PRESS RELEASE Cologne, March 3, 2016
National Demo against Sexism and Racism
This year, a broad alliance is mobilizing nationally to Cologne for World Women*‘s Day for the first time
(03.03.2016) A broad and strong alliance of independent migrant and non-migrant womens’* organizations, feminist initiatives as well as antifascist, anticapitalist and antiracist groups based in Cologne as well as North Rhine-Westphalia has been formed in the last weeks and is organizing a national demonstration on March 12, 2016 on the occasion of International Women*’s Day. Under the motto “Our feminism is antiracist – Reclaim feminism!” the causes and claims of those involved will be taken to the streets loudly, colorfully and with diversity: From sexual violence to the insufficient finances for Care-Worki and the instrumentalization of feminist causes for acts of racist violence. The preparations are well underway. There will be various speeches and actions. According to the organizers, there are many collective arrivals of large groups planned from Aachen, Berlin, Frankfurt, Dortmund, Essen, Karlsruhe and Hamburg. 3.000 – 5.000 participants are expected.
The organizers want to send a strong signal that against sexism and racism, especially after the events of New Year’s Eve in Cologne. The thematization of sexual violence that women, lesbians, trans- and inter people (WLTI*) (of color) are confronted with daily, shall stay an important topic in 2016. Strong political answers are demanded: Secured and increased finances for womens’ shelters, a renewal of the law governing sexual offenses according to the Istanbul Convention as well as sex education and anti-discrimination programs in schools. “Those affected by the sexualized attacks of New Year’s Eve – and by all sexual attacks that happen on a daily basis– must be given the desired solidary support: psychosocially and judicially,” says Homa Moradi of the 2nd autonomous women’s shelter in Cologne, one of the organizers. There must be action taken in order to fight the prevailing rape cultureii in Germany. The judicial basis in criminal law regarding sexual harassment, assault and even rape is incomplete and deficient.
The organizers demand the attention of the media and political solutions for all those affected by sexual violence, especially regarding violence against WLTI*in refugee shelters. On Febuary 18,, an open letter from the women* of the refugee shelter in Humboldt Gremberg in Cologne made evident that sexual abuse and harassment against women through the security staff are a part of the daily agenda. Privacy and safe havens for women are also claimed to be missing. The demo alliance demands direct actions as well as suitable, safe and decentralized shelters as well as psychosocial support for those affected. It is demanded that separate shelters for WLTI* as well as gay refugees be financed. The alliance also strains a fast investigation and clarification of the case from the city of Cologne as well as the police. The organizers emphasize: “A clarification is only possible if the affected women are removed from the sphere of influence of the perpetrators and after they have received solidary psychosocial support for the tough journey of the prosecutions and the publication of the occurrences.” It must not be kept silent and continuously looked away as is often the case in such situations in which sexual violence happens in a municipal field of responsibility.
Alliance for the national demo on International Women*‘s Day 2016 in Cologne
Members of the press are sincerely invited to the press conference on March 12 at 11 AM. The location is yet to be announced. There will be a detailed dossier on the backgrounds and positions of the alliance.