Since the dirty deal between the EU and Turkey was made on 18th of March the situation in Greece worsened rapidly. Safer formal ways through the Balkan-corridor were closed down already before by the European governments while more than 50,000 refugees are caught up inside Greece. More than 90% come from war torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and the majority are women and children. More than one month after the closure of the border to FYROM / Macedonia they are still under shock by the sudden changes unable even to consider alternatives such as relocation, family reunification or asylum. They cannot realize and accept that this is the new reality they have to confront, with everybody being stuck in limbo under inhuman conditions in refugee tent camps all over Greece.
From Monday, 4th of April, on the return agreement with Turkey will be implemented with more than 500 people being readmitted from the Hot Spots on the islands of the Aegean which have been turned into detention and deportation centres in practice. Only the ones applying for asylum or family reunification and unaccompanied minors will not be deported back to Turkey. Asylum applications since a few days have reached unprecedented peaks while the Asylum Service is not able to deal with the many applications. Statistic concerning Asylum applications in Greece 2016 and Hellenic police statistics illegal migration according to nationalities 2016 first 2 months: 61022 Syria, 32776 Afghanistan, 21907 Iraq.
Resistance against deportations in the hotspots on the Greek islands started already: in Moria, Lesvos, the Hot Spot that is totally overcrowded with more then 2,000 detainees a group consisting mainly of Pakistani refugees started a hunger strike. They belong to the five nationalities that are already affected by the more than 700 readmissions that were conducted since the beginning of the year. In “Vial”, the Hot Spot on Chios, half of the people escaped after a revolt on 2nd of April from the closed camp and marched to the port of Chios city where they are staying since then. They are protesting and demanding their freedom of movement in order to travel further on. Today again another protest was started in Vial by mainly Afghan refugees against their deportation. In Athens demonstrations for open borders took place already twice with hundreds of refugees most of which were Afghans, a major group within the refugee population who can not take part in the relocation program and who are largely excluded from the few possibilities of adequate reception conditions. In several open camps on the mainland protests within the last week refugees all over Greece demanded open borders as well as for better conditions in the camps.
Already since several weeks solidarity structures are being increasingly criminalized suffering repression by the authorities and exclusion from different official refugee agglomeration sites. We declare our deep solidarity with all the people who have been since months on the ground, struggling for the rights and dignity of those on the way and a lot of times for their mere survival. The example of Lesvos, which was for the last year the island with the highest number in arrivals, shows how an amazing amount of solidarity and the many support structures could create a welcoming atmosphere even in the hardest conditions reacting immediately to emergency situations contrary to the formal structures of the government, UNHCR or many bigger NGOs. Continue reading ‘Solidarity structures in Greece confronted with criminalization, control and diverse obstacles’
“I am seriously concerned about the introduction by the government of the amendment to Article 19 of the draft immigration code which would allow deportation following the rejection of any migrant’s complaint that they have been victim of racist or other unlawful violence by law enforcement officers.
While impunity of racist violence remains a persistent problem in Greece, the Greek government not only refrains from addressing it, but is proceeding to institutionalize it, and furthermore to penalize its victims! Last week it submitted to parliament an amendment to the country’s Immigration Code that mandates the deportation of immigrants who accuse state employees of using violence against them, in case their claims are officially rejected. It is hair-raising: this provision is a deterrent, punishing not the aggressors but the victims.
The Minister of Interior has temporarily redrawn from the amendment but announced it will be back next week. At the same time the whole article 19 of the code is gone, which concerns the possibility to receive a residence permit on humanitarian grounds also for victims of racist violence.
The economic crisis in Greece has led to a rise in support for the far-right Golden Dawn and an increase in racist attacks. Jamal Osman talks to one man who is fighting back.
Michael Chege and his friends patrol their neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, most nights. After many encounters with the neo-Nazi group, Golden Dawn, they set up their own brigade, nicknamed the Black Panthers.They want to protect themselves from the fascists who are targeting people who are not ethnic Greeks. Continue reading ‘Standing up to Golden Dawn in Greece’
The present report consists of two parts: First, the quantitative and qualitative findings of recording incidents of racist violence, through interviewing victims, by organizations participating in the Racist Violence Recording Network during 2012; and, second the Network’s positions on state responses and initiatives to combat racist crimes, including the adoption or amendment of relevant legislation or initiatives to do so. Continue reading ‘2012 Annual Report of the Racist Violence Recording Network’
Racist violence a real threat to democracy in Greece
Athens, 01/02/2013. “Impunity for the rising number of racist crimes in Greece has to end. The police, prosecutors and courts need to become fully acquainted with and give effect to existing anti-racism legislation, including the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination by which Greece is bound”, stated Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, at the end of his five-day visit to Greece. Continue reading ‘Greece: Commissioner Muiznieks says racist violence is a real threat to democracy’
On Friday 30 of November fascists of Golden Dawn attacked in the market of Kalithea (Aristeidou / Xarokopou street) two migrant street vendors (from Egypt and Pakistan). They were attacked and robbed. The man from Egypt is hospitalised with severe injuries on his head. The man was hospitalised in Tzanio hospital with injuries in the face and on his back. Suddenly, the police appeared in the hospital. Shortly after having his wounds stitched the injured man φελτ threatened by arrest ανδ before the medical examinations had even finished disappeared in order to go home where he felt secure.
This happens only two days after the incident in Agioi Anargiroi Hospital where an undocumented woman with cancer had been reported by the director of the hospital himself to the police for being undocumented.
Only one month ago fascists together with the police had attacked again migrants in the area of Kalithea, the officer using his gun to beat migrants on their heads.
Hasan 33 years old from Sudan, attacked by a group of racists in the center of Athens.
A CROSS ON HIS BACK
Hassan Mekki, a 32-year-old Sudanese migrant who fled conflict in his country in hope of a better life in Europe – suffers silently.
In August, he and a friend were walking in Athens when black-shirted men on motorcycles holding Greek flags came up and knocked him unconscious with a blow to the head, he said.
When he came to, he was covered in blood. Only later would he realize that his attackers, whom he says were likely tied to the far-right Golden Dawn party, had left large gashes resembling an “X” across his back.
“I don’t have the right papers, so I can’t go anywhere to ask for help,” Mekki said. “I can’t sleep. I’m scared, maybe they will follow me, and my life is in danger now.”
In the latest criticism of Greece’s handling of migrants, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on migrants’ rights condemned Greece for doing little to curb rising racist attacks. Much of the violence went unreported because victims were afraid of deportation if they went to the police, who were sometimes involved in the attacks, Francois Crepeau said.
... 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.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: The EU-Turkey refugee deal has left thousands of refugees and migrants in squalid and dangerous living conditions, and must not be replicated with other countries, Amnesty International said today ahead of the deal’s one year anniversary.The deal aimed at returning asylum-seekers back to Turkey on the premise that Turkey is safe for them, […]
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 […]