who is talking to whom?

So far, so "normal". Corona also brought some more interest to the manifestation from the authorities: the police presence and the local Ordnungsamt watched very closely what was happening. In consultation with the Landesamt, they know exactly who belongs to a family or a >shared apartment<* and who should keep the distance of 1.5 meters. The only strange thing is that corona prevention seems to give them less concerns in everyday camp life, as the 6-hour wait for an ambulance on April 15 has shown frighteningly.

Reception camp: control, wearing down, deportation

Reception camps and the tightening of laws in recent years, which lead to accommodation times of up to two years, are a crisis themselves. The omnipresent control in everyday life and also the observation of a democratic manifestation show how critical looks on the system disturb. Because the system relies on foreclosure.

The foreclosure means that someone with traumatic experiences in two years' stay does not receive any support in dealing with them **. It means that we keep meeting people who don't even know what is important in the asylum procedure, even though they live right next to the BAMF for several months ***. Foreclosure means: control. Foreclosure means: dependence on the local authorities. Foreclosure is the declared goal of the "Christian" asylum policy from the Ministry of the Interior (Innenministerium).

Racism kills. Institutional racism paves the way: it wears people down, it robs self-determination, it uses violence with every deportation. Reception camps and "anchor centers" are part of this system. But they are not like this by natural - they are made by people and deliberately kept closed by institutional actors. The rule of collective accommodation has become too natural for our society and is hardly ever questioned. But there is another way.

We want different - we keep going!

We want fair asylum procedures and respectful treatment of people. That is why we continue the manifestation. The manifestation on Sunday once again showed the urgent need for the presence of supporters on site.

With the necessary precautionary measures regarding the containment of corona, we consider the manifestations to be an important contribution to break through the isolation of the reception center and to get in contact with the residents. We will go to Horst again on May 24, support on site and send our statement to the responsible actors:
Solidarity with the asylum seekers in Horst! Against exclusion and institutional racism!

We continue to demand:
• to end isolation and to redistribute asylum seekers to the municipalities as quickly as possible, regardless of their residence status; To design fair asylum procedures in which those seeking protection have enough time to prepare for their interviews and to recover from persecution and escape routes.
• Nostorf-Horst has to be closed because there is no infrastructure here that such a large camp needs, for example in the supply of midwives, psychologists and doctors.
• As long as Nostorf-Horst exists, the state government must work on improving the situation there: Asylum seekers who are particularly vulnerable must be distributed to the municipalities as quickly as possible; medical care must be ensured; independent asylum procedure advice must be installed and financed.

* The authorities call it "living community" ("Wohngemeinschaft). The multi-bed rooms in reception centers are first of all forced communities. If friendships and Wohngemeinschaften develop from it: luck.
** The manifestation in Horst once again showed how necessary independent medical advice is there. Both acute and chronic diseases are not treated adequately, and there is also a lack of adequate diagnostics. Vulnerable people in particular are not identified, including people with mental illness and severe violence. There is no need-based access to health and treatment facilities in the reception centers. The actors involved are violating the right to health.
*** Logical, because the "independent state asylum procedure advice" in the camp is carried out by the BAMF itself. The authoritie's declared goal is "efficiency" (quick procedures - not the strengthening of human rights). For example, "asylum procedure advice" by BAMF also includes an equally integrated exit / "return" advice.