Germany: Refugee from Cameroon threatened with imprisonment for resisting travel restrictions imposed on asylum seekers

Synopsis: The German self-organised refugee group The Voice and the Göttinger Arbeitskreis zur Unterstützung von Asylsuchenden e.V. is asking for support in their campaign to stop the imprisonment of Cornelius Yufanyi for fighting for his right to free movement.

FAX Campaign for Cornelius Yufanyi:

Imprisoned for the right of freedom of movement?

The activist of the refugee organisation The Voice Refugee Forum Germany, Cornelius Yufanyi from Victoria-Limbe/ Cameroon, father of a child and
Student of forestry at the University of Göttingen, is requested to appear at the district court on Thursday, 27.10.2005, to follow the warrant of arrest issued against him. Yufanyi has been living in Germany since 1998 and has been fighting for years against the so called Residenzpflicht. Three times he had to answer to the court already, since having been accused of violating the Residenzpflicht law in 2000. The offers of the court to drop the case because of minor guilt were all rejected by Cornelius Yufanyi. Now Yufanyi is supposed to pay a fine of 15 daily rates each 10 Euro.

“I won’t pay for my right of freedom of movement and I am ready to go into prison for this”, says Cornelius Yufanyi who continues his fight for an
acquittal and the repeal of the discriminating Residenzpflicht law for asylum seekers.”

Yufanyi shall now be forced to disclose his financial conditions. On Thursday 27th of October he is supposed to go to the bailiff. If not, the warrant of arrest against him will be remitted. The background: In the year 2000 Yufanyi attended a congress in Jena. Cornelius Yufanyi then was subject to the Residenzpflicht law. This law indicates that refugees are not allowed to leave the district they are allocated to by the authorities without permission of the Ausländerbehörde. Yufanyi’s apply for permission was rejected although he was one of the main organisers of the congress. An employee of the Ausländerbehörde Heiligenstadt (Landkreis Eichsfeld/Thüringen) saw an interview with Yufanyi in an article of the Thüringer Allgemeine and reported him to the police.

“This is an inhumane policy we will not submit to”, says Yufanyi. And he has many supporters. Yufanyi and other activists now have accused the German state to the European Court of Human Rights because of racist legislation. Germany is the only European country that actually prohibits refugees to Move freely. “This law strongly reminds of the Apartheid law in former Southern Africa”, comments Yufanyi.” “Perhaps the Germans will be able to understand us better, in the times of Hartz IV ­ one of the central so-called reforms of the current cutbacks in The social welfare system in Germany” says Osaren Igbinoba, chairman of the refugee organisation The Voice Refugee Forum Germany. Germans unemployed need a permission by the employment office when they want to leave their place of residence. According to the minister of state Andres the affected persons have to be every working day personally available at their residence. “This is different to the refugee issues though”, Osaren Igbinoba continues, “ as it will hardly lead to increasing controls by the police and BGS.” Non-German looking people however always have to expect being controlled. And then they get a penalty of leaving the district without permission. When violating the Residenzpflicht law several times refugees have to face a fine of up to 2500 Euro or even a one-year prison sentence.”

“I will definitely continue fighting”, says Cornelius Yufanyi, “for the right of freedom of movement and for my human dignity.” Yufanyi will, as arranged with his lawyers, not go to court on 27th of October. “I have been to the courts ­ up to the Federal Constitutional Court ­ to fight for my rights. I will not cooperate any longer.” What awaits him now is very likely prison. Until he has disclosed his financ


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