Tag Archive for 'detention'

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Press Release: Unaccompanied minor severely self-injured himself in Moria “first reception” detention centre in Lesvos

PRESS RELEASE 21.07.14 Lesvos

Unaccompanied minor severely self-injured himself in Moria “first reception” detention centre in Lesvos

On 17/7/2014 a 17-year-old Afghan who had been detained for many days in Moria awaiting his transfer to a special reception centre for minors cut his arms in an act of despair and protest as he could not stand anymore being closed up for many days and under such conditions. He was transferred to the psychiatry department of the local hospital.

In Greece there are 10 reception centres for unaccompanied minors with about 330 places in total that need to cover the needs of thousands. At the same time that a vast number of reception places are lacking many minors fear long detention upon arrival in Greece in so called First Reception Camps (detention centres) if they register with their real age and register themselves as adults. The background: Unaccompanied minors arriving in first reception centres have to undergo a number of medical examinations and then wait for a place in one of the overcrowded reception centres in order to be released. The detention duration varies and can reach one month or more months, while delays depend on the crowdedness in the reception facilities.

As a consequence hundreds of unaccompanied minors register as adults. They are being transferred to Pre-removal Detention Centres at the mainland, such as Amigdaleza, Corinth, Komotini, Xanthi, Fylakio or Drama / Parenesti where legal aid is not existing. When they realise that they end up facing 18 months detention or more due to their changed age all of them try to find ways to proof that they are minors.

Anyhow, if age-assesment has taken place already in First Reception Detention it is unlikely if not impossible (without the help of a lawyer) the authorities will approve a second age-assesment later. Age-assesment procedures have been recently defined in a Ministerial Decision for First Reception but not for Pre-Removal Detention Centres. As a result the procedures vary in the different places and more than that the ways and methods carried out are highly questionable. For this reason among others many unaccompanied minors end up in 18 month detention.

We demand for the immediate creation of sufficient special reception centres for unaccompanied minors. In this frame the Reception Centre for Unaccompanied Minors in Agiassos, Lesvos, which was closed earlier this year despite the huge need should be re-opened with the necessary funding to allow for its functioning.

And we demand for the immediate release of all unaccompanied minors in first reception detention centres, pre-removal centres or any other form of detention. As provided for in the Guidelines on Policies and Procedures in dealing with Unaccompanied Children Seeking Asylum from UNHCR (1997) “(T)he child should be given the benefit of the doubt if the exact age is uncertain” and “the main guiding principle in any child care and protection action is the principle of the ‘best interest of the child'”.

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Greece wants more EU-money for more detention centres due to increase in arrivals

Greece needs more EU funds for immigration, minister says

Greece needs more funding from the European Union to deal with the increased flow of undocumented immigrants in the eastern Aegean, Public Order Minister Vassilis Kikilias said in an interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini.

According to the minister, there has been an 800 percent increase in the number of irregular migrants reaching Greece via boat from Turkey over the last two years.

He said that Greece was finding it increasingly difficult to deal with this influx and that it would require further funding from the EU, which has recently reduced the budget for its Frontex border agency.

Kikilias said Greece has asked for emergency funding to cover the cost of hosting migrants in reception centers and to create a mobile unit to process asylum applications.

“On the one hand it is our duty to protect our borders, on the other it is also our duty to provide humane holding conditions to migrants, who are, after all, human souls in absolute misery,” he said.

source: ekathimerini (in English)

17-year-old Afghan self-injured himself to protest detention in Lesvos

A 17-year-old Afghan self-injured himself to protest against the long detention duration in Moria “first Reception” detention camp in Lesvos, Greece.

He has been transferred to the psychiatric clinic of Lesvos Bostation Hospital. A number of unaccompanied minors have stayed even up to two months in Moria awaiting transfer to a special open camp for separated children. The long duration of detention is the reason for many minors to register themselves as adults in fear of being locked up long periods. Anyway, thereby they loose not only their rights as children but also often end up in 18 month (and longer) detention as adults in one of the many pre-removal detention centres at the mainland.

Moria in April 2014 while the construction of the fences was not yet finished

Moria in April 2014 while the construction of the fences was not yet finished

efimerida ton sindakton (in greek)

LESVOS: VOICES FROM INSIDE MORIA – THE NEW PAGANI OF TROIKA

‘First reception’ practices of refugees in Greece: The example of Moria on Lesvos island

“We didn’t come to Europe to get beaten, insulted and imprisoned.”

In September 26th, 2013 the new so called “first reception center (KEPY)” opened in Moria on the island of Lesvos. It is the second of its kind in Greece following the example of the KEPY in Fylakio, Evros that opened earlier in the same year.
The Pagani of the Troika – as it is called to remind of former prisons and to disconnect it from nearby Moria village, is a prison where only a few selected NGOs have access under the precondition not to share any information with the outside world. Civil society gets presented the term ‘first reception’ that gives a false impression of an open, accessible place while it is nothing else than another new prison in the tradition of Amigdaleza’s fenced containers the only difference being the detention duration – at first sight. As prescribed by law, detention does not exceed 25 days maximum in this place BUT detainees might just be transferred to (pre-removal) detention centers such as Fylakio, Komotini, Xanthi or Chios for example, where they might stay up to 18 months or more if they are not readmitted to Turkey, deported or sign voluntary return in the meanwhile.

Currently the detention center in Moria is being constructed directly next to the “first reception” center, and build within the same fences and with the same containers. It is about to be opened in beginning of July 2014 with a capacity of 750 people while the capacity of the “first reception” screening center is supposed to reach 250 places. Nonetheless, only detention is what has marked the character of Moria since the beginning.

Moria in April 2014 while the construction of the fences was not yet finished

Moria in April 2014 while the construction of the fences was not yet finished

It is our aim to show from the very beginning of its functioning the real face of the ‘first reception’ detention center and to insist that this has to be closed. We do not argue for better detention conditions but for freedom!

We asked refugees having passed through Moria prison one single question:

‘What was your worst experience inside Moria detention?’
Continue reading ‘LESVOS: VOICES FROM INSIDE MORIA – THE NEW PAGANI OF TROIKA’

The first year of the Asylum Service in numbers

In a Press Release concerning the first year of its functioning (June 2013-May 2014) the Asylum Service reported that 8,945 persons applied for asylum of which most were from Afghans. Among the asylum seekers were also 430 unaccompanied minors.

In first instance 926 persons received international protection status (643 refugee status, 283 subsidiary) mainly coming from Palestine, Syria, Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia. 3,674 first instance applications were negative.

The recognition rate in first instance reached 20,1 % while 1,344 applications were closed for different reasons.
In average the asylum procedure takes 122 days according to the Press Release, nevertheless refugees report periods of up to some months until they manage to put their asylum claim while cueing every day from the early morning.

1,162 made a subsequent claim. Many of which might have been detainees as they are reportedly often advised falsely by police officers to withdraw from their claims in order to be released sooner from detention. 1,695 persons applied for asylum from inside detention centres. At the same time 2,807 appeals were made against first instance rejections. Of 2,015 second instance decisions 86,1% were negative.

Most asylum claims are proceeded in the Asylum Service in Athens (81,6%) but there are also offices in the periphery, namely in North and South Evros, in Lesvos, Rhodes as well as asylum service teams in Amigdaleza, Thessaloniki and Patras. It is still a great obstacle for all international protection seekers living in other areas of Greece to reach to one of the asylum services.

Finally, a large number of asylum claims are still proceeded by the Aliens Police Directorate in Petrou Ralli, Athens. Asylum seekers in the “old system” are still waiting after years to get their claims answered while they face other kinds of obstacles with the procedures. This “two class asylum system” has been criticised since the beginning of the Asylum Service.

See all statistics here in English

source: Ministry of Citizen Protection and Public Order 16.6.14 (in greek)

Mother with baby detained one month in Petrou Ralli detention cells

Detention of babies and children under inhuman and degrading conditions in Greece

Z.M. from Afghanistan, a young mother of a one-year-old and a six-year old was arrested in the end of April 2014 in Eleftherios Venizelos, Athens Airport for the try of “illegal exit” of the country and the “use of false documents” (§ 83 and § 87 par. 7 of law 3386/2005). After two days of detention in the airport prison they were brought before the one-headed Misdemeanor Court of Athens, which pronounced a sentence of four months imprisonment on suspension. Then they were both transferred to the detention cells of the Aliens Police Department in Petrou Ralli. “We were detained in the second floor. In the beginning there were also two other mothers with their small children. When they were released we stayed alone in the cell. Next to us there was a cell where they locked up people who were getting crazy inside the prison. These poor people were crying and shouting throughout the nights. My baby was afraid, crying often instead of sleeping. … We were given only once weekly milk while the food was of very low quality lacking vitamines and oil. We couldn’t go out every day and the toilette and bathroom were filthy as we shared it with all other people.” The mother with her baby were released after one month on June 4th and only after a lawyer appealed against the detention.
Continue reading ‘Mother with baby detained one month in Petrou Ralli detention cells’

Amigdaleza: “When the Great Wolves eat the Light”

by Vasiliki Katrivanou, Parliamentarian of Syriza

“Are you kidding?” I ask the director of the detention centre Amigdaleza with a feeling of indignation and despair when he describes us how normal the centre is functioning despite “individual” problems.

How ‘individual’ are the problems? Hearing for example that you will be held there over 18 months, for “indefinite” periods (following the opinion of the Legal Council of State, which was issued upon request of Mr. Dendias). Young people, who have nothing to do all day, who are detained just because they have no papers, indefinite detainees. And they get crazy! So when there are riots, hunger strikes, suicide attempts, let us not wonder why, let’s not be surprised. The causes, if we want to close our eyes, we know already.
Continue reading ‘Amigdaleza: “When the Great Wolves eat the Light”’

Hunger strike against 18+ detention in Corinth detention centre

On June 9th, 2014 refugees detained in Corinth detention centre began a hunger strike to protest against indefinite detention. In February 2014, the Greek authorities had announced a policy of indefinite detention until repatriation, based on an opinion of the Legal Council of the Greek State. Only recently Athens court considered in an appeal-case of an Afghan refugee that the detention of more than 18 months is against national and European legislation and asked for it to be revoked.

Letter from the detainees:

Many undocumented refugees were arrested by the Greek authorities since a year and a half (August 2012). The massive controls and arrests were realised in a very racist and cruel way. People were brought in detention centres all around Greece. Without going into a lot of details about the bad situation that we, all these refugees, went through, our only fault was that we didn’t have a piece of paper.

When the detention centres were opened the Greek government published a law where the maximum detention period of a refugee was 6 months. Then they increased the detention period to a 1 year, then to 1 1/2 years and this is the maximum period that the Greek law allows today.

But then suddenly some weeks ago they even increased the detention duration to open end periods!!!!! This step was a racist decision. It is injustice. The aim of this is only to stop us refugees from coming to Greece, us whom we left our countries due to our suffering. Now we are forced to suffer in Greece.

With the systematic and open end detention the Greek government is massacring us. They are wasting our lives and killing our dreams and hopes inside the prisons. All of that while none of us has committed any crime.

Most of us are having severe health problems: both physical and
psychological. Specially those who stayed already more that 18 months are in a devastating state and desperately need support.

Today on 9.6.2014 we people detained in the detention centre of Corinth have started a hunger strike. We feel an immense pressure due to our unknown destinies. We protest against the illegal extension of the detention duration to more than 18 months! Continue reading ‘Hunger strike against 18+ detention in Corinth detention centre’

Athens court rules more than 18 months detention of migrants is illegal!

The appeal against detention that was brought to court by the Greek Council for Refugees is of broader significance as it was the first case of its kind against the “endless detention duration. The decision 2255/23.5.2014 says that the endless detention defined as measure of compulsory stay in a detention centre by the states Legal Council Opinion 44/2014 is not according to law.

It states:

“it is not founded on any legislative provision”
“the compulsory measure imposed on the affected person is actually a continuation of his detention”

The case affects an Afghan refugee who was detained until May 5th 2014 a total of 18 months. Three days before that date (not even three months before as the Councils Opinion had defined) he received a documented informing him that his detention would be continued until he would “cooperate” to his “voluntary” deportation. The court decision was ruled on May 23rd and the refugee was released.

koutitispandoras (in greek)
efimerida ton syndakton (in greek)

GCR Press Release (in greek)

Communication from the Greek Council for Refugees (28/04/2014) in the case of M.S.S. against Belgium and Greece and reply from Greece (06/05/2014)

read communication and answer here (in english)

The infomobile

... 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.

Get in touch

email: infomobile.w2eu@gmail.com

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