UrbanFestival 13
16. & 17.4., Youth Center Dugave, Sv. Mateja 70a

Refugees in Europe on Struggles, Organizing and Solidarity

Petja Dimitrova

“We demand our rights,” “we’ll rise,” ”stop deportations,” “we are here to stay” – these are only some among the slogans used in the protests of refugees and migrants in the streets of European cities. In Hamburg, Berlin, Amsterdam, Calais, Ceuta, Melilla, Athens, Vienna and elsewhere, those who have managed to cross the EU border are becoming more and more visible and louder in demanding their rights.
Europe has a problem with refugees. This problem resides in its migrant policy. The joint system of refugee camps, established in 1997, aims at securing the external borders of the EU. Thermal cameras, taking fingerprints according to the systems Dublin I, II, and III, security agencies such as Frontex, mass deportations, resolutions on “safe states”, refuge centres resembling prisons, such as those in North Africa and Ukraine, violent push-back operations at the borders, isolated processing centres, refugee camps, work and movement prohibition, new legal paragraphs used to criminalize migrants and refugees – this is the desperate “vision” of this xenophobic policy backed up by racism. International norms for refugee protection have been losing efficiency. People seek security in the EU, but if their asylum claim is refused, they can end up with nothing: no home, no money, without the right to work and stay.
What is the situation in Croatia? Refugees keep coming and many are here to stay. What rights and options do they have? What problems and struggles must they face? What subjects are active in the field? What can we learn from the refugee movement in the EU regarding self-organization, resistance, and solidarity? Good life for everyone in Europe – what would that be?
I have therefore initiated a project for the UrbanFestival in which I am exploring the formats and resources for merging and reflecting together upon art, activism, politics, and the civil society. The project “Refugees in Europe on struggles, organizing and solidarity” consists of two parts: a poster campaign and a social forum featuring activists from four European countries with different experiences: Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia. The aim is to use the format of presentations, debates, and film screenings in order to exchange experiences and to elaborate a joint strategy, as well as articulate the refugee-related problems in a broader community.(PD)

16:00 – 16:30 Center for peace studies, Croatia
16:30 – 17:00 Inayat Jiskani, Croatia
17:00 – 17:45 Mohammad Numan, Refugee protest camp Vienna, Austria
17:45 – 18:30 dinner break
18:30 – 19:15 Rex Osa, The VOICE refugee forum Germany
19:15 – 20:00 No Border Movement, Serbia and Croatia
20:00 – 20:45 JD, MigSzol – Migrant Solidarity Group of Hungary
20:45 – 21:30 discussion, exchange of thought

On the following day, Saturday 18.4. after 5 pm, join us in Medika (Pierottijeva 11) for “Day against borders”, discussions, cooking and party organized by No Border Croatia.

partner: Center for Piece Studies
supported by:  Youth Center Dugave

Petja Dimitrova is an artist born in Sofia/BG and living in Vienna since 1993. Her artistic practice is situated between fine arts and political/participatory cultural work. Teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Member of the “Network for Critical Border and Migration Regime Research.” Until 2014, she was the artistic director of the Festival WIENWOCHE.

Associate Editor (together with Bobadilla/Güres/Achola and Del Sordo) of “Sketches of Migration: Postcolonial Enmeshments, Antiracist Construction Work” and of “Regime: How Dominance Is Organised and Expression Formalised” (together with Egermann/Holert/Kastner/Schaffer). Member of the Initiative 1st March – Transnational Migrant Strike Day.