DELEGATION SOCIAL MOVEMENT TOGO
The transnational network „Afrique Europe Interact“ is sending a delegation to Togo from 14th to end of april 2014 to mobilize social movements for transnational cooperation. The delegation consisting of Togolese, Malian and European activists will visit groups in the Lomé capital (social movements), in Sodoké (Association Togolaise des Expulsés) and in Aného (land grabbing due to phosphorus mining). The film ‘Being.There’ on migrants deported back to Togo will also be presented on aconference on deportation and migration. A brochure on the Togolese social movements will be made after the trip and an info tour organized in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.
Afrique-Europe Interact (AEI) is doing practical cooperation between social movements in Africa and Europe since 2010, focusing on the aims of global freedom of movement and development in the sense of social justice and equality. The AEI organized in 2011 the caravan Bamako-Dakar ‘for freedom of movement and fair development’ (http://goo.gl/vMUaGy) when some 250 people – mainly activists from Bamako – traveled by road to the World Social Forum in Dakar. On the way the caravan stopped meeting social movements in the country side and doing actions against EU-funded deportations at desert borders and at the Frontex office in Dakar. The caravan was mainly organized by the Association Malienne des Expulsés. The AEI consists of grass route organizations in Europe (Germany, Netherlands and Austria) and eleven organizations in Mali. The organizations in Mali and Europe come per continent together and discuss projects, aims and cooperation.
The planning of a caravan on land grabbing and uranium mining in Mali planned for 2014 (http://goo.gl/6gqKRH) was delayed due to the war in the North and the invasion of (post)colonial troops. A white march of the population lead by the AEI from Bamako to the border between territory of the Malian army and the Touaregs (http://goo.gl/djZFjZ) was made impossible by the arrival of foreign troops. Malian members like the Fédération des Associations de Migrants de Mali, Association pour la Défense des Emigrés Maliens, Association des Refoulés d’Afrique Centrale au Mali and the Association Malienne Expulsés have been visiting Europe several times to talk in open meetings about their struggle in Mali and how we can cooperate. A brochure on social movement in Mali (in german and french) and a film (in 5 languages) was made after the caravan.
The AEI has been active on freedom of movement in Tunesia and Morocco: Boats4people in 2012 (http://goo.gl/zYa0Lb) , Watch the Med in 2013/2014 (http://watchthemed.net/), against violent repression of border control at Ceura/Melilla 2013/2014 (http://goo.gl/FtbB8B) and support of rejected refugees at the former UNHCR Choucha camp at the Lybian Tunesian border in 2011/2014 (http://goo.gl/lny5yP) . Another project is the organization of a conference ‘mining without arms’ with social actors in Congo in 2014/2015 in the Netherlands organized in cooperation with congolese in diaspora.
All Included, dutch member of Afrique-Europe Interact, took part in the caravan Bamako-Dakar, in Boats4people – with different support actions in different cities in the Netherlands in 2011/2012 -, in the delegation to Choucha in 2012, an intervention action on Choucha at an UNHCR debate in The Hague in 2012 and a protest at the Spanish embassy, the Moroccan consulate and the European House in the Hague and Rotterdam in 2013 regarding the death at the border of Ceuta/Melilla in that year.
Delegation journey of Afrique Europe Interact to Togo in April 2014
One of the groups the AEI has contact with since the caravan is the Togolese Association of Deportees / Association Togolaise des Expulsés (ATE), who is active for the rights and for the respect for people who were deported from Europe or other African countries back to Togo. To strengthen this cooperation, AEI network is organizing a delegation trip to Togo in April 2014. The delegation consists of 8 people: three Togolese activists who had fled from Togo years ago and who are now active in struggles for the rights of refugees and migrants in Germany and Austria, one activist from All Included Amsterdam, one from the Munich caravan, one from Vienna and two Malian members of the African section of AEI. The ties between the AEI Afrique and the ATE developed during the caravan Bamako-Dakar that the ATE joined. In march 2014 the Association Togolaise des Expulsés visited Bamako for a closer contact with the Association Malienne des Expulsés. The ATE was very pleased with the exchange of experiences and wishes to have other meetings with associations in the region struggling for the promotion and the protection of the rights of forcely returned migrants. The ATE and AME made a strategic plan to prepare the visit of the delegation of AEI Europe in april. The AEI delegation is going to spend several days in Sokodé / central region of Togo together with the members of the Togolese Association of Deportees.
In this context, the following activities are going to take place in
-Public debate about the meaning of flight and migration for Togolese society, about the situation of people who were deported and about the politics of the ‘deportation machine’ in Europe. In this context, it shall be possible to get into a dialogue between experiences of people who fled to Europe and struggled for the right to stay there and those of young people in Togo who have the wish to find a better life outside their country, but who are also often involved in social movements and political protest in Togo.
-Presentation of the documentary movie „Being.There”. This movie was produced in 2013 in Togo and Nigeria and tells about the lives of people who were deported from Austria and Germany. This film shall now be brought back to the place where it was produced and shall be made available for Togolese activists who are trying to create awareness for the empowerment of people who were deported or returned by force in Togolese society. The film makers Aylin Basaran and Hans-Georg Eberl will also be part of the AEI delegation traveling to Togo.
-Radio feature with a local radio station in Sokodé.
Besides this, other meetings with activists of social movements are planned to take place in Sokodé and in Lomé, the capital of Togo:
meetings social movements in Sokodé / Lomé
-Togolese women’s movement: This movement has made itself known through numerous activities to overcome male dominance, sexist patterns of relations and poverty in families as well as in the Togolese political system. Togolese women’s movement has also been a vibrant part of the protests against the regime of president Faure Gnassingbe and for the liberation of political prisoners.
-Protests on education issues: Throughout the last years, Togo has seen a lot of protests of university and school teachers and students struggling for better salaries, for the right to have access to education and against education reforms affecting the living conditions of students. Moreover, protests in the education sector are an expression for the outrage of many young people against bad future perspectives in a country that has been impoverished by authoritarian and corrupt elites and by neocolonial dominance.
-Association Togolaise des Droits de l’Homme: The Togolese Human Rights Association has been working for years on documentation of human rights abuse through state security forces against members of opposition movements. It is part of a broad protest movement against the government in place.
-People concerned of land grabbing for the extraction of natural resources: Phosphate, which is used for production of fertilizers, but also in production of weapons, is one of the most important export products of Togo. At the same time, people living in the areas of extraction of phosphate don’t benefit from profits made by the production of fertilizers, while their soils used for living and for agriculture are destroyed for the mining industry.
-Beside all these topics of present political activism the participants of the delegation are also interested in aspect of memories of colonization of Togo by Germany and later by France as a concequence of the Berlin conference in 1884 and also in the question of impacts of colonialism on the present social and political reality.
The AEI delegation is going to make a documentation of the encounters and discussions during the journey in different types of media. An info brochure on the position of expulsed migrants in Togo and other social movements will be made after the trip. The aim is to build up more long lasting cooperations between movements in Africa and Europe. Important are the clear links in issues of the social struggle in different African countries – like land grabbing, migration, mining -. Afrique-Europe Interact wants to play a role in supporting a stronger movement of autonomous African movements. During the trip a blog will be published on the All Included and Indymedia (and hopefuly Afrique-Europe Interact) sites with web feature, film clips and radio features.
After the journey to Togo, there shall also be info- and film presentation events in different cities of Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.
More information on Afrique-Europe Interact:
More information on All Included: http://www.allincluded.nl/