Accounts from the Inside: The Detention Centres of Evros
new report by Pro Asyl
Obviously, Europe’s main concern is the creation of »walls« in order to hinder or to prevent the access to its territory. Physical walls like the fence, the moat and border controls in Evros but also invisible walls that are constituted by the lack of protection to those in need, rights denials, systematic detention, detention and living conditions violating human dignity, Readmission Agreements and the Dublin II Regulation. The effects of these heightening walls have their most tragic face in the many lost and dead at border. This is why we chose to speak about walls of shame in this report.
Fountain to remember the dead and the missing at the Greek-Turkish border in Tichero (Northern Greece)
John lost his wife Jane and Tahera her husband Bashir in the Evros River. They represent hundreds of other migrants who drowned in the water, were killed by landmines or are still missing. Their dead bodies were treated disrespectfully: In 2010 we discovered a mass grave in Sidero where the corpses could not be identified. We returned to give back a piece of dignity to the dead and also those who survived.
Patras, August 2011
Two refugees from Sudan talk about their lives in an emptied city. Patra has been the second exit-port after Igoumenitsa that the greek police raided in 2011. In the center of the city one cannot see any immigrants anymore. In repeated sweep operations the authorities destroyed a number of provisory housing sites and arrested hundreds of sans-papiers. In the summer of 2011 only very few refugees remained at the rims of the city marginalised and displaced.
The following testimony of Amin Fedaii, a 16-year-old afghan refugee, is alarming. More than 20 refugees (mainly from Afghanistan) died while trying to flee from Greece and to reach their relatives and friends in other European countries.
I felt very queasy, I was in the bottom of the ship and tried to sleep. I was not really sleeping I was so afraid. I was drifting away.
John is missing Jen.
Jen got lost when she tried to cross the border to Greece. Maybe she drowned in Evros, the river between Turkey and Greece. We will mourn Jen and all the refugees that died during the attempt to overcome Fortress Europe on the 30th of August 2011 in Evros. We want to give back a piece of dignity, to those whose death disappeared — right here — into the senselessness of the European borders. And we will gather for giving back a piece of dignity to those who survived. We will create a memorial space.
In the year 2010 more than 50 persons lost their lives in the border space of Evros. In 2011 the numbers of dead have reached already more than 20. The creation of a 12,5 km long fence in Evros that started in July 2011 will increase the danger at this border even more but it will not stop people from fleeing to Europe.
A better healing will only come by actually knowing what happened
Interview with John, Athens, 11.05.11.
Interview with the refugee N., from Eritrea
23rd of May 2011, Komunisia
N. spent a very long time in the mountains of Igoumenitsa. With 10 months he belongs to the experienced men on the mountain. He has been deported from Italy several times. Still he never lost his hope that one day he will get out.“I promise to see you in a better place,” N. says and his eyes are full of energy.
How long are you in Igoumenitsa?
In Komunisia here? I have longer than ten months. More than ten months here!
What did you expect from coming here to Igoumenitsa?
You know, the reason for my coming to Komunisia, I am suffering too much bad in this country. I need to leave this country. For this reason I came to Komunisia. Unfortunately, during these days we are suffering from a very bad situation: from the police and from the racist people, from the civil society here in Komunisia.
Interview with the two refugees A. and Y., from Sudan
21st of May 2011, Komunisia
A. and Y., refugees from Sudan talk about their living-conditions in Igoumenitsa, the second largest port from Greece towards Italy. We are sitting in the mountain, looking at the port-area of “Komunisia” how the refugees call it. A few hundred refugees from all war-zones of the world are living on this mountain. Some days ago, at the 3rd of May, the refugees’ settlements in the mountain have been attacked by fascists out of a demonstration.Afterwards the police drew an invisible ‘red line’ and prevented refugees from entering the city. More than 450 refugees have been arrested in May 2011 – double than the average monthly arrests of 2010. Police guards the garbage cans and so the refugees are starving from hunger. We are sitting on this mountain in Europe and we hope for their chance to go!
is an open and self-organised space in motion of and for refugees, migrants and all people interested in exchange and encounters.
It is a space of freedom and solidarity, of communication and information, a space to find access to information and knowledge and a secure living-room for those whose residence is insecure. In short is a space of encounter between people, ideas and plans. It is an antiracist space not affiliated to any specific political group or party. It aims to focus on the problems and needs of refugees in a pragmatic way of direct support, political intervention and by raising public awareness.