October 16, 2014
Choucha Refugee Camp, Southern Tunisia
The UNHCR Choucha Refugee Camp opened in 2011, just seven kilometres away from the Tunisia-Libya border crossing of Ras Ajdir, to help the thousands of people fleeing the conflict in Libya. Most of the those who fled in 2011 returned home but some 4,000 could not go back for fear of persecution. These individuals were granted refugee status by the UNHCR and took refuge in the Choucha Camp. Tunisia did not – and still does not – consider applicants for refugee status. According to UNHCR, most of the refugees from Choucha have already been taken by the United States (1,717) and Norway (485). The EU has been fairly strict on resettlement; Germany took the most refugees at 201, Britain took three, Italy two and France one. However, some still remain as they have nowhere else to go.
The Choucha camp was officially closed in June 2013, but approximately one hundred refugees still remain there. They insisted on remaining in the camp after it was closed despite the fact that all UNHCR food, water, and medical services were cut-off on June 30. 260 of the camp’s inhabitants, categorized as “rejected asylum seekers,” now find themselves in a dire situation. Falling outside of the UNHCR’s mandate, they are not entitled to the integration services that the organization offers to refugees and asylum seekers. The last time that the rejected asylum seekers here received food distribution aid was in October 2012. One of them is Bright O Samson, who is fighting against eviction from the camp, and is demanding resettlement to a safe third country with effective system of asylum seeker protection. Ismail is from Sudan and he fled to Libya in 2003 due to the war in his country. There, he found peace and a job as a mechanic, but the 2011 uprising forced him to leave again and cross the border into Tunisia. With no official structure supporting them, Ismail and other refugees from Chad, Ghana, Sudan, Liberia, and many other African countries, say they feel like they've been totally abandoned.
-The street of Ras Adjir with cars passing by. -Camera car approaching the camp. -Wide shot of a sign detailing refugee demands. -Camera movement from a sign to a UNHCR banner on the ground. -Wide of another sign detailing refugee demands. -Wide of "Choucha Bar", the main tent near the street where refugees stay together during the day. -Interiors of tent, where refugees watch TV. -Close up of Usman Bangura, a refugee from Sierra Leone (soundbite). -Head and shoulders of Kadri Salefu, a refugee from Ghana (soundbite). -Close up of Kadri Salefu, a refugee from Ghana (soundbite). -Head and shoulders of Bright O Samson, a refugee from Nigeria and leader of the group. -Close up of Margai Roland Keller, refugee from Liberia. -Wide shot of back side of the tent. -Wide shot of clothes hanging outside. -Wide shot of stones that keep the tent upright with the banner of the American Red Cross. -Camera movement from a group of refugees to clothes hidden in a hole. -Camera movement from back side of the tent to 4 puppies. -Close up of 4 puppies. -Camera movement from the back side of the tent to the TV antenna. -Interior of tent where refugees watch TV. A man arrives, whispers something in the ear of another and disappears. -Wide shot from the inside of the tent, we can see the man on the street through the door. -The same man trying to approach cars asking for water and food. -A refugee sitting on a chair, watching the man approach the cars. -Long and mid shot of the same man still approaching the cars. -Mid shot of two refugees looking at the road. -Long shot of man trying to approach the cars, from the other side of road. -Mid shot of a group of refugees. -Mid shot of man trying to approach the cars. -Wide shot of water pump next to the tent. -Wide of two refugees next to a sign. -Camera movement from close up of one of the two refugees to the sign. -Wide of a sign with a hole in the stuff. -From the hole in the sign, two refugees talking together. -Mid shot of two refugees joking around. -Wide shot of the man who was approaching cars, running for a car which stops. -The same man returning to the tent with a bottle of water to drink. -Wide shot of another sign detailing refugee demands. -Camera movement from clothes on the ground to the group of tents where Bright lives. -Wide of Bright smoking a cigarette. -Wide of the camp gate. -Long shot of Bright from behind washing himself. -Bright returns to his tent. -Close up of UNCHR banner on the tent. -Panning shot from the door of the camp to the "kitchen" door. -Various shots of Bright cooking. -Shot of a man talking to Bright from outside the tent. -Interview with Bright inside the tent. -Wide from the inside of the group of tents. -A mirror on the ground. -Wides of Othman, a refugee friend of Bright, washing plates and returning to the kitchen. -Camera moves from an empty water bottle to a hole in the tent. -Various shots of objects left on the ground. -Two white dogs. -Various shots of objects left on the ground. -Wide of an empty tent. -Various shots of objects left on the ground. -Long shot of refugee walking through the tents. -Various of bottles left on the ground. -Panning shot from a toilet to the inside of a tent. -Wide of empty tents. -Particular of a tent. -Close up of a small bush. -Various shots of UNHCR tents. -Particular of a tent. -A chair left on the ground. -Camera movement outside of a tent. -Long shot of a refugee walking alone and talking to himself. -Camera movement through the tents. -Ismail training inside his tent. -Panning shot from Ismail to the outside of the tent. -Wide shot of Ismail's tent: -Ground camera movement to a sign outside of a tent. -Two dogs howling. -A closed church. -Wide shot of Nigerian tent, from which we can hear their prayer. -Wide of desert, while a muezzin calls to prayer. -Sunset through the tents.
- 1 Camera movement from clothes on the ground to the group of tents where Bright lives 2-3-4 Wide of Bright smoking a cigarette 5 Wide of the little camp's door 6-7 Long shot of Bright from behind washing himself 8 Bright returns to his tents 9 Close up of UNCHR banner upon the tent 10 Panning shot from the door of the camp to the "kitchen" door 11-12-13-14-15-16-17 Various shots of Bright cooking 18 A man ho looks Bright from the outside of kitchen 19-20-21 Bright explains his reason inside the tent 22 Wide from the inside of the group of tents 23 A mirror on the ground 24 Wides of Othman, a refugee friend of Bright, washing plates and returning inside the kitchen 25 Camera movement from an empty bottle of water to an hole in the tent 26-27-28 Various of objects left on the ground 29 Two white dogs 30-31-32-33 Various of objects left on the ground 34 Wide of an empty tent 35-36-37 Various of objects left on the ground 38 Long shot of refugee walking through the tents 39-40-41 Various of bottles left on the ground 42 Panning shot from a toilet to the inside of a tent 43 Wide of empty tents 44 Particular of a tent 45 Close to a small bush 46-47-48 Various of UNHCR tents 49 Particular of a tent 50 A chair left on the ground 51 Camera movement outside of a tent 52 Long shot of a refugee walking alone and talking to himself 53-54-55-56-57-58 Camera movement through the tents 59-60-61-62-63-64 Ismail training inside his tent 65 Panning shot from Ismail to the outside of the tent 66 Wide of Ismail's tent 67 Ground camera movement til a sign outside of a tent 68-69 Two dogs howling 70-71 A closed church 72-73-74-75 Wide of nigerian tent, from which we can listen their prayer 76-77 Wide of desert, while a muezzin calling to pray 78 Sunset through the tents
Bright O Samson, Nigerian refugee: 1 If they investigate properly, that means they undestand the transparency of my issue, but just decide to block me, maybe because I’m a Nigerian or something this I don’t understand. Just to block, is the key. I don’t know…this is what I feel and this is one of the reason that keeps me going and keep me strong because I had to really find justice to my life. I would not continue hanging like this, you know, living this kind of a life. 2 There is nobody who is happy living this sort of life, nobody is happy in this situation. When you came yesterday you met people dancing or singing? No there was no celebration…everybody is like so fed up and so frustrated the general situation is too extreme, when I say extreme..is like you wake up this morning and you get around in the stormy weather, in sun and dust and there is nothing that seems like hope. 3 The people who are behind this understand well what is a reason, what is keeping people here for 4 years and what is a suitable solution for a situation like this. Why are the people still there for four years? There are a lot of questions they are supposed to ask themselves, before coming up with the word eviction. That’s why I said yesterday that if eviction is suitable for them, if they really think it is a good solution, well they should go ahead and do it. But one point is clear, we will keep resisting against this oppression and injustice treatment that we have been receiving for all this years. The demand remains the same and the resentment in the country…even when the eviction and the military came the minister of defense itself…this is still the demand.