Tag Archive for 'migration policy'

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New Detention centres to arrive before elections, says Citizen Protection Minister

Civil Protection Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis said detention centres for undocumented immigrants will begin to operate before the general election.

Chrysohoidis, who met on Monday, with the heads of immigrant organizations in Greece and IOM, said the first of some 30 centres would open in greater Athens, scrapping earlier plans to start the campaign near the northern city Kozani. The meeting with some representatives of migrant communities, government officials and IOM was organised in order to motivate the migrant communities representatives to spread the idea of voluntary return among their co-nationals and to talk about the governments plans of the new detention centres.

“We have a commitment to start operating these closed-hospitality centres, and we will keep to that commitment,” the minister said. “The first centre will operate before the general election in greater Athens, and it will act as a model to show Greek citizens that these facilities are safe for the public and will operate to high standards of health and hygiene.”

The government has met strong resistance from regional authorities around the country to scrap or delay plans to open detention centres, and switch plans to concentrate on sites near Athens as a priority.

Residents at Menidi, north of the capital, however, are also protesting against a proposed site at nearby Amygdaleza and set up roadblocks in the area last week to try and stop construction work.

athens news in english

420 arrests within the first three days of the state led pogrom in Athens

Since Thursday and the beginning of the pogrom in the centre of Athens the Greek police has taken 2.000 migrants into custody of which 420 were arrested. In total 234 persons were arrested for being undocumented being issued an administrative deportation.
Another 63 migrant women have been arrested for prostitution.

The fascist medial campaign against migrants will be continued on Sunday with a press conference of the ministers of citizen protection and health. Fear has been already effectively spread among migrant communities through the media showing endless arrests, controls and models of the new detention centres. The public discourse is dominated by the construction of migrants as a threat to the Greek society repeating mainly words such as: “illegal immigrants”, “contagious diseases”, “criminals”, “clean the city centre”, “dangerous” etc. This pre-election campaign is obviously aimed to distract the society from the economical measures that are being imposed by the government and to spread fear among migrants.

see also Amnesty International Greece

Massive police raid against sans-papiers started with more than 300 arrests on March 29th, 2012

The announced “pogrom in Athens” started yesterday with massive police forces in the centre of the capital. More than 200 migrants were arrested near by Omonia Square, from the streets, squares, houses and shops. Police forces invaded more homes also in Kipseli and arrested street vendors near the university buildings in Patission street and elswhere. This massive sweep operation and its promotion in the Greek news as top issue of the pre-election campaigns is the most publicised repression against migrants of the last period.
The police has aimed to raid approx. 140 buildings where migrants live, because they perceive them as “hygiene bombs” and a “threat to public health”. The police raids will also focus on empty old houses where migrants found provisory shelter.
As the Minister of Citizen Protection said: “This attempt for the
η προσπάθεια που γίνεται για την ελάφρυνση του κέντρου της Αθήνας, για την αποκατάσταση της τάξης, για την προστασία της κοινωνικής ειρήνης στις γειτονιές του κέντρου της Αθήνας, είναι μία ολοκληρωμένη επιχείρηση.

TV News top issue these days is the pre-election propaganda concerning “illegal migration”. See video:

Sweep operations on the rise and creation of 30 new mass detention centres announced

Mr. Chrysohoidis, Minister of Citizen Protection, announced today the creation of thirty new type detention centres for immigrants in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense. They are called “reception centres” or “centres of hospitality” in the dominant discourse although they are clearly to become huge prisons.

The minister had a meeting with the governors of 10 Greek prefectures to ask them if they agree to build detention centers in their areas and if they have specific facilities to offer for this purpose. Anyway, as he said, these prisons will be build even without the agreement of the prefectures. Throughout the last days and since the announcement of the creation of such a prison in Kozani the local politicians and the society had protested against these plans.

He also assured that the EU funding for these centers will be 250 million euros for the three following years.

For each detention centre a new independent police department will be created with personnel of 150 new police officers and also 70 private security men for every 250 immigrants detained.

According to the plan, each new detention center will be divided into four sectors with a capacity for 250 detained immigrants, if there are 1,000 immigrants in each of the 30 prisons announced it makes up a total of 30,000!

The new detention centres have become one of the main issues of concern today in Greek news which was dominated by a racist propaganda on “the problem of illegal immigration” constructing immigrants as a threat to security, public health etc.

see press release of minister in Greek

25.000 thousand migrants deported in the last months while the racist pogrom continues

Citizen Protection Minister Papoutsis said that 25.000 migrants have been returned either by force or voluntarily within the last months from Greece to their home countries. The last deportation flight took place on thursday of January 19. Among the 56 deported were: 2 Egyptians, 23 Bangladeshi, 29 Chinese, one Pakistani and one Indian. The deportations take place from Athens airport.
Police raids and sweep operations have become harsher and more frequent. According to Papoutsis the Greek police controls daily an average of 400 migrants.
Meanwhile the construction of the anti-migratory “wall of shame” fence in Evros is being proceeded. The construction is planned to be finished in the next 5 months.

While migration policy is harshening, the racist pogrom continues unhindered in the centre of Athens. Daily migrants get beaten, stabbed and insulted in the areas close to Attiki and St. Panteleimon Church without any reaction from the police. Today an African migrant was stabbed nearby Panteleimon Church. The police reacted by asking the stabbed who was lying on the ground bleeding for his papers.

Greek Health Minister demands deportation of AIDS infected migrant women!

HIV infected migrant women should be deported, said Andreas Loverdos the Greek Health Minister in a conference about the public health.

“The infection goes from the illegal migrant women to the Greek client, into the Greek family.”

Mr. Loverdos, Greek Minister of Health

According to Health Minister Andreas Loverdos, drug addiction and illegal prostitution, especially when combined with illegal migration, were the main culprits for the rise in the rate of HIV infection.

From about 620 brothels and “studios” only seven are legal and from around 20.000 brothels workers only 1.200 are registered according to the Minister. As he continued, the Ministry of Health has handed information about the illegal prostitution to the Citizen Protection Ministry for the reasons of protecting the “public health”. His speech ended: “The infected women should leave Greece!”

see: in Greek on altherthess

Leaks about planned gigantic detention centers

According to Eleutherotypia newspaper, the “Ministry of Citizen Protection”, taking advantage of the new coalition government in Greece, where members of the far-right LAOS party participate, is planning to create two gigantic detention centers for immigrants in Athens. The two new detention centers “should be in the area of Attikovoiotia (close to Athens) with a capacity of about 5-6 thousand people, to offer real relief to the capital city”.
LAOS also demands the withdrawal of the citizenship bill, voted 1,5 years ago.

by clandestina
sea also: eleftherotypia (in greek)

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’

A “lifting” for the detention centres of Evros – for the eyes of Europe only

In mid October 2011 there was some magic in the air in Evros…
The detention centres for irregular migrants and asylum seekers of Fylakio, Soufli, Ferres and Tychero saw a sudden change. They were painted, toilettes and showers were repaired, new blankets handed out, meal plans stitched on the walls and detainees were released or transferred to other regions of Greece. Within only a few days the whole image of the detention centres was changed for the eyes of a delegation form Europe and the Greek government. Even the detainees were for the first time since their detention (some had been there already 5 months!) allowed to have access to fresh air and walk in the yards.

The Federation of the Borderguards of Evros said in a recent press release that all renovations are of course welcomed, anyway, they insisted, that the delegation should have seen the detention centres under “normal” conditions, the ones the borderguards and the detainees have to deal with daily.

As the announcement of the borderguards said:

Very sudden money was found (for the renovation) and the number of detainees decreased. Within three days the facilities were painted, the plumbing was repaired and release papers were given generously. Why did they not leave things as we live them on daily basis?

Announcement of the Federation of Borderguards of Evros 19th of October 2011 (in Greek)

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?

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... 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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