Category Archives: africa

We Are Here


Who are we

We are refugees. We have applied for asylum in this country. Our claims have been rejected. Now we are called ‘illegals.’ But we prefer to call ourselves refugees. Wars, international conflicts and systematic violence have devastated our countries. So you understand why we don’t like being called illegals. We are refugees. And now we live on the streets. We barely have rights. We have no means of subsistence.Here we are together. Here we are more safe. Here we keep hope. For a normal life.



Why we are here

We came here because our lives and freedom are in danger in our countries. That’s why the right to leave your country is a fundamental human right. We have no right to stay in Holland. We have been denied the right to move to another country. We cannot return to where we came from. Sometimes the governments of our countries refuse to take us back in. Sometimes our country does not even have a government. And sometimes we don’t want to go back because we fear it is not safe. We don’t agree with the decision of the Dutch government to deny our refugee status. We claim that asylum procedures are not always fair and just. And many practitioners and scholars in law agree with us. We are not allowed to live here but we can also not go back there. We are suffering the drastic consequences of an unfair and unjust asylum system and a failing return policy.



Where we go

We want to have a normal life and a future. We want to make ourselves a home, work, raise our children, learn, love and laugh. We want the insecurity and despair to end. We claim the basic human rights that have been denied to us. We have been pushed back to the margins of society. But now we are in your face. And by becoming visible we have made visible the severe shortcomings in Dutch asylum and return procedures.



We are here. And so are you. If you want to bestow dignity, freedom and justice upon your country, raise your voice with us. Support us in our struggle to emancipate ourselves from this misery. As a citizen you have the power to stand up and say ‘No’ to your government. Come and talk with us. Many have done so before you. Citizens, academics, lawyers, journalists, artists, photographers, local politicians, and human rights activists support our cause. We kindly invite you to join in.



Facebook: Wij zijn hier
Twitter @wijzijnhierNL @vluchtkantoor

Ahmed Issa is free

Finally some justice after the Schiphol Fire (2005): Ahmed Issa has been relseased of he guilt for starting the Schiphol Fire in 2005 by the High Court of The Hague. The real crime is the practice of putting innocent
refugees in prison. That is the real lesson of the Schiphol Fire.

The fire killed 11 migrants in detention. People are being kliled every day, because it kills your mental health to be in prison for no other reason than to be deported. We are not criminals.

Papa Sakho comments: We Are Free
Gladys Toekaja is happy for Ahmed
Babak is relieved, for the survivors it is now clear.

thanks also to Mr. Eduard Damman, who worked so long as his lawyer.

We are here


images from the camp of refugees in Ter Apel, Holland May 2012

Refugees without rights created a protest camp in The Netherlands
from May 8 until may 23rd, when they were evicted.

The pictures that were taken by themselves and by professional photographers will be brought together in an
exposition that will circulate through Holland and on the Internet.

M2M made the first presentation on UN International Day of Refugees.

Wednesday 20th of June

Barth Chapel, Brouwersgracht
2K, 2512 ER The Hague

Ter Apel Camp Radio records

M2M’s Open Camp Radio in Ter Apel happened from May 14th till the end on May 23rd. We publish the  recordings in four languages. English, Dutch, Arab and Somali.
We start with the high lights:

Doctor Co van Melle recording his own detention. (Dutch) click

The opening of the live radio with Ahmed Al Obaidy and Sam Saeed (English, Arab, Somali) click

An Eritrean woman telling the mayor , Mrs. Leontien Kompier, why she is here in the camp. click


Open escape routes, take in refugees!

Appeal from Choucha:

We want to leave! Europe must help!”  The demands on the cardboard signs of refugees and migrants at the Tunisian-Libyan border are clear – and compelling: 5000 people have been waiting for weeks and months in unbearable conditions in the camp of the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Choucha. All of them managed to escape the escalating civil war in Libya. Many were employed as migrant workers, others had sought refuge from the war and crisis zones in Sub-Saharan-Africa. Survivors of capsized refugee boats meet in Choucha those who, arising out of despair and despite all dangers,
are setting off for the road back towards the Libyan border to risk the dangerous crossing to Europe. On the 5th of May 2011, when four  refugees from Eritrea died at a fire in the improvised tent city, there were spontaneous protests and road blockades. The Tunisian
Military responded with tear gas, residents attacked the camp. At least two refugees were killed, many were badly injured.


The refugees in Choucha were and still are hoping for help and support from the UNHCR, which had requested the European countries, among others, several times during the recent weeks with the intake of at least 6,000 refugees from Libya. In vain. Rather, the European border agency Frontex is given more and more contracts and the new democratic governments in Northern Africa are lured with offers of money, so they continue to be the watchdogs on the southern rim of European borders.
The situation in Choucha must be seen in the context of the forward externalisation of the European border regime to Northern Africa. In the defense of refugees and migrants, the European countries have shamelessly worked together for years with the despots of the Maghreb, especially with Ben Ali in Tunisia and Qaddafi in Libya.
Now, indeed, the democratic transition is welcomed, but help is refused to all those who are stranded in the Tunisian refugee camps and for whom there is no return.

The voices of Choucha stand for the desperate protest against a policy of flagrant human rights violations, as they take place every day in many hot spots of Europe’s external borders. A break with this policy is necessary to stop the dying at sea and in the desert. The
democracy movements in Northern Africa provide the opportunity for a fresh start. Instead of fatal exclusion and grotesque threat scenarios, openness and solidarity must shape the future of the Mediterranean area. It needs bridges instead of walls for a new
African-European relationship in order that Europe becomes a place of real freedom, general security and equal rights for All.

The acceptance of refugees from Choucha in Europe would, in this sense, set a first, not just symbolic character. We therefore call on the responsible policymakers at the European level, in the federal government, states and municipalities,

– to take emergency aid measures and take in the refugees from Choucha and other temporary refugee camps in Europe.

– ­ to provide humanitarian support for Subsaharan migrants, who were already flown out from Libya or Tunisia. For example just in Mali over 10,000 refugees have arrived since the beginning of the war in Libya.

– to give up the existing deportation policies at the external borders in favor of a humane and generous asylum and immigration policy that is consistent with the rights of refugees and migrants.

– ­ to support the democratic upheavals in Northern Africa seriously and to understand it as an opportunity for a changing neighbourhood policy.

Pro Asyl, Medico International, Borderline Europe, Afrique-Europe Interact, Welcome to Europe
31st of May 2011

Sign online: / Choucha-appeal

For further information and to sign online refer to:

Our man at Schiphol Oost

May 21st: Sedraoui is FEEE!

A judge ordererd his release after his laissez-passer expired. Sedraoui gained time by resisting his deportation. Also blood was found in his urine, which led the medical  service to declare him “not fit to fly”.

Sedraoui is 14 months in prison. Three times they tried to deport him as an illegal alien. He resisted, once by swallowing a razor blade. He has been kicked around between 3 different prisons, being accused of organising resistance. He is resisting deportation to Morocco.

He is now at detention complex Schiphol Oost and gives us reports on his situation and on the situation in Block H.

April 27th, after the doctors visit,  Sedraoui raconte in French.

Sedraoui needs treatment for his shoulder, that was injured by his guards.  And he needs medical attention as a patient with Diabetes. He is losing his sight, being nearly blind in one eye. He wants glasses, to see.

His teeth are being pulled out one by one, without any replacement. He wants teeth, to eat.

And he wants all this fast, because in a couple of days the guards may kick him again, and kick him out of the country. To a place where he will surely not get the medical assistance he needs.

Undocumented in Amsterdam

The World House staged a symposium on the situation of uncocumented migrants regading health, safety and housing. Here some impressions.

Ibrahim and others

Interview with Andree van Es (Dutch), in charge of diversity in Amsterdam.

Round-up (Dutch)

We watched the documentary Surprising Europe and had a discussion wit the makers.

We found a comment on the new xenophobic Dutch government by  philosopher Slavoj Zizek in the Guardian.  He sees a new fashion in Europe: Reasonble racism.

“We grant ourselves permission to applaud African and east European sportsmen, Asian doctors, Indian software programmers. We don’t want to kill anyone, we don’t want to organise any pogrom. But we also think that the best way to hinder the always unpredictable violent anti-immigrant defensive measures is to organise a reasonable anti-immigrant protection.”

Finally we tried to find an illegal person … check

Birth of a band

The World House Fusion Band



click to listen to part 1

listen to part 2

listen to part 3

Close to you Djallo Love song Wailer

In the World House in Amsterdam African and other musicians come together to play.

Listen to Papa Sakho talking with Smiles in the World House studio.

Listen to Deeq‘s song from Somalia

Come and see this African Fusion on Friday August 13th live in the garden of the World House!

Near Waterlooplein at Nieuwe Herengracht 20

Papa Sakho in Ruigoord


July 2, 3 and 4  2010

Papa Sakho exhibits in Ruigoord

Paintings from Africa and Holland

Saturday 3rd of July at 4 p.m.

Opening speech

With M2M, Migrant to Migrant Radio Teranga


Cheikh Sakho (Dakar 1960) brought his art to Amsterdam, to the Waterlooplein market and to the prison for undocumented migrants at Schiphol East. He survided the fire in 2005. He tries to make a life again.

Exposition during

Future Reggae Festival with the Mad Professor

Bus 82 of Connexxion brings you straigh to Cultural Freeport Ruigoord. This leaves from Marnixstraat (Amsterdam) via NS-station Amsterdam-Sloterdijk to Ruigoord and IJmuiden and back. Daily between 7 and 23 hours. t

Free entry with this invitation on Saturday 3rd of July

The Time of the Oranges in Rosarno

Volevano braccia e sono arrivati uomini…

They wanted labourers and they got human beings …

The Time of the Oranges is a 30 min documentary by InsuTv,
made in Rosarno during the days of the pogrom and deportation of migrants,
on facts that happened a few weeks ago in south of Italy

Migrants revolted against racist violence by youth firing on them in streets
the bad conditions in which they are set to survive and work

Images and stories of the protagonists, the reasons of the rebellion against violence and apartheid, to which followed the revenge of mafia and government.

rosarno: il tempo delle arance from Nicola Angrisano on Vimeo.

Italian and English  language documentary, one of the first independent accounts from this tragic episode