Lesvos: More refugees dying on dangerous routes to asylum in Europe

Another refugee boat with 15 passengers got lost only three months after the tragedy that cost the lives of 21 refugees in December of last year on Lesvos island. Eight Syrian refugees a lost in the sea between Turkey and Lesvos. Six corpses were already found on the coast of the island. Relatives have arrived to look out for their beloved. One 17-year-old pregnant woman from Syria has been already recognised.
Last Friday the Greek coast guard had found already three of the corpses – of one woman and two children near Eressos beach. It seems the small boat got in distress only a few days earlier while the corpses were brought to the coast by the strong winds of the days. Saturday afternoon relatives of lost refugees reported to the police of Lesvos the disappearance of eight Syrians (two men, a woman, two minors and three children). They had started their dangerous journey in Dikili in Turkey but they never arrived. On Sunday another three corpses were found. Unfortunately the corpses are not to be recognised anymore since they were many days in the sea.

Meanwhile refugees continue to arrive on the island. On Monday 63 refugees were arrested my LEsvos police. Another 16 Afghans had spent some nights in the park of Mytilini city since the police was denying to register / arrest them. The local solidarity network “The village of all-together” supplied the homeless refugees with blankets, clothes and food.

efimerida ton sindakton (in greek)

lesvos news (in greek)
embros (in greek)
tvxs (in greek)

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL – PRESS RELEASE
20 March 2013

Refugees dying on dangerous routes to asylum in Europe

In a case highlighting the risks people take when fleeing conflict in their countries to seek refuge in Europe, the authorities of Lesvos continue their search for the bodies of asylum-seekers who had attempted to reach the Greek island.

Since last Friday, they have found the bodies of six Syrian nationals including a 17-year-old pregnant woman and a mother with her young children. They are now searching for the bodies of three more Syrian nationals whose families had reported missing to the island authorities after the nine attempted to cross from Turkey on 6 March 2013.

Lesvos is one of the main crossings for migrants and refugees trying to enter the European Union via the Greek mainland. Last December, 21 people (mostly Afghans) drowned close to the shores of the island, after the boat they were in capsized.

Since last summer, people fleeing the conflict in Syria have featured among those attempting the crossing, including many families with young children.

“As Greece is tightening the border controls in Evros, including the completion of a 10.5km fence last December, people take more and more dangerous routes. This was a tragedy waiting to happen,’’ said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director of the Europe and Central Asia Programme.

“It is vital that the Greek authorities ensure protection to all asylum-seekers reaching the country. Instead, the Greek asylum system is grossly failing them. People who flee conflict, including many Syrians and Afghans who make it to the shores of Lesvos, are detained in police stations in overcrowded and poor conditions or in many cases left destitute to sleep in the streets.’’

“The Greek authorities should also take urgent measures to improve the reception conditions of those arriving at its shores and end the detention of asylum-seekers. In addition, Syrian nationals with no papers fleeing the conflict, must not be detained or issued with deportation orders and the authorities should proceed with a fair and effective examination of their asylum claims.”

“It is very painful to watch the same tragedy repeating in the shores of our own island,” said Efi Latsoudi, a local activist and member of the ‘Village of altogether’ – an initiative run by of volunteers who step in when state support for refugees and migrants is not available.

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.

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email: infomobile.w2eu@gmail.com

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