[NetBehaviour] Fwd: Afghan protesters detained in Oslo - request for solidarity actions

Ryan Griffis ryan.griffis at gmail.com
Mon Jul 2 20:59:02 CEST 2007

Begin forwarded message:
> Dear friends --
> A self-organized group of around 45 Afghan refugees in
> Norway have been marching between May 19th and June
> 16th. Their 650 km Asylum March follows a centuries
> old pilgrimage route to Trodheim which is the burial
> site of Olav the Holy, the founder of Christianity in
> Norway 1000 years ago. Pilgrims still go to Trodheim
> to seek penance or aid for sickess, along one of the
> most significant trajectories in the Norwegian
> symbolic geography. The Afghan marchers walked the
> pilgrimage route in the opposite direction, from
> Trodheim to Oslo, not to seek penance but to protest
> Norway’s deportation of refugees.
> Along the way they have been meeting with Norwegians,
> discussing the war in Afghanistan, refugee rights, at
> times organizing small public events involving music,
> discussions and food. In most of the towns along the
> way, the marchers received  housing in churches,
> schools and farms, sleeping only a few nights under
> the open skies.  They were also joined by supporters
> for portions of their walk.
> For more info on the march please see
> www.asylmarj.no
> 10 articles have already appeared in Norwegian
> newspapers about their protest, a politician from the
> Socialist party has demanded that the Ministry of
> Labor and Social Inclusion deliberate what has
> happened to those who have been deported by force
> since last year’s hunger strike – about 150 refugees
> in all. The support from various organizations is
> increasing.
> There is so much more to say about this incredible
> march – the critical repurposing of a
> national-christian trope to poetically restage the
> relationship of citizen to refugee, of host to
> pilgrim, and to transform the penance-seeker into
> protester. But this email is a request for urgent
> support, so I shall get right to it.
> Upon their arrival in Olso, the marchers occupied the
> square in front of Parliament – handing in a letter to
> demand answers on Norway’s deportation policies,
> especially with the new UN report and regulations
> dealing specifically with assessing asylum claims by
> Afghan refugees . The protest is intended to force
> into public debate whether or not Norway should follow
> the UN instructions for forcibly deporting Afghan
> refugees, which would immediately impact the roughly
> 400 Afghans in Norway currently.
> On 2AM on Wednesday June 21st    Police arrested the
> entire group – half were subsequently released, while
> half were sent to Trandum Deportation prison. Thursday
> and Friday arrests and deportation orders were hastily
> pushed through the courts, and Saturday deportation
> tickets were ordered for 15 of the 21 arrested. Among
> those arrested was also an Afghan refugee who was not
> part of the Asylum March.
> All week-end, a team of activists worked with the
> refugees, protesting at the airport, putting pressure
> on the ministry and demanding action from the larger
> supporters of the march.
> As the prisoners were about to board the plane, a
> last-minute decision to postpone was handed down. Only
> one of the detainees was deported – the protester who
> did not participate in the march. The rest of the
> refugees were returned to Trandum – and although this
> temporary and partial victory is important, the
> situation is far from resolved.
> Please consider supporting this small group in their
> struggle --  it may be especially useful for other
> groups active in refugee rights, social justice, human
> rights, anti-war, anticapitalist or anticacist
> campaigns to draft letters of support, to help connect
> this local struggle with similar efforts elsewhere, to
> provide some media visibility.
> 1.	Put pressure on representatives of the Norwegian
> Government. In the US, the contact information of the
> Norwegian embassy is listed at the end of this
> message, along with a sample letter.
> 2.	Talk about it !!!!! Please help spread the word
> about this action. Media support could be immensely
> helpful at this point, helping to maintain pressure
> for a solution to the situation of the detainees and
> for more long-term debate on refugee rights .
> 3.	Sign the Petition!!!!!!!!, which you will find on
> the website
> 4.	Do an action in solidarity with this group – a
> small protest, a march, draft a public declaration,
> hold a teach-in; include this campaign in your ongoing
> activities: conferences, seminars and so forth.
> 5.	Those of you close enough, or with close ties to
> Oslo, please contact the group directly to see how you
> may be able to help
> For more information please see:
> http://www.asylmarsj.no
> Also, a speech by Zahir Athari, one of the
> participants in the march and an outspoken refugee and
> activist leader:
> http://www.spisderike.net/motmakt/4096/
> *************************
> The Royal Norwegian Embassy
> 2720 34th Street, N.W.?
> Washington, D.C. 20008
> His Excellency Knut Vollebaek - ?Ambassador
> Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
> Mr. Rune Resaland?Minister - Deputy Chief of Mission
> Ms. Aud Kolberg - Minister Counselor for Political
> Affairs
> Telephone number: (202) 333-6000?
> Fax number: (202) 337-0870?
> E-mail: emb.washington at mfa.no
> Dear Representatives of the Norwegian Government
> We are writing to inquire about the status of the 21
> Afghan refugees currently detained by the Norwegian
> Authorities at the Trandum Prison. We are concerned
> about the conditions of their detention, and about the
> possibility of deportation. In view of the commitments
> of the Norwegian State and the international
> community, and the obligation of our states to
> acknowledge the suffering and devastation we are
> complicitous in creating, we demand the following:
> 1.	The immediate release of all detained refugees in
> Norway
> 2.	An investigation into the living and working
> conditions of Afghan refugees currently in Norway;
> immediate attention to the deep social problems that
> are the direct result of their exploitation as cheap
> labor
> 3.	The discussion, in the highest forums of
> legislative power in the state, about refugee rights
> and the responsibility of the state for protecting
> people displaced by wars of occupation
> Zahir Athari of the Asylum Marchers said in his
> speech:
> “The reality is that Afghan refugees are the scapegoat
> for a defeated war policy. . It was claimed by the USA
> and partners that we will win the war and put every
> things in order in Afghanistan, now since after 5years
> not only nothing came to the order but also they are
> losing completely. The Norwegian government has to
> advertise Afghanistan as being safer and more
> democratic than Norway, and start to deport afghan
> refugees back, as quick as possible, to prove the
> claims and to justify its participation in that war on
> the Norwegian public view.”
> We believe this to be an accurate analysis of the
> situation internationally; the responsibilities both
> our states bear for the crisis that has left so may
> Afghans displaced must be assumed openly, not
> suppressed!!!

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