Syrian refugees in Syndagma Square/ Athens: 3rd day hunger strike; 8th day sit-in

300 persons in a sit-in, more than 150 on hunger strike, 45 children, at least 9 collapsed, 8 days sit-in, 3 days hunger strike

In a bid for better living conditions, temporary working permits and medical care, more than 200 Syrians – among them many families with small children – fleeing the war-torn country and seeking asylum in the EU, have begun a hunger strike in Athens’ main square. Protesters began to gather on Syntagma Square on November 19, camping out and sleeping on cardboard boxes and in sleeping bags before staging the hunger strike on Monday. Dozens of Syrians are living homeless in the streets of Athens and Thessaloniki without any support. The demonstrators, many of who sat with masking tape covering their mouths, called for the Greek government find a way to solve the refugee crisis. Read their declaration:
syrian-refugees-hunger-strike-.si

SYRIAN REFUGGEES IN GREECE AT SYNTAGMA SQUARE

We are the Syrian refugees who are standing from 19 November 2014 outside of Greek Parliament in Athens at Syntagma square.
We started hunger strike on 24 of November.
We demand full asylum rights as refugees.
We escaped from death in Syria. We escaped from death passing the Aegean sea. We want to live with dignity in Europe.
Our demands are the following:
· Open the boarding gates by affording us proper travel documents to enable us to travel abroad, inside European Union.
· Support the Syrian refugees who are blocked in Greece. Book ships to transfer them to the countries which have already announced that they are ready to accept them.
· Support Syrian refugees with full rights of refugee which include: regular salaries, shelter, food, health insurance, education, reunification of their families, and work permit.
We call the Greek government to solve this issue immediately.
We appeal to Greek Parliament to support our case.
We appeal to Greek people for solidarity to our demand for full asylum rights.

Blog by the syrian refugees in greece

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“Hunger strike until freedom”: Fourth day of hunger strike in Amygdaleza detention centre

“Hunger strike until freedom”*

On November 17th, 2014 hundreds of refugees detained administratively in the pre-removal centre of Amygdaleza started to protest massively against the prolonged detention of more than 18 months, against the detention of dozens of minors and the detention conditions that amongst others recently led to the death of two detainees.

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“They coop us up here like sheep and then don’t care anymore about us. (…)”
“There are persons detained 26 months. (…)”
“When we say ‘my stomach hurts’, they’d answer ‘my balls hurt’.”

Only on November 6th the 26-year-old Mohammed Asfak died of the consequences of beating by law enforcement officers in Corinth detention centre during one of the uprisings of migrants there 5-6 months ago. His injuries had not been taken care of adequately. He was only transferred to hospital after a break down. For 15 days he had been begging the police to bring him to the hospital as he had respiratory problems. When asking for medical aid, police even replied: “Die, we don’t care.” Only some days after this tragic incident, another detainee from Bangladesh died of lacking sufficient medical aid.

Yesterday, on the third day of hunger strike the Movement against Racism and Fascist Threat (KEERFA) reported of 15 detainees who had been transferred to the hospital after fainting and 90% participation in the hunger strike. KEERFA furthermore said that the detainees chose to go on hunger strike on November 17 as a symbolic move because the particular date marks the 41st anniversary of the student uprising against the junta.

The Amygdaleza detention center is 10 kilometers away from Athens and it is supposed to hold 1,000 inmates. In October 2014, the number of detainees was 1,600. The facility has repeatedly come under serious criticism both due to the indefinite time of the detention of migrants and refugees, as well as the squalid conditions they are held in. Among the approximately 1,600 detainees are many vulnerable groups such as 15-year-old children, asylum seekers, de facto refugees such as Syrians and other nationalities whose deportation is not feasible according to UNHCR such as Eritreans. There are also persons with close relatives in other EU-member states awaiting family reunification, victims of torture who have never been identified by the authorities and sick persons.
solidarité-avec-les-immigrants

“We will fight until freedom”, an underage refugee declared, who has been registered as adult.

Continue reading ‘“Hunger strike until freedom”: Fourth day of hunger strike in Amygdaleza detention centre’

Greek farmers who shot 28 workers for demanding pay walk free from court in ‘scandalous, racist’ verdict

A Greek court has sparked an “unprecedented racist scandal” after it cleared farmers who shot and wounded 28 Bangladeshi strawberry pickers when they asked to be paid.

In a verdict described as “an outrage and a disgrace” and which led to protests outside the court in the southern city of Patras, the owner of the farm and head foreman were cleared of all charges – which included human trafficking.

The incident in April last year saw farmers turn their shotguns on migrant workers in Manolada who had asked to be recompensed for six months of unpaid labour. Dozens were injured, four of them severely.
Continue reading ‘Greek farmers who shot 28 workers for demanding pay walk free from court in ‘scandalous, racist’ verdict’

Case closed in Greece: Survivors of Farmakonisi shipwreck decide to appeal before the European Human Rights Court

“Support our demands. Please, don’t leave us alone.”

The survivors and relatives of the victims of the Farmakonisi shipwreck are shocked as Greek authorities closed the investigations on the shipwreck of 20 January 2014, where eight children and three women died. Their vessel sank near the Greek island Farmakonisi while being towed by the Greek Coast Guard, which seems had been a pushback operation in breach of international law. As the investigation into the case has been closed a court procedure will not take place. farmakonisi_small

With this statement, the family members of the victims, including the surviving fathers and husbands, appeal to the European public. They demand clarification and justice for the dead:

Farmakonisi, 20.01.2014: Why?

We are very sad and shocked about the outcome of the so called investigation. The closure of the file is a slap in our faces.
The public prosecutor put the death of our love ones to archives. But our wives and our children are not a file, you cannot put them in the archives.
The Greek government promised a full investigation. The responsible politicians stressed, that they want to find out the truth. The outcome is a shame and humiliation for us. We want justice.
We demand a reopening of the investigations. The persons who are responsable for the death of our love ones have to be held accountable.
We appeal to the citizens of Europe, to the European institutions Support our demands. Please, don’t leave us alone.
Nothing will bring back our wives and kids. But without a reopening of the investigations and justice, the truth will be blurt and the human Rights violations in the aegean will go on. Many refugees died since the tragic event of farmakonisi.
We want justice.
Please, support us. Leave nothing undone to bring the death of our loved ones to justice.

Athens 31 July 2014

Family Ahmadi Family Azizi Family Safi

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65 refugees refuse to enter greece

… they want to continue their journey to Italy and therefore they remain on their boat.

20 nuatical miles awya from Argostoli in Kefalonia 65 refugees are trapped since yesterday in the international waters. They refuse to go on the Greek Coast Guard boats because they want to continue their journey to Italy.
At around 11 o’clock on Monday the adventure of the refugees became public as they lacked sufficient fuel so their boat could not continue its journey. A cargo ship that happened to be nearby and the Greek Coast Guard approached but the refugees refused to get off their boat and to be brouhgt to a nearby Greek island. Since almost 11 hours they are on the same point at the sea. The Greek Coast Guard is checking differnt possibilities to solve the situation. All 65 refugees are safe.

efimerida ton sindakton (in greek)

Migrant dies of heart attack in Amigdaleza detention centre

In Amigdaleza detention centre where currently around 1,650 sans-papiers are detained, some of which are there even longer than 18 months, a Pakistani migrant died today of a heart attack. His case is the third medical case of a detainee in detention with fatal consequences due to insufficient medical aid.Amigdaleza detention center
koutitispandoras (in greek)
efymerida ton sindakton (in greek)

Press Release: Unaccompanied minor severely self-injured himself in Moria “first reception” detention centre in Lesvos

PRESS RELEASE 21.07.14 Lesvos

Unaccompanied minor severely self-injured himself in Moria “first reception” detention centre in Lesvos

On 17/7/2014 a 17-year-old Afghan who had been detained for many days in Moria awaiting his transfer to a special reception centre for minors cut his arms in an act of despair and protest as he could not stand anymore being closed up for many days and under such conditions. He was transferred to the psychiatry department of the local hospital.

In Greece there are 10 reception centres for unaccompanied minors with about 330 places in total that need to cover the needs of thousands. At the same time that a vast number of reception places are lacking many minors fear long detention upon arrival in Greece in so called First Reception Camps (detention centres) if they register with their real age and register themselves as adults. The background: Unaccompanied minors arriving in first reception centres have to undergo a number of medical examinations and then wait for a place in one of the overcrowded reception centres in order to be released. The detention duration varies and can reach one month or more months, while delays depend on the crowdedness in the reception facilities.

As a consequence hundreds of unaccompanied minors register as adults. They are being transferred to Pre-removal Detention Centres at the mainland, such as Amigdaleza, Corinth, Komotini, Xanthi, Fylakio or Drama / Parenesti where legal aid is not existing. When they realise that they end up facing 18 months detention or more due to their changed age all of them try to find ways to proof that they are minors.

Anyhow, if age-assesment has taken place already in First Reception Detention it is unlikely if not impossible (without the help of a lawyer) the authorities will approve a second age-assesment later. Age-assesment procedures have been recently defined in a Ministerial Decision for First Reception but not for Pre-Removal Detention Centres. As a result the procedures vary in the different places and more than that the ways and methods carried out are highly questionable. For this reason among others many unaccompanied minors end up in 18 month detention.

We demand for the immediate creation of sufficient special reception centres for unaccompanied minors. In this frame the Reception Centre for Unaccompanied Minors in Agiassos, Lesvos, which was closed earlier this year despite the huge need should be re-opened with the necessary funding to allow for its functioning.

And we demand for the immediate release of all unaccompanied minors in first reception detention centres, pre-removal centres or any other form of detention. As provided for in the Guidelines on Policies and Procedures in dealing with Unaccompanied Children Seeking Asylum from UNHCR (1997) “(T)he child should be given the benefit of the doubt if the exact age is uncertain” and “the main guiding principle in any child care and protection action is the principle of the ‘best interest of the child'”.

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Greece wants more EU-money for more detention centres due to increase in arrivals

Greece needs more EU funds for immigration, minister says

Greece needs more funding from the European Union to deal with the increased flow of undocumented immigrants in the eastern Aegean, Public Order Minister Vassilis Kikilias said in an interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini.

According to the minister, there has been an 800 percent increase in the number of irregular migrants reaching Greece via boat from Turkey over the last two years.

He said that Greece was finding it increasingly difficult to deal with this influx and that it would require further funding from the EU, which has recently reduced the budget for its Frontex border agency.

Kikilias said Greece has asked for emergency funding to cover the cost of hosting migrants in reception centers and to create a mobile unit to process asylum applications.

“On the one hand it is our duty to protect our borders, on the other it is also our duty to provide humane holding conditions to migrants, who are, after all, human souls in absolute misery,” he said.

source: ekathimerini (in English)

17-year-old Afghan self-injured himself to protest detention in Lesvos

A 17-year-old Afghan self-injured himself to protest against the long detention duration in Moria “first Reception” detention camp in Lesvos, Greece.

He has been transferred to the psychiatric clinic of Lesvos Bostation Hospital. A number of unaccompanied minors have stayed even up to two months in Moria awaiting transfer to a special open camp for separated children. The long duration of detention is the reason for many minors to register themselves as adults in fear of being locked up long periods. Anyway, thereby they loose not only their rights as children but also often end up in 18 month (and longer) detention as adults in one of the many pre-removal detention centres at the mainland.

Moria in April 2014 while the construction of the fences was not yet finished

Moria in April 2014 while the construction of the fences was not yet finished

efimerida ton sindakton (in greek)

11.07.14 Shipwreck near Samos: 6 dead, 23 survivors and more than 8 missing

On the early noon of Sunday 11th of July a refugee boat got in distress 10nm North East of Karlovasi, Samos. The refugee boat carrying approximately 35-40 people was a sailing boat according to the testimonies of the survivors.
The causes of the shipwreck are not yet clear. The media speak about bad weather conditions, overloaded boat, panic, sudden movement of the passengers etc as possible causes.

On Sunday there are 15 survivors in the Greek side (9 were brought to Chios, 6 to Samos) and 8 survivors on the Turkish side (2 near the shipreck area and 6 norhernof this area). In Samos Hospital (ICU) there is a minor in intensive care. They were trying to transfer him to Mytilini ICU but his severe health condition made the transfer impossible.

2 corpses were found Friday on the Greek side: a dead man and a dead woman and 2 more bodies (of a man and a boy) were found on Saturday also on the Greek side. Another two corpses were found on the Turkish side.

At least 8 persons are still missing.

The rescue operation was carried out with 4 Greek coast guard boats, 1 helicopter and 5 boats that were sailing in the area that day.

Until now there was no information about the nationalities of the survivors or their health condition.
Continue reading ‘11.07.14 Shipwreck near Samos: 6 dead, 23 survivors and more than 8 missing’

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... is like a “paper boat”. We chose this as a metaphor for what we want to create and for the situation of refugees and migrants in Greece. The paper boat is a folded boat able to swim – for a while. Then you have to build a new one to go on travelling. A paper boat is symbolic for the journey of life, vulnerable but in your own hands and to be recreated again and again. It is simple, but it carries many hopes and dreams. It can dance on a turbulent sea. It belongs to everybody. And it might become the small version – like a first draft – of a welcome-space.

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