We implored them for help, they threw us in the river
by Dimitris Angelidis
International report – catapults
The systematic and extended application of the illegal practice of readmissions has been registered in a series of reports by international organisms and organizations in the last years. Nevertheless the Greek authorities ostentatiously ignore the allegations, creating a regime of impunity which closes their eyes when it comes to massive violations of fundamental rights of migrants and refugees.
According to the report of Amnesty International “Frontier Europe” which was published in July, the Commissioner Malmstrom expressed her big concern for the allegations and stated that if they are proved or continue “it is possible to lead to a suspension or termination of a part of or of all Frontex operations in the Greek-Turkish borders”.
The commissioner could have been more strict in her statements, if they wouldn’t reflect Europe’s shift into a more conservative migration and refugees’ policy. “Migrants who manage to cross the European borders, are often victims of push-backs” reported on Monday three international organizations on a common press release with the Hellenic League for Human Rights, that accuses the EU for promoting practices that penalize migrants and invest in border control, instead of creating reception structures. Continue reading ‘Push-back of 150 Syrians in Evros: An eye-witness speaks out’
When the boat got in distress the reguees called the Hellenic coastguard. Upon arrival the boat had turned already around, 12 persons were found dead until now – among them four children. 15 persons could be saved. They informed the authorities that more people are missing. iefimerida (in greek)
With reference to the report issued on November 7th 2013 by the German NGO Pro-Asyl, titled “Pushed Back – Systematic human rights violations against Refugees in the Aegean Sea and the Greek-Turkish land border”, the UNHCR Regional Representative for Southern Europe, Mr. Laurens Jolles, stated the following:
UNHCR is concerned over reports of asylum seekers and migrants being forcibly returned (“push-back”) from Greece to Turkey, as published by the German NGO ‘Pro Asyl’. The numbers and scale of the alleged incidents, which reportedly also involve persons fleeing Syria, raise serious concerns.
UNHCR stresses the vital importance of permitting people to access territory to seek international protection. If practices to prevent this, which could put asylum seekers at risk, are taking place they should cease immediately. Continue reading ‘UNHCR: Statement about report on push-backs from Greece to Turkey’
According to the Afghan community in Greece, Nezam Hakimi died on November 4th, 2013 after four months of detention. His cancer had not been treated during that period. He is another victim of the new mass detention centers for migrants.
Only four months earlier, in July 27th, Mohammad Hassan had died after 11 months of detention in Corinth.
Pushed Back – systematic human rights violations against refugees in the aegean sea and at the greek turkish land border
On the Greek-Turkish land border refugees are systematically refouled with brutal, shocking and systematic violations of human rights: ‘When they left us in the Turkish waters they made waves again and six of us – all men – fell into the sea. The Greeks saw that, but they didn’t help, they just left.’ PRO ASYL documents these systematic pushback in the report “Pushed Back – systematic human rights violations against refugees in the aegean sea and the greek-turkish land border”. With few exceptions, all documented pushback took place in the area of operations of Frontex. PRO ASYL raises the question of the involvement of Frontex on the human rights violations and calls: Frontex must end its operations in Greece.
The Monaghan Report on the scandalous death of Jimmy Mubenga during his expulsion from Britain highlighted the broader issue of the inhuman treatment of immigrants in Europe. We become more and more accustomed to their demonisation and dehumanisation; even worse, the recent “Go Home” vans campaign in Britain warns that immigrant-bashing might soon become something like official policy. A system in crisis needs scapegoats, and the immigrants come in handy here, being much sexier scapegoats than bankers. Could this be a prelude to a wider authoritarian turn? Just watch what is happening in Greece.
The plight of the newcomers has often been described in words and in film. It does not lack official sanction. Before the elections, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, whose extreme Right past and affiliations are no secret, decried that “our cities have been occupied by illegal immigrants; we will take them back”. This would actually be an act of charity towards Greek children: “Kindergartens are now full of immigrant children, and Greeks cannot enter. This will stop!” he added. Nikos Dendias, Minister for Public Order, put things into perspective: “Immigration is a problem perhaps greater than the [economic crisis]“. Such declarations are not taken by the police as implying that immigrant rights are sacrosanct. As for the judicial and the administrative system, they protect these rights no better. In all, asylum seekers are systematically detained and face inhuman or degrading treatment. This is not leftist rhetoric, but an official statement of the highest EU Court of Justice, which in 2011 put a ban on the deportation of asylum seekers to Greece for exactly that reason. Continue reading ‘The new untouchables, An essay by Spyros Marchetos’
Referring to the “accidental” death of Lamis Abounahi and her two children, 3-year-old Undai and 9-month-old Layal, due to a fire on the mountains of Samos.
Early in the morning of the 21st of July, an inflatable boat heading from Turkey to Greece abandons Syrian refugee Wasim Abounahi, his wife Lamis, their two children, Undai and Layal and their friends Jihad Kelani and Mohammad Basis on a rocky shore on the island of Samos.
The refugees climb up the steep mountain side and hide in a near-by forest until dark. Lamis is very sick and worn out, so they decide to use their only cellphone, to call the emergency number of the Turkish authorities (7777) and ask for help -Kelani speaks very good English. The Turks trace their cellphone signal and answer back soon after to inform them on their position, giving them the emergency number of the Greek authorities (112). The refugees fail to reach 112, so they ask the Turks to contact the Greek authorities for them. Indeed, after a few minutes they receive a call from a Greek cell, Kelani explains to the woman on the other side of the line the dire straits they’re in and they agree to light a small fire on the edge of the rock so that the lifeboat can spot them. Continue reading ‘Chronicle of a state crime: The death of a Syrian mother and her two children in Samos’
... 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.
A 13-year-old girl of Serbian origin has died of carbon monoxide poisoning in an apartment in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. The young girl and her mother used indoors a barbecue apparatus in order to heat themselves, as DEI (the electricity supply company in Greece) has cut-off electricity because of unpaid bills. The mother was arrested for […]
On 25. November 2013 the Five-Member Naval Court of Piraeus found two out of three accused coast guards guilty for having committed acts of torture against an asylum seeker, including restricting the victim's breathing so as to simulate drowning and suffocation ('wet and dry submarino'), carrying out mock execution, as well as other serious at […]
Statement of the network “Welcome to Europe“, 6th of August 2013 Since Sunday night, 5th of August, the tanker “Salamis”, whose crew rescued 102 boatpeople is blocked on open sea by Maltese maritime forces. The refugees came in distress while fleeing via Libya in direction of Europe. Since more than 34 hours the ship is […]