Tag Archive for 'new detention regime'

Solidarity structures in Greece confronted with criminalization, control and diverse obstacles

Since the dirty deal between the EU and Turkey was made on 18th of March the situation in Greece worsened rapidly. Safer formal ways through the Balkan-corridor were closed down already before by the European governments while more than 50,000 refugees are caught up inside Greece. More than 90% come from war torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and the majority are women and children. More than one month after the closure of the border to FYROM / Macedonia they are still under shock by the sudden changes unable even to consider alternatives such as relocation, family reunification or asylum. They cannot realize and accept that this is the new reality they have to confront, with everybody being stuck in limbo under inhuman conditions in refugee tent camps all over Greece.


From Monday, 4th of April, on the return agreement with Turkey will be implemented with more than 500 people being readmitted from the Hot Spots on the islands of the Aegean which have been turned into detention and deportation centres in practice. Only the ones applying for asylum or family reunification and unaccompanied minors will not be deported back to Turkey. Asylum applications since a few days have reached unprecedented peaks while the Asylum Service is not able to deal with the many applications. Statistic concerning Asylum applications in Greece 2016 and Hellenic police statistics illegal migration according to nationalities 2016 first 2 months: 61022 Syria, 32776 Afghanistan, 21907 Iraq.

Resistance against deportations in the hotspots on the Greek islands started already: in Moria, Lesvos, the Hot Spot that is totally overcrowded with more then 2,000 detainees a group consisting mainly of Pakistani refugees started a hunger strike. They belong to the five nationalities that are already affected by the more than 700 readmissions that were conducted since the beginning of the year. In “Vial”, the Hot Spot on Chios, half of the people escaped after a revolt on 2nd of April from the closed camp and marched to the port of Chios city where they are staying since then. They are protesting and demanding their freedom of movement in order to travel further on. Today again another protest was started in Vial by mainly Afghan refugees against their deportation. In Athens demonstrations for open borders took place already twice with hundreds of refugees most of which were Afghans, a major group within the refugee population who can not take part in the relocation program and who are largely excluded from the few possibilities of adequate reception conditions. In several open camps on the mainland protests within the last week refugees all over Greece demanded open borders as well as for better conditions in the camps.

Already since several weeks solidarity structures are being increasingly criminalized suffering repression by the authorities and exclusion from different official refugee agglomeration sites. We declare our deep solidarity with all the people who have been since months on the ground, struggling for the rights and dignity of those on the way and a lot of times for their mere survival. The example of Lesvos, which was for the last year the island with the highest number in arrivals, shows how an amazing amount of solidarity and the many support structures could create a welcoming atmosphere even in the hardest conditions reacting immediately to emergency situations contrary to the formal structures of the government, UNHCR or many bigger NGOs.
Continue reading ‘Solidarity structures in Greece confronted with criminalization, control and diverse obstacles’

“Hunger strike until freedom”: Fourth day of hunger strike in Amygdaleza detention centre

“Hunger strike until freedom”*

On November 17th, 2014 hundreds of refugees detained administratively in the pre-removal centre of Amygdaleza started to protest massively against the prolonged detention of more than 18 months, against the detention of dozens of minors and the detention conditions that amongst others recently led to the death of two detainees.

015918376_40100

“They coop us up here like sheep and then don’t care anymore about us. (…)”
“There are persons detained 26 months. (…)”
“When we say ‘my stomach hurts’, they’d answer ‘my balls hurt’.”

Only on November 6th the 26-year-old Mohammed Asfak died of the consequences of beating by law enforcement officers in Corinth detention centre during one of the uprisings of migrants there 5-6 months ago. His injuries had not been taken care of adequately. He was only transferred to hospital after a break down. For 15 days he had been begging the police to bring him to the hospital as he had respiratory problems. When asking for medical aid, police even replied: “Die, we don’t care.” Only some days after this tragic incident, another detainee from Bangladesh died of lacking sufficient medical aid.

Yesterday, on the third day of hunger strike the Movement against Racism and Fascist Threat (KEERFA) reported of 15 detainees who had been transferred to the hospital after fainting and 90% participation in the hunger strike. KEERFA furthermore said that the detainees chose to go on hunger strike on November 17 as a symbolic move because the particular date marks the 41st anniversary of the student uprising against the junta.

The Amygdaleza detention center is 10 kilometers away from Athens and it is supposed to hold 1,000 inmates. In October 2014, the number of detainees was 1,600. The facility has repeatedly come under serious criticism both due to the indefinite time of the detention of migrants and refugees, as well as the squalid conditions they are held in. Among the approximately 1,600 detainees are many vulnerable groups such as 15-year-old children, asylum seekers, de facto refugees such as Syrians and other nationalities whose deportation is not feasible according to UNHCR such as Eritreans. There are also persons with close relatives in other EU-member states awaiting family reunification, victims of torture who have never been identified by the authorities and sick persons.
solidarité-avec-les-immigrants

“We will fight until freedom”, an underage refugee declared, who has been registered as adult.

Continue reading ‘“Hunger strike until freedom”: Fourth day of hunger strike in Amygdaleza detention centre’

Migrant dies of heart attack in Amigdaleza detention centre

In Amigdaleza detention centre where currently around 1,650 sans-papiers are detained, some of which are there even longer than 18 months, a Pakistani migrant died today of a heart attack. His case is the third medical case of a detainee in detention with fatal consequences due to insufficient medical aid.Amigdaleza detention center
koutitispandoras (in greek)
efymerida ton sindakton (in greek)

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'”.

Village of all together
Welcome to Europe

Contact:

Efi Latsoudi 6976234668
Marily Stroux 6949933150

210714 PR Minors in Greek and English

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’

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’

IPS News: Immigrants Face Indefinite Detention in Greece

by Apostolis Fotiadis

ips news (in english)

ATHENS, May 28 2014 (IPS) – The evolution of immigration and border control policy in Greece and its interdependence with European funding suggests an agenda which has been decided above national legislatures with strong coordination between European political actors and economic interests, while ignoring the human suffering it produces.

Since February, the Greek authorities have taken another step towards harsher treatment of irregular immigrants by announcing a policy of indefinite detention until repatriation. Indefinite detention has been based on an opinion of the Legal Council of the Greek State and will be implemented even in cases where repatriation is not feasible.

Earlier this week, a Greek court considered the premises of this decision to be against national and European legislation and asked for it to be revoked. Authorities have yet to react to this decision.
Continue reading ‘IPS News: Immigrants Face Indefinite Detention in Greece’

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

RSS Clandestina

  • The Greek part of the Balkan route: Pressure & Resistance
    …how the creation of the Balkan route is connected to the Greek financial crisis …what happened when people on the move came across the part of the greek population that (faced with the end of consumerism as we knew it) chose not fascism but humanity and solidarity and what was the reaction of the social […]

RSS Group of Lawyers – Athens

  • COMUNICATO STAMPA - Solidarietà al giornalista italiano Gabriele Del Grande
    Solidarietà al giornalista italiano Gabriele Del Grande  Il 9 aprile 2017 le autorità turche hanno arrestato illegalmente e senza alcun motivo il giornalista italiano Gabriele Del Grande nella città turca di Hatay, dove stava svolgendo un’inchiesta per il suo nuovo libro “Un partigiano mi disse”. È evidente che l’attività giornalistica del 35enne Gabriele Del Grande, […]

RSS the border is the problem