On Sunday IW*S went to Potsdam to commemorate the murder of our friend Rita Awour Ojunge. On April 7th 2019, five years ago, our friend Rita Awour Ojunge disappeared from the Lager in Hohenleipsisch. It took the police three whole months to find her remains which were in the immediate vicinity of the Lager she was living– 200 meters. Despite the fact that friends and neighbors filed reports for her disappearance, the police did not react. 

Rita was 32 years old at the time of her murder and had lived in Germany for 7 years, , leaving behind a 2-and a 4-year old. Due to Germany’s racist asylum laws, she was forced to live in isolation in the Hohenleipisch refugee shelter, where she has been waiting for a decision on her asylum case for years. The negligence of the police, who only looked for her after two months, was met with silence even after her body was found. The mainstream media did not render Rita much attention– always staying quiet when it comes to Black women*.

Rita had already told the Hohenleipisch’s management some time ago that she felt threatened by a man who lived in the room opposite hers. But they simply shrugged it off. Lager are not safe places- they are lawless places. Protective rights fail to apply for refugees. The conditions of Lager create despair, depression, suicide, self-harm, aggression and intentionally isolate refugees. After Rita’s death, women* no longer dared to go out in the evening or travel back to the camp alone after dark because they had to walk long distances on the street or through the woods, with no protection. This applied to all the camps in remote areas.

We must not fall into the trap of seeing violence against women* as a social problem brought to Germany from outside. Research shows that femicide and violence towards (ex-)partners against women are high.  Every woman* in this society must be protected from femicide, regardless of their residence status. Violence against women* is a global problem, and misogyny is a global system that cannot be scapegoated to particular non-white groups. 

We remember our sister every day and keep fighting for justice. Justice for Rita Now! Alle Lager Abschaffen!

We continue to put pressure on the authorities to demand answers. Sign the petition that demands that the Public Prosecutor General’s Office of the State of Brandenburg fully investigates the killing of Rita O. here.