revolts in detention

Refugees are reacting to the widespread deprivation of their rights with resistance. At nearly all of the refugee detention camps along Europe’s external borders, struggles for human rights and for freedom are frequent.
Sometimes individual inmates go on hunger strike; sometimes long cycles of hunger strikes take place involving numerous detainees. Often mattresses or entire cells are set alight, or even whole detention blocks are burned down. Revolts include also self-injuries of detainees who try to be heard inside and outside the prison. They also include the try to escape from prison, which might have one of the implications for both the guards (who might get suspended) and thus react very aggressively on the escapees in case they are caught.

Many of the detainees who have been involved in protest actions in detention are charged with criminal acts such as “revolting”, “civil disorder”, “grievous bodily harm against an officer” etc. They are brought to the court without any means to defend themselves and in most cases convicted for a variety of acts ending up in prison for more or less long periods and often with a deportation decision. Those people show courage in an inhuman situation but are punished and disappear in prison were often NGOs and activists lose track of them. Even if contact is kept it is nearly impossible to offer legal support due to high expenses in felony cases. At this point we want to remind of all those brave detainees who dared to raise their voices and who are in one of the Greek prisons without any support.

Whether or not these actions manage to achieve publicity and these voices are finally heard is crucial in determining how bad the prison
staff and police subsequently might mistreat the strikers in order to repress the protest, or whether such protest ultimately prompts a wave of releases or even the closure of a particularly infamous detention camp.

In Greece revolts happen in nearly all detention centers and a lot of police or borderguard stations – most of the time unnoticed by the public and repressed by the authorities with mere violence and severe juridical penalties.

We try to break the silence and report on this blog.
Freedom – Azadi!

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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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