Tag Archive for 'asylum'

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Amnesty International: Asylum-seekers and migrants in Greece hounded by police operations and right-wing extremists

Greece is seriously failing to respect the rights of asylum-seekers and migrants, Amnesty International warned in a briefing published on December 20th.

Every year, tens of thousands of irregular migrants and asylum-seekers from the Middle East, Asia and Africa cross the Greek land and sea border with Turkey in search of shelter, refuge or just a better life within the European Union (EU). Few of them find it in Greece.

Amnesty International’s briefing Greece: The end of the road for refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants charts the obstacles they encounter entering the country and challenges they face once there.
Continue reading ‘Amnesty International: Asylum-seekers and migrants in Greece hounded by police operations and right-wing extremists’

Protest at the detention centre in Corinth reveals inhuman and degrading detention conditions

The provisory detention centre for sans-papiers was opened about four months ago in an overnight action by the Ministry of Citizen Protection and Public Order. It is one of three mass detention centres – the others are located in Xanthi and in Komotini – which were set up by the new government in the summer to fit the thousand arrested sans-papiers captured during the Xenios Dias sweep operation. There have been repeated protests by the mayor of Corinth against the creation of this detention centre. He even reached the point to cut off the water supply.

Corinth provisory detention center in a former army camp

The building was originally an army camp at the outskirts of Corinth city. Sans-papiers were arrested in massive sweeps and were brought from various places, such as Corinth and Patras, to this detention centre. A couple of NGOs have tried ever since to enter the prison in order to monitor the situation, screen the detainees and offer legal aid, but access has been denied. They could only see a hand full of detainees of whom they had their names in advance.

Yesterday, solidarity groups from Patras and Corinth but also from other places hold a protest in front of the detention centre. A delegation of seven persons entered the detention centre (with 2 parliamentarians of Syriza, a doctor, a lawyer, interpreters and members of the Movement for the Support of the Rights of Refugees and Migrant of Patras as well as the Antirascist Initiative of Corinth) More than 650 persons were detained in the overcrowded detention centre for the reason of “illegal entry”, “illegal stay” or “illegal exit” to/in/from Greece.

Detainees reported to the delegation that they were lacking warm water, they have insufficient food, no access to information and lawyers and seldom visits of doctors always without any interpreters, many lack medicine they need to take and thus remain sick in their cells.
Among the detainees were many minors, there were family fathers whose families upon their arrest were left behind without anyone to take care, there were persons who wanted to apply for asylum but could not manage and others who had applied 4 months earlier but were not released within the legal maximum period of detention for asylum seekers (3 months). Others had managed to apply for asylum but received during detention the rejection and lacked any information and legal aid to appeal within the given period of 15 days, therefore, falling out of the asylum system.
Reportedly, there are also many cases of ill-treatment by the authorities.

No concentration camps!
Never and nowhere!

best news (in greek)

see also older articles:
zougla tv (in greek)
letter by the syndicate of the police concerning hygiene in the detention centre of Corinth, October 17, 2012 (in greek)

read also the press release of the NGO AITIMA, September 13, 2012 (in greek)

New report: “HUMAN CARGO. Arbitrary readmissions from Italian sea ports to Greece”

download the report

Dublin’s Trap: Another Side of the Greek Crisis (2012)

Watch: “Dublin’s Trap: Another Side of the Greek Crisis” (2012)
by Bryan Carter

No access to asylum in Greece

A young sans-papiers collapsed when the people were trying to enter the aliens police

While an increase in the numbers of asylum recognition rate are proudly presented refugees have no access to asylum in Greece.
Continue reading ‘No access to asylum in Greece’

“I come to Petrou Ralli police station since 5 months, every day”

Every night hundreds of sans-papiers go to Petrou Ralli police station to reserve a place in the long row. They are trying to enter the aliens police in order to apply for asylum. Despite the fact that the Greek government is announcing improvements in the Greek asylum system what we see is that access to asylum is not possible until today.

Press Release of the Group of Lawyers: Lacking access to Petrou Ralli Aliens Police

Under the blanket its a bit warmer, but some are without!

You never know at what time the officers will come to take a few of us inside. sometimes at 24, sometimes at 4am or at 6am. We wait here and try to be of the first. No chance! They only accept 20 persons per day. I don’t even understand on what criteria they chose. We stay out in the cold for nights and days. Without food. Many also without a blanket. You cannot move, if you do that your place will be lost. There is so much fighting about who will get inside to ask for asylum. The police watch us, but they don’t care. I am now since 4 days here. I have only one bottle of water. Thats all! Can you find the same situation in other European countries?

Today I am the first. It is my chance maybe.

No sleep, no food, cold...

Hundreds of people here every day leave behind their traces

Today I have some hope to enter

Is it the same in other countries?

No one care for us

Police raids in Athens continue: Today in the old fabric of Columbia

In the last months police sweep operations take place every day: on the streets and public squares, in the homes of refugees and wherever they stay homeless.
The police invades regularly the private space of people, proceeding to arrests and sometimes beating people or also stealing their properties.
Today in one more sweep operation, they arrested the 60-70 homeless refugees staying in the old fabric Columbia. Among the homeless are asylum seekers and vulnerable persons such as mentally sick. Instead of providing them with reception conditions according to law and instead of protecting the vulnerable the only answer to this issue by the government remains to arrest them.

Kurdish documentary producer 5th month in detention in Evros and 26th day on hunger strike!

A kurdish filmmaker from Iran is now the 5th month imprisoned in Evros – currently in Soufli. He has applied for asylum in Greece. With his hunger strike he is protesting against the inhuman detention conditions and he demands his freedom.

Bulgarian Asylum System Pushes Migrants West

From Balkan Insight – news article, 4th of November 2011:

Bulgaria fails to integrate its refugees and routinely locks up asylum seekers, despite EU and national laws banning the use of detention centres, forcing even those who might otherwise stay to try their luck in western Europe.

What crime have I committed to be held a prisoner?

When will they set me free? They are telling me six months, why six months?” “On what grounds are they detaining me? I am a refugee, not a criminal.

Continue reading ‘Bulgarian Asylum System Pushes Migrants West’

Ministry of Citizen Protection wants to reduce number of asylum seekers in Greece no matter what

The Greek government obviously is trying by all means – legal or illegal – to reduce the numbers of asylum seekers in Greece and parallel to increase the recognition rate. Obviously they are developing all kinds of tricks to achieve their aim and to show Europe the “progress” they are expected to make.

Since the beginning of the transitional period that will last until the implementation of the asylum law – planned until January 2012, there are five second instance asylum committees examining both new asylum claims and old ones from the huge backlog. The proudly presented increase of asylum recognition rates to 12,35% is a game of numbers though. It includes mainly second instance decisions and all kinds of status (asylum, humanitarian and subsidiary). Having a backlog of more than 35.000 open asylum claims it is not really difficult to find good cases in order to increase the asylum recognition rate suddenly. While it is a fact that the second instance asylum committees themselves present an immense improve in the asylum process due to their improved quality, statistics of recognition rates have to be analysed carefully.

However, the remaining backlog of asylum claims is disturbing the image of progress in Greek asylum policy. Thus, the Ministry of Citizen Protection has developed a variety of tricks to further decrease the number of asylum seekers in Greece. In October it announced that asylum seekers who had not been able to renew their papers since June 2009 would be given a period of two months in order to get back their Pink Cards. Anyway, taking into consideration the severe difficulties in entering the Aliens Police in Athens it is nearly impossible to actually make the renewal of the temporary residence permit for asylum seekers. Thus, there will be a huge group of asylum seekers who will fall out of the asylum process and whose files will be closed if they do not manage to enter the Aliens Police.
The respective announcement of the Ministry said:

Announcement on renewal of asylum-seekers’ pink cards: Asylum-seekers holding a pink card which has expired since June 2009 are requested to proceed to the authorities responsible for receiving and examining asylum claims in order to renew their pink cards, within a period of two (2) months, from 5 October 2011 to 5 December 2011 (inclusive). In case of failing to show up within this deadline the examination of their cases will be withdrawn.

Additionally, the police started to arrest illegaly in sweep operation in the Athens centre asylum seekers with Pink Cards. Despite the fact that many of them had been given already a date for their asylum interview they proceeded their interviews immediately in an accelerated process. Thereby the asylum seekers were not informed that what was following was their asylum interview, the interviews did not exceed 30 minutes in any case, they were made sometimes in languages the asylum seekers could not understand, the asylum seekers were not given time to prepare themselves for the interview or to contact the UNHCR or any other NGO who could provide them with legal aid and they were not informed about the procedure and their rights concerning the appeal against the decision in case of a rejection. GCR Press Release on the 2nd of November 2011

As it seems, the Greek government is trying to proceed as many asylum cases as possible in the shortest period of time possible whatever it takes. Are these the achievements of the National Action Plan?