Terror and Fear in the Open Sea near Zakynthos – Letter by the Afghan Commission of Political Refugees

Athens, 28th of September 2011

Terror and Fear in the Open Sea

In the open sea close to Zakynthos a group of 65 Afghan and Iraqi-Kurdish refugees experienced days of terror and fear when they were trying to reach the Italian shore. They were in serious danger of death by drowning and starvation when their boat went into distress. Among them were many children and families. One of them lost his life, while trying to save himself by swimming. Two others took their last breaths in the hospital, following their rescue after 11 days on the open sea.

refugees in an overcrowded boat trying to find a safe haven


The tragic story of refugees and migrants who are forced to leave behind their home due to war, poverty and persecution takes no end. Among the refugees in the boat many had already lost relatives on the sea and land borders on their way from Afghanistan and Iraq through other countries and until here. Their tragic stories continue in Greece, a country, which in the name of crisis and a repressive migration policy of Fortress Europe denies providing refugees with their basic rights, with a functioning reception infrastructure and integrating them into social and economical life. This gives the extreme-right a leeway to target them both ideologically and in practice on the streets and to use them as scapegoats of a policy of poverty and misery. It leads the refugees and migrants to a further quest for a safe life in another country – whatever it may cost.

This incident is not rare but it is a tough reality with many victims. Many boats in distress, many deaths at the borders – and the European governments are well aware of it.
Following this tragedy some of the survivors returned to Athens, among them a single father with his two small kids (4-6 years old) in his arms, searching for some corner on the squares and streets of Athens. In their hands the deportation order, which the police authorities gave them without asking where they will go or what they will eat. Nobody asked them if they need protection or if they want to claim asylum.

Respectfully,

The Commission of Afghan Political Refugees

The infomobile

... 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.

Get in touch

email: infomobile.w2eu@gmail.com

RSS Clandestina

  • STOP WAR ON MIGRANTS
    Clandestina participates in the ‘Stop War On Migrants’ campaign. The campaign was initiated on October 2019, after the announcement of the new anti-immigration policy in Greece. This is the text that presented the new governmental policy on migration and called for launching the campaign (Oct. 2019): StopWar_leaflet_EN This is a presentation of the assembly of […]

RSS Group of Lawyers – Athens

  • NOTICE
    The GROUP OF LAWYERS FOR THE RIGHTS OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES advises you that legal counselling WILL NOT be provided anymore after 18th December 2018. You are therefore kindly requested to contact other organisations providing legal assistance. ________________________________________________________ Le GROUPE DES AVOCATS POUR LES DROITS DES MIGRANTS ET DES RÉFUGIÉS souhaite vous informer que

RSS the border is the problem