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Minors separated from their family in Moria / Greek coast guard punctures refugee boat under the eyes of Frontex

Two days between Kara Tepe tent camp and the port of Mytilene (24.7.-25.7.15)

Camping for days in the port waiting for their family to be released

Camping for days in the port waiting for their family to be released


A small Afghan boy is sitting outside a blue tent built up just behind the kiosk in the port of Mytilene. On the other side of the tent there are some other Afghan minors sitting on a blanket on the floor and leaning at the walls of an abandoned swimming hall. It is late in the night. His elder brother has fever. He is climbing out of the tent to join us. The two underage boys from Afghanistan are camping there already since four nights. They arrived to Lesvos together with their mother and father and two little sisters. In Moria they registered themselves as adults, as other people advised them to avoid reporting their real ages for the own good. Then the two of them got released alone.

“We fear to loose track of our family if we move away from here,” F. the elder brother says. “My father said we should wait here for them.” He seems exhausted and under pressure carrying all the responsibility of holding his family together on his small shoulders. With an official note ordering them to leave the country within 30 days, both boys’ time is running out, while they wait for their relatives. “My father said they would be released today. Again they didn’t let them go. Others were only one night in there. I don’t understand why they don’t let them free.”

A group of activists from the Christian Peacemakers is visiting the two minors twice a day in the port and tries to support them in what they wish most: to reunite with their family.

The next morning around 6 o’clock and only some meters further away from the tent of the two boys hundreds of refugees queue in front of the little van from the coast guard parked next to the swimming hall in the port. An area of approx. 40

Queue for registration in the port of Mytilene

Queue for registration in the port of Mytilene

m2 is fenced provisory to keep control of the people waiting. An officer is shouting rudely on the people. “Sit down. Go back. Go back. It’s not good here? Then go back to Turkey!” Every now and then a bus comes and takes the ones registered away. There were already three busses and still people queue. New people arrive constantly. The procedure continues for hours.
Queueing for a ticket to Athens

Queueing for a ticket to Athens


Just around the corner around 200 people are waiting to buy a ticket for the ferry. Everyone is trying to find out what the ticket costs, how long the boat will take to Athens and where to go next. On the other side of the abandoned swimming hall one can still find a few tents. Some days ago, refugees had build a small tent village just bellow the statue at the rims of the port. Wet clothes were hanging next to the tents to dry under the sun. They disappeared only for new ones to appear slowly and one by one.
Leaving Mytilene as fast as possible...

Leaving Mytilene as fast as possible…


Near the ticket office an Afghan mother is washing her baby at a public water tap. A hand full of families with small children and babies sit on the ground and watch the ferry arriving. Aside another family is standing in a corner, desperate to find some Euros to be able to leave from the island.

“We don’t have any money left. Western Union is closed. We don’t know what to do. My baby is only four months old. We slept in the cold without blankets so she got sick. We didn’t eat since two days when we got released. One shop gave as two pieces of bread as they saw our difficult situation. What should we do?”

The family arrived a few days ago on the island. Similar to most others they also walked more than 40 kilometers to the city to register with the coast guard. Then they spent five days in Kara Tepe tent camp and one night in Moria detention center.

Syrian family in Kara Tepe tent camp

Syrian family in Kara Tepe tent camp


Nowadays in Kara Tepe there are only people from Syria. The police is transferring all others to Moria. There are many families and single men on the former.

“Look, there is a scorpion.” A young man points to the dead animal in the sand just next to his tent. “How can I sleep here? It’s filthy, there are so many people… I can’t sleep here. We stayed all night awake.” He looks tired and angry. “We just escaped war. I faced death dozens of times.”

Just a few meters away from him yesterday a 45 old Syrian collapsed. The Ambulance came and took him to the hospital but he died already during his transfer to hospital. The medical cause of his death is not yet clear, but one thing is obvious, that the lack of medical aid in the provisory tent camp but also in Moria has fatal consequences. The man is the second within a few days, who died due to the absence of any reception system newly arriving refugees currently face in the Aegean.

Again today hundreds of people arrive on the island. Amongst others, the Greek coast guard in cooperation with a Norwegian Frontex vessel arrested 79 persons in two dinghies near the coast of the island.

“The Greek coast guard almost killed us,” T. from Syria says. The young man is angry. He has escaped from death in Syria just to risk his life again on his route to safety. “I knew what I would face. I know the way to Europe is very difficult and dangerous.” Still he didn’t expect that Greek coast guard would put their lives at risk. “We were 54 people in a dinghy of 9 meters. There were seven children on board plus a pregnant woman in the eighth month. We started in the night around 1 o’clock from the Turkish coast. After about one hour driving we understood there was another boat driving around us in the dark. Suddenly it appeared from our back turned its flood lights on and an officers shouted in Greek language something through the loudspeakers. We didn’t stop because we knew if we stop and they would maybe force us to return. After 10 minutes of driving a second smaller boat appeared besides our dinghy. The officers on board were wearing red uniforms. On of the six officers shouted in English we should stop our boat. Another was taking fotos of us. Then the boat turned away and the bigger one from the back got closed. They took a long metal stick and tried to beat the person who was driving the boat with it. Then they puncture our boat and it sank suddenly. We all fell in the sea. They were watching us fighting for our lives in the sea without helping for 15 minutes. The women were crying. We were all afraid. We could still see the second boat in a distance. They didn’t take any fotos while the others punctured our boat, but they now returned and took fotos from us in the sea. Then the officers on the first boat took us on board one by one. The pulled us from our clothes up and pushed us on deck. Many of us hurt themselves and some got even beaten. They through some of our bags in the sea. People lost their documents, their medicine and clothes. One of us had 2000 Dollars in his bag. It was a white boat and the officers were not masked. I believe it was our luck, because they say if the masked ones catch you, they will not only ill-treat and steal you but they will puncture your boat and leave you behind in the sea without help.” T. is stressed. He wants to find a way to get his fathers telephone number to inform him that he is alive. “I saved the number in my phone, but when we fell in the sea it broke.” His walked to Mytilene to find a hat for the sun and a solution for his phone which isn’t working. “We are living under terrible conditions in the camp. I had to buy a tent for 30 Euros because I couldn’t stay in this place. I asked the police for permit to take a hotel, but they said it was forbidden as long I wasn’t registered. I hope they register us today so that we can leave to Athens. It is not bearable to stay longer in this camp. We will get sick there for sure.”

Two unaccompanied minors from Syria spending the night in the port to wait for the ferry

Two unaccompanied minors from Syria spending the night in the port to wait for the ferry


In the night more and more refugees reach the port of Lesvos. They were just released from Moria and left to walk to the city by themselves – most of them in the middle of the night. Among them are women, children, babies, unaccompanied minors, elderly…. There are a few tents near the seaside and dozens of people sleeping inside and next to them. Mothers hold their 3-6 months old babies in their arms to protect them from the cold. In the shadows of the passenger terminal for the Turkey passengers hundreds of people sleep crunched next to each other while a few remain awake to guard their families and friends. The whole port is full of refugees. Everywhere: on the banks, near the sea, around the statue on the ground… people are sleeping. Around 600 persons take the ship the next morning and again dozens have arrived newly to queue in front of the coast guards little van.
Syrian families have crunched together to warm each other in the night

Syrian families have crunched together to warm each other in the night

The two little brothers from Afghanistan still wait. They could be finally convinced to move away from their tent in the port to the open welcome center PIKPA, run by activists of the solidarity group “Village of All Together” in order to be more protected and taken care of. It remains unclear when their family will be finally allowed to join them.

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21.7.15: W2eu / Infomobile Greece: Call for Solidarity for refugees in Greece

UNHCR estimates that currently 1,000 refugees reach daily Greece. Most of them arrive on the islands of the Aegean, at the sea border to neighbouring Turkey. Lesvos, Chios, Kos, Samos, Leros only to name some of the islands with high numbers of newcomers face a humanitarian crisis that cannot and shouldn’t be dealt with solely by the Greek government. European solidarity is needed.

Homeless Afghan families sleep in public parks

Homeless Afghan families sleep in public parks

Despite the current political and economic crisis nowadays solidarity has emerged mainly from the civil society with local people together with tourists trying to support where needed. Yet there are hundreds if not thousands of refugees spending days and weeks under devastating conditions in provisory tent camps, detention centres or on the streets exposed to the weather and unprotected. There is no sanitary infrastructure that can suffice the real needs. Hygiene is getting more and more a serious issue leaving many persons with skin diseases or infections i.e. of the stomach. There is not enough food, clothes, hygiene products, medicine, cleaning products, tents etc. Everything is needed.

Also in the main urban centers such as Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras as well as in border regions such as Eidoumeni / Kilkis in the North refugees are concentrating while in transit for days if not longer. They stay often homeless in public squares and parks or simply on the streets, fields or forests. Their situation is getting more and more critical every day.

What is urgently needed:

– Money donations, so that needed products (specifically fresh ones like food) can be bought in Greece for refugees. We want to support the Greek economy too, which has been exhausted by European austerity measures.
– Sun crèmes, sun hats (specifically for children) and mosquito sprays (for children)
– Baby milk powder, pampers, baby summer clothes and shoes
– Tents, light sleeping bags and towels
– Sandals and sport shoes for women, men and children
– Soap, shampoo, washing powder for clothes, skin crèmes
– Medicine (which should be send to the social clinics or social farmacies in Greece preferably though)
– Any support in men force is wanted too if self-organised, self-financed and independent. Please contact local NGOs or solidarity groups if you plan to come for help.

Please send monetary donations to:

Wohnschiffprojekt Altone e.V.
Keyword: Infomobile
Banc: Hamburger Sparkasse
IBAN: DE06200505501257122737
BIC: HASPDEHHXXX

For sending any other donations contact us, tell us what you want to send / bring and we will discuss where it makes more sense to address the donations as situations change over time locally.

http://infomobile.w2eu.net/ and http://lesvos.w2eu.net/

Contakt: lesvos.w2eu@yahoo.gr

Welcome to Europe / Infomobile Griechenland: Aufruf zur Solidarität mit Flüchtlingen in Griechenland

Gegenwärtig erreichen – nach Schätzungen des UNHCR – täglich etwa 1.000 Flüchtlinge Griechenland. Die meisten von ihnen kommen von der benachbarten Türkei aus auf den Ägäis-Inseln an. Lesbos, Chios, Kos, Samos, Leros – um nur einige der Inseln mit einer hohen Zahl von Neuankommenden zu nennen – stehen vor einer humanitären Krise, mit der sich nicht allein die griechische Regierung beschäftigen kann. Die staatlichen Stellen sind von den stark ansteigenden Flüchtlingszahlen komplett überfordert und internationale Hilfe ist kaum vorhanden.

Europäische Solidarität ist dringend notwendig.

Auch in der aktuellen politischen und wirtschaftlichen Krise zeigen sich Menschen aus der Zivilgesellschaft in Griechenland solidarisch und versuchen gemeinsam mit der lokalen Bevölkerung und Touristen dort Unterstützung zu leisten, wo sie am dringendsten benötigt wird. Hunderte, wenn nicht Tausende von Flüchtlingen, verbringen Tage und Wochen unter verheerenden Bedingungen in provisorischen Zeltlagern, Haftzentren oder auf der Straße, dem Wetter ausgesetzt und ungeschützt. Sie haben keinerlei sanitäre Infrastruktur, die den Bedürfnissen genügen könnte. Die Frage der Hygiene wird mehr und mehr zu einem ernsten Problem. Viele Menschen erleiden Hauterkrankungen oder Infektionen. Es fehlt an Nahrungsmitteln, Kleidung, Hygieneartikeln, Medikamenten, Reinigungsmitteln, Zelten etc. Alles wird gebraucht.

Homeless refugees in Omonia Square

Homeless refugees in Omonia Square


Continue reading ‘Welcome to Europe / Infomobile Griechenland: Aufruf zur Solidarität mit Flüchtlingen in Griechenland’

Greek authorities mark arms of in Crete stranded Syrian refugees with registration numbers

In the night of the 12.05.2015 a refugee boat by the name of “M/S Sula” carrying 192 refugees got in distress near Palaiochora, Crete. The mainly Syrian passengers were saved and brought to a closed gym. According to testimonies of refugees the police authorities wrote registration numbers on their arms while they were sleeping. Representatives of local NGOs explained, this was a common practice during massive arrivals on the island.

registration numbers marked on the arms of the refugees

registration numbers marked on the arms of the refugees


It’s the second arrival of a refugee boat in Crete within one month. The “M/S Sula” had reportedly started in Antalya, Turkey and was heading towards Italy when the bad weather conditions forced the refugees to send SOS to Greek authorities. Most of the passengers were Syrian protection seekers while there were also some Palestinians. There were also 70 children among them as well as five unaccompanied minors. All refugees were first brought to a closed gym. The minors were then transferred the next day to detention in the police station of Souda/Chania awaiting a free place in a reception center for minors. UNHCR and IOM representatives visited them the first day of arrival. On May 14, 2015 most of the newcomers were transferred to Athens with an official note that allows them to stay for six months in Greece.
"M/S Sula" - 12.05.15

“M/S Sula” – 12.05.15

In the meantime, six persons were arrested and charged as smugglers. One of these arrested was traveling with his wife. She had to be brought to emergency department of the Hospital of Chania because of a panic attack on May 14, 2015 and following the arrest of her husband.

R. from Syria:

“We went to Lebanon and from there to Turkey. We wanted to go directly to Italy. Our boat was only 35 meters long while we were more than 180 persons. It was in a very bad condition being rusty and old and the waves were getting very high. We were four days on the sea. It was very dangerous. Some people got crazy of fear and started screaming. All people in the boat vomited. We were alone in the sea. No other ships. We called for help. Then the Greek authorities came and brought us to Crete. The police wrote registration numbers on our arms. They called me with the number. That is horrible. It’s not my name.”

M. from Syria:

“I am from Damascus. I lost everything in Syria. I just have my family. A lot of friends are dead. Some of my friends escaped to Europe. Others stayed in Syria fighting. I want to go to Germany to save my family. (…) When no NGOs and no journalists are here in the gym during night, they start shouting on us. They also don’t allow us to go out. The first night while I was sleeping, they came and wrote on my arm this number. I feel horrible about this. Why they put a number on me? Why they call me by a number? We are humans. We have names. Even they wrote numbers on small children arms.”

See also: Hellenic Coast Guard Press Release

Hunger strike of unaccompanied minors in Lithi police station

540670_111975469002392_1093727323_nOn Thursday 19, 2014 about 17 unaccompanied minors started a hunger strike in Lithi police station near Thessaloniki. Most of them were only recently released after months of detention. They had been in pre-removal centres such as Corinth, Amygdaleza or Paranesti Drama while waiting to be assessed as underage and / or awaiting their transfer to one of the scarce accommodation places for minors in open reception centres. Some of the minors detained in Lithi have been already more than six months detained. They have been arrested as they left the reception centers hosting them and were reported missing thereafter. The so called “protective detention” is supposed to be the better alternative than leaving them on the streets. This kind of “protection” is not wanted by any of them.

Currently only around 350 places are available in 12 reception centres all over Greece while there are nearly 200 registered unaccompanied minors waiting in detention for a place in order to get released. The new government has announced to focus on the creation of reception centers and the release of vulnerable groups like unaccompanied minors from detention.
The minors held in Lithi demand their immediate freedom.
Minors should receive special protection and not long and repeated detention!

NO PRISONS!
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT IS EVERYBODYS’ RIGHT!

update:
On Friday 20, 2014 two minors were brought to hospital.
The hunger strike continued until the evening.

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

follow the twitter here

read also in english vice news
read also in english irish times

“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.

015918376_40100

“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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... 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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RSS Clandestina

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