Tag Archive for 'press release'

AI: Deep concerns over bad conditions in Elliniko Camp

Following a research visit in Elliniko on February 4th, Lia Gogou (researcher for Amnesty International in Greece and Cyprus) expressed her deep concern about the miserable conditions in Elliniko Camp and the lack of alternatives for refugees staying there.

“The refugees are stuck here since one year. Our researcher during their visit last Saturday documented big problems inthe sanitary infrastructure, the lack of fresh air and sufficient toilettes and showers. They saw people sleeping in tents, exposed to the cold and rain. Refugees themselves mentioned they were worried about the quality of the food and the limited access to hot water. Among people interviewed were highly vulnerable persons such as unaccompanied minor boys and single mothers. They said they were not feeling safe in the camp, and they were desperate due to bad living conditions and the lack of alternatives.”

Many Afghan refugees, of whom AI has taken interviews are excluded from the relocation scheme merely by their nationality and from family reunification as their relatives might not belong to the close definition of a family unit. There are many highly vulnerable refugees that should be legally moved with Humanitarian Visas to other EU-states as their survival cannot be secured in Greece.

w2eu Statement 22.01.2017: No Dublin Returns to Greece!

‘One step forward, hundreds back…’ seems to be the motto under which EU experts implement refugee policy, as currently also demonstrated in Greece. On 8 December 2015, the European Commission published its fourth recommendation on the resumption of Dublin Returns to Greece, this time stating that they could be gradually re-installed, as according to them, refugee rights would be adequately protected in Greece. At the same time, images of people who fled war and are now staying in tents covered in snow are spreading through the global media. Once more, the EU is using Greece to make a point: Dublin has to survive, not matter what, that’s the plan. But in reality, this failed plan has significant consequences, causing one more massive human tragedy in Europe for thousands of people who are escaping war, conflict, disaster, hunger and poverty.

Refugees are exposed to snow and rain while forced to stay in tents and unheated prefabricated houses, some of which are old and have broken doors and windows. Over the last days awful pictures from the “Hotspot” detention-camp in Moria on Lesvos have travelled around the world. This time, small tents, not even sufficient for a short summer rain, were collapsing under the pressure of snow and the heavy rains. These pictures where taken by the inhabitants themselves, only a few days after the Greek Deputy Minister of Migration Ioannis Mouzalas had proudly announced that now most refugees would not have to live in tents any more. But refugees and solidarity people alike rose in anger immediately posting photos and videos from camps all around Greece on the internet, demonstrating the opposite. The ‘Winterization’ project failed, during a time when the EU is asserting that Greece is now a safe place for refugees, able to offer adequate living conditions and proper access to asylum procedures.

Greece is not a safe country for refugees. Refugees stuck in Greece are suffering in the inhuman and inadequate living conditions in detention centres and mass camps despite the presence of the UNHCR and numerous international and national NGOs. Refugees lack basic legal rights, access to information and legal aid. They have endured months without access to asylum procedures. They have spent months fighting for their right to stay in Greece while the feasibility of their deportation to Turkey is being examined by the EU’s so-called asylum experts. Hundreds were returned without proper access to legal aid for an appeal against the return decision, without a proper examination of their individual persecution in Turkey, without their asylum claim being heard, without a proper examination of their vulnerability, which should exclude them from any deportation procedure. Their lives have been put on hold on the islands of the Aegean and on the mainland by long-lasting procedures of pre-registration and registration. Access to the asylum procedure is yet not secured as the blocked Skype calls to authorities remain the only way to make an appointment, while thousands of families are separated and have to wait to reunite for almost one year.

Even Greeks are escaping Greece. And so are recognized refugees as there is no welfare system and no labour market, which could offer on the prospect of a dignified life. Even survival is not secured upon receiving the right to stay in Greece as those recognized are excluded even from state housing for refugees and from most of the social support structures offered by NGOs. May we remind you that Greece is suffering for years from a massive economic crisis and all people living here have to cope with the devastating austerity measures forced upon them by the Troika, by our European governments and institutions.

We strongly denounce the EU’s dirty game! The Hotspots are detention centres at the external borders of Europe, meant to select and sort human beings into ‘deportable’ or ‘not-deportable’, ‘migrant’ or ‘refugee’, ‘useless’ or ‘useful’, ‘unwanted’ or ‘wanted’. EASO experts are those who carry out the selection. Frontex is not only the key-institution pursuing militarised controls and the deterrence of “refugee flows” at sea, but also responsible for deportations from the Aegean islands back to Turkey. The Dublin Regulation is a mechanism aimed to keep all refugees at the external borders of the EU. Relocation has failed with only 6,212 persons out of 66,400 successfully moving to other EU-states until the beginning of January 2016 – within the first year of a two-year implementation period. ‘Voluntary’ return is for most people the last choice, and a decision followed the suffering of massive deterrence policies, such as enduring for a year a life in a tent at the rims of Greek society. Refugees give up, finally, preferring to “die at once, than every second again and again” – a sentence that is heard over and over again by refugees in the Greek camps. The cruelty of deportations to Afghanistan is obvious, when we see how European citizens are advised not to go there due to concerns for their safety. Nevertheless, and ironically, the life-threatening situation in Afghanistan is swiftly forgotten when it comes to the granting of asylum to Afghan refugees. The EU-Turkey Deal is nothing more than the result of the blackmailing strategies of a dictator, using Europe’s desire to keep refugees out as leverage.

But Dublin will fall again! Deportations to Greece were already once stopped back in 2011 following the decision of the European Human Rights Court in the case ‘MSS v. Greece’ – and as a result of a long struggle during which many, many refugees escaped from Greece, were deported and escaped again. Some had to flee through Europe 5-6 times. But finally it was over, they succeeded often, and stayed.
Dublin Returns to Greece will be strongly contested in national and international courts again now. As we have seen, the Dublin-regulation has been overrun many times before by the struggles for freedom of movement of individuals and groups.
Mouzalas had to correct himself. We politely suggest the European Commission to do the same.

Refugees are no numbers on a tent, no fingerprints, but people with faces, names and stories!

The Dublin Regulation has to be abolished now.
Human rights violations have to end now.
People have to join their families now.
People have to be in safety and in dignified conditions now.

We therefore demand:

Equal rights for all!
Freedom of movement to all refugees in Greece and elsewhere!
The right to stay for all!
Stop deportations!

No one is illegal!

w2eu – a network born out of the struggle against Dublin returns in 2009

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

press release group of lawyers: No Political Refugee must be extradited to Turkey


SOLIDARITY WITH THE TURKISH AND KURDISH POLITICAL REFUGEES AND ACTIVISTS THAT ARE
AT IMMINENT RISK OF EXTRADITION TO TURKEY

NO POLITICAL REFUGEE MUST BE EXTRADITED TO TURKEY

19 APRIL 2013 AT AREIOS PAGOS (09:30 am) – SUPREME COURT ON THE APPLICATIONS FOR THE EXTRADITION OF ZEKI GORBUZ AND COMERT BULENT AYTUNC

The deterioration in the protection of civil, political and social rights and freedoms has been continuing under the current Greek Government, partially due to the economic crisis. Against this background, and following Prime Minister Samaras’ visit to Ankara and the announcement of closer co-operation between the Greek and the Turkish Government, the Greek authorities, which in the past only reluctantly enacted international arrest warrants against Turkish refugees, have over the past two months engaged in a real witch hunt against all those wanted for their political actions in Turkey.
Pursuant to this governmental agreement, the Greek authorities have so far arrested five refugees with a view to extradite them. Their detention continues until today. At least one of them has been deprived of his liberty since 12 February, more than two months. Continue reading ‘press release group of lawyers: No Political Refugee must be extradited to Turkey’

Lesvos: More refugees dying on dangerous routes to asylum in Europe

Another refugee boat with 15 passengers got lost only three months after the tragedy that cost the lives of 21 refugees in December of last year on Lesvos island. Eight Syrian refugees a lost in the sea between Turkey and Lesvos. Six corpses were already found on the coast of the island. Relatives have arrived to look out for their beloved. One 17-year-old pregnant woman from Syria has been already recognised.
Last Friday the Greek coast guard had found already three of the corpses – of one woman and two children near Eressos beach. It seems the small boat got in distress only a few days earlier while the corpses were brought to the coast by the strong winds of the days. Saturday afternoon relatives of lost refugees reported to the police of Lesvos the disappearance of eight Syrians (two men, a woman, two minors and three children). They had started their dangerous journey in Dikili in Turkey but they never arrived. On Sunday another three corpses were found. Unfortunately the corpses are not to be recognised anymore since they were many days in the sea.

Meanwhile refugees continue to arrive on the island. On Monday 63 refugees were arrested my LEsvos police. Another 16 Afghans had spent some nights in the park of Mytilini city since the police was denying to register / arrest them. The local solidarity network “The village of all-together” supplied the homeless refugees with blankets, clothes and food.

efimerida ton sindakton (in greek)

lesvos news (in greek)
embros (in greek)
tvxs (in greek)

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL – PRESS RELEASE
20 March 2013

Refugees dying on dangerous routes to asylum in Europe

In a case highlighting the risks people take when fleeing conflict in their countries to seek refuge in Europe, the authorities of Lesvos continue their search for the bodies of asylum-seekers who had attempted to reach the Greek island.

Since last Friday, they have found the bodies of six Syrian nationals including a 17-year-old pregnant woman and a mother with her young children. They are now searching for the bodies of three more Syrian nationals whose families had reported missing to the island authorities after the nine attempted to cross from Turkey on 6 March 2013.

Lesvos is one of the main crossings for migrants and refugees trying to enter the European Union via the Greek mainland. Last December, 21 people (mostly Afghans) drowned close to the shores of the island, after the boat they were in capsized.

Since last summer, people fleeing the conflict in Syria have featured among those attempting the crossing, including many families with young children.

“As Greece is tightening the border controls in Evros, including the completion of a 10.5km fence last December, people take more and more dangerous routes. This was a tragedy waiting to happen,’’ said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director of the Europe and Central Asia Programme.

“It is vital that the Greek authorities ensure protection to all asylum-seekers reaching the country. Instead, the Greek asylum system is grossly failing them. People who flee conflict, including many Syrians and Afghans who make it to the shores of Lesvos, are detained in police stations in overcrowded and poor conditions or in many cases left destitute to sleep in the streets.’’

“The Greek authorities should also take urgent measures to improve the reception conditions of those arriving at its shores and end the detention of asylum-seekers. In addition, Syrian nationals with no papers fleeing the conflict, must not be detained or issued with deportation orders and the authorities should proceed with a fair and effective examination of their asylum claims.”

“It is very painful to watch the same tragedy repeating in the shores of our own island,” said Efi Latsoudi, a local activist and member of the ‘Village of altogether’ – an initiative run by of volunteers who step in when state support for refugees and migrants is not available.

Chios: dozens of refugees detained for days in cage like detention building

xios-konteiner 47 Syrians and 4 Palestinian refugees who had newly arrived in end Fbebruary 2013 in Greece – among them 14 children and two pregnant women – were detained in a container like buiding next to the coast guard for more than six days.

As the local solidarity group for refugees and migrants “Lathra” denounced on February 28, the cage like detention building has only two rooms of 35 square metres in total which doesn’t even fit them to sleep, is lacking beds, chairs, tables. The building is situated on a parking area next to the coast guard. Since Chios has currently no detention centre, this cage is being used the last months for all new arriving refugees.

Only a few days after the publicity around the cage-detention again the coast guard detained 6o refugees in the same place.

Press Release 28.2.13 Lathra (in greek)
Press Release 7.3.13 LAthra
left.gr (in greek)

“Grief is not enough!” Kayiki Press Release about death at the sea border between Turkey and Greece

Kayiki Press Release 8in English)

Press Release by the Movement of Samos concerning detention conditions

Samos 07.12.12 – Movement for the Human rights – Solidarity to Refugees

PRESS RELEASE

Following the visit of members of the Movement in the coast guard facilities where 41 persons – among them eight newly arrived women and seven children mainly coming from Syria – are hold, and where we were asked to offer our support with clothing and hygiene articles, we noticed the following:

In this informal detention place of the Samos coast guards’ special forces men, women and children are closed up together with three penal detainees and one unaccompanied minor who is waiting since long time to be transferred into a special reception centre for minors.
The detention place is absolutely unsuitable and the detention conditions are miserable. There are no matresses, blankets, hygiene articles and there is only one toilette. The newly arrived Syrian refugees came wet and exhausted without being offered dry clothes or food.
The treatment by the authorities and the abolute lack of protection that the Greek government is encountering them with are reminding of darker periods when the informal detention centre of Kapnokoptiriou was still in function – a warehouse of souls.
The coast guard – the responsible ones for the detention – told us that they had requested support from all local authroities without receiving any responds.

SILENCE IS COMPLICITY

LETS NOT LOSE OUR HUMANITY DUE TO CRISIS

Criminalisation of activists in Samos / Press Release Group of Samos

MOVEMENT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
SOLIDARITY TO REFUGEES

SAMOS 20/11/2012

Briefing report

In 2010 members of the Movement continued to visit the detention centre of Samos on a weekly basis. Following serious allegations we received by detained refugees and given their inability to address the competent authorities by themselves, we gathered all acquired information and wrote a letter to the Ministry of Citizen Protection requesting to be informed about the manner in which deportations are carried out.
The letter was communicated to other humanitarian organizations as well as the Police Headquarters of Vathi town in Samos. The authorities not only refused to answer our questions concerning the treatment of the detained refugees, but they also forwarded our letter to the prosecutor, asking him to press charges against the member of our movement who had sent the letter in question for alleged defamation and false statements.
Subsequently, the Prosecutor ordered a preliminary examination, in the context of which all Board members of the Movement were asked to testify about this jointly drafted document. Even though the allegations of the Hellenic Police against our Movement were proven unsubstantiated, the judicial authorities nonetheless pressed criminal charges against the specific member of our Movement who had sent the document and ordered her referral for trial on 6/12/2012 on grounds of “false reporting to the authorities”. Continue reading ‘Criminalisation of activists in Samos / Press Release Group of Samos’

Press Release of the United African Women Organisation

Press release of the United African Women Organisation, Greece

We women, involved in United African Women Organization, Greece, express our deep concern, protest and anger for any type of clean – up actions that are in progress in the centre of Athens and other Greek regions.

Manny of us, years ago, have taken the road of exile, had in mind a distant country, Greece, where people honoured and respected the “stranger” as a holy person. Than, we became this “stranger” and during our evening classes, after work, we learned that there is an old god, to assist us in the difficult struggle for survival: the “Xenios Zeus.”

Today we hear that the old god he changed his mind and doesn’t want to protect us anymore.

We have always tried to build bridges between immigrant communities and the Greek society.
To seek what unites us, rather than what divides us and to highlight it.

To struggle with the Greeks, both men and women against poverty, absurdity as a single, dynamic community that claims their lawful rights.

In spite of those who cut the bridges, we want to continue to fight for the natural right of every person to safety, dignity and peaceful coexistence.

Each “sweep” that was preceded, allegedly as a clean-up, (like people are garbage and need to be swept). we women of Africa who live in Greece, want to turn it into a sweep against hate speech, pogroms, violence and fascist beliefs.

We do not want to be defeated by racism.
We do not want to loose all hope.
We do not want to start again from scratch a fight that should have been finished.

http://www.africanwomen.gr/
africanwοmen@yahoo.com

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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