The new detention regime in Greece

Instead of rights protection of refugees and migrants Greece is investing in a new detention regime. See some of the new detention centers.

Amigdaleza detention center

The greek government is constructing a new detention landscape since the opening of the detention centre of Amigdaleza near by Athens. Only recently, in August 2012, a massive police lead pogrom (in Athens but also Korinth and elsewhere) resulted in the arrest of more than 2.500 migrants and refugees.

Amigdaleza detention center

Due to the lack of detention capacities the government turned to ad hoc solutions turning i.e. former police academies in Xanthi and Komotini or military camps in Korinth into provisory detention camps. Obviously, the strategy is to build national migration policies based on a policy of fear and to invest in detention and border militarisation as well as policing the streets of the greek cities in high frequency. The new detention centres might not be (yet) in such a devastating state as other older and more famous ones such as Pagani in Lesvos island (now closed) or other similar ones in Evros for which the Greek state has been condemned repeatedly on european level for the inhuman and degrading conditions, but they lack of any legal guarantees. Some detainees with legal residence permits have been wrongly transferred there because they had been arrested somewhere while they were not carrying their papers with them.

Korinth provisory detention center in a former army camp

Others are trying to access the asylum system form within detention but cannot succeed and again other who might have managed to apply for asylum fall out of the system because they cannot appeal in time. There is a huge lack in legal aid and proper medical treatment, mo access to the outside world etc. The general policy followed in these “ad hoc” detention centres seems to be to brake the detainees and force them to leave Greece “voluntarily” with the help of IOM (International Organisation of Migration).

New detention center in Komotini in former police academy

Komotini detention center

Xanthi detention center in former police academy