“Support our demands. Please, don’t leave us alone.”
The survivors and relatives of the victims of the Farmakonisi shipwreck are shocked as Greek authorities closed the investigations on the shipwreck of 20 January 2014, where eight children and three women died. Their vessel sank near the Greek island Farmakonisi while being towed by the Greek Coast Guard, which seems had been a pushback operation in breach of international law. As the investigation into the case has been closed a court procedure will not take place.
With this statement, the family members of the victims, including the surviving fathers and husbands, appeal to the European public. They demand clarification and justice for the dead:
Farmakonisi, 20.01.2014: Why?
We are very sad and shocked about the outcome of the so called investigation. The closure of the file is a slap in our faces.
The public prosecutor put the death of our love ones to archives. But our wives and our children are not a file, you cannot put them in the archives.
The Greek government promised a full investigation. The responsible politicians stressed, that they want to find out the truth. The outcome is a shame and humiliation for us. We want justice.
We demand a reopening of the investigations. The persons who are responsable for the death of our love ones have to be held accountable.
We appeal to the citizens of Europe, to the European institutions Support our demands. Please, don’t leave us alone.
Nothing will bring back our wives and kids. But without a reopening of the investigations and justice, the truth will be blurt and the human Rights violations in the aegean will go on. Many refugees died since the tragic event of farmakonisi.
We want justice.
Please, support us. Leave nothing undone to bring the death of our loved ones to justice.
Eyewitnesses accuse the Greek Coast Guard of drowning migrants off the coast of the island of Farmakonisi on January 20th, 2013. 9 children and 3 women died!
survivors arriving in piraeus on 23.1.14
“I am shocked and distressed by the new tragedy which occurred near Farmakonisi in which a number of migrants, including possible asylum seekers, have drowned or have gone missing in what appears to be a case of a failed collective expulsion,” Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press.
“The Greek government has pledged last week to put an end to the illegal practice of collective expulsions and effectively investigate all such cases. I urge them to implement their promise.”
As UNHCR reports: “According to survivors’ testimonies, the Coast Guard boat towing their vessel was heading, at high speed, towards the Turkish coast, when the tragic incident happened amid rough seas. The same witnesses said people were screaming for help, since there was a large number of children on the boat”.
International organisations have condemned, several times, the refoulement policy against migrants entering Greece without papers. Video showing how the survivors arrive on LEros with coast guard escort while being in a devastated state
By the coast guard arrested migrants for illegal entry not included are arrests by the police
June 6th: 75
June 5th: 30 (24 men, 03 women και 03 children from Syria and Afghanistan)
June 4th: 42 (among them families, women, a baby etc. from Afghanistan, Syria and Somalia)
May 19th: no numbers available
May 17th: 41 (37 men, 01 woman and 03 minors)
May 13th: no numbers available
May 11th: 19
May 7th: 31 (22 men, 06 women και 03 minors),
May 2nd: 13 (08 men and 05 women)
May 1st: 14 Continue reading ‘New arrivals on Lesvos and other Aegean islands in numbers’
73 refugees have been left alone to survive upon their arrival on the island of Farmakonisi, which is a military zone and bleongs typically to Leros island. Among the sans-papiers are also 20 children. Another 53 are detained in the police station of Leros. The local solidarity movement of Leros criticised the government for leaving the refugees on the uninhabited island without proper food, housing and medical aid.
Recently the greek news are talking of a revival of the old routes into Greece through the Aegean islands. Since two years Evros has been the main entrance for sans-papiers into Greece with steadily increasing numbers of arrivals. Since the beginning of the governments massive pogrom against sans-papiers in Athens but also in Evros and the further periphery in the beginning of this August, numbers of arrivals have been shrinking in Evros and increasing again slightly on the islands of the Aegean (mainly: Mytilini, Samos, Patmos, Leros, Symi etc.). In August 397 sans-papiers were arrested on the Aegean islands compared to 168 in 2011. The greek government following this increase and the medial hype around the “revival of the island routes” asked Frontex for more support in controlling their sea borders. The request concerns 4 additional aircrafts, 4 coast guard ships and specialised extra staff.
Concerning the fate of the arriving sans-papiers, as it seems, the authorities on the islands have the order to keep new arriving sans-papiers as long as possible in detention on the islands and not transfer them to Athens. In some cases solidarity group denounced the lack of access to the asylum procedure for the detained. In a long-term perspective if arrivals will continue and grow this could result in the creation of new detention places on the islands (or the re-opening of old ones). It is yet unclear if the slightly increasing arrivals on the islands can be interpreted as another change of routes or if it is more of a short term phenomenon. Clearly, the medial referral to a “revival” of the old routes and de facto arrivals of the last days anyway also lead to an increased use of a fascist discourse by some people within the local societies (i.e. in Symi but also elsewhere).
In Samos the local solidarity group published a number of press releases concerning the very poor detention conditions of newly arrived Syrian and Afghan refugees (among them also children, women and UN-recognized refugees from other countries) and the lack of access to the asylum procedure for the about 50-60 refugees. Since a few days the Syrian refugees are on hunger strike protesting their inhuman situation.
In Mytilini the last month there have been also repeated arrivals (50 and more in the last period). Sans-papiers seem to be detained in the police stations of the island.
In Symi a boat carrying 38 sans-papiers was seemingly shot by the authorities and thereafter sank (on September 4th). The passengers were saved and are in detention now. In total there were about 100 (or more) arrivals in this period. The police station does not fit any more detainees so that the new arriving have to stay in the yard and next to it in outside spaces. The Doctors without borders are offering some medical first aid, while the police is responsible for the catering. At the same time during a recent municipal council on the island one of the speakers proposed to call members of the fascist party GD (golden dawn) to “solve the problem” and “so that the guys don’t allow the boats of the coast guard to disembark the sans-papiers on the island”. The mayor of the island at some point said: “if nothing happens (from the side of the government?) then we have to tak the weapens and protect our island!”.
In Leros a few days ago 60 sans-papiers arrived – originally having arrived on Farmakonisi. Amog them were also small children. They were all detained in the yard of the coast guard and the police station.
A crackdown on the influx of undocumented immigrants entering Greece via the land border with Turkey has apparently resulted in people smugglers changing their routes as increasing numbers of migrants are being intercepted on the islands of the Aegean, authorities say.
This month police and coast guard officers detained 146 undocumented immigrants on the islands of Symi, Farmakonisi, Samos and Lesvos, compared to 68 on the islands of the Dodecanese in the first half of this year. On Tuesday, 40 migrants — chiefly Afghans, Syrians and Palestinians — were stopped on Symi and 39 — mostly Afghans — on Farmakonisi. Continue reading ‘Migrants reverting to Aegean route?’
... 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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